Getting Started: Roadmap and Individual Development Plans
Our career and professional development roadmap for postdocs is designed to help you navigate your path toward a successful career. Download a PDF of the Postdocs Career Roadmap.
After you take a look at the roadmap, we strongly recommend that you draft your own individual development plan (IDP). The IDP is a process designed to help individuals understand their own abilities, determine career possibilities, and set professional development objectives. The aim is for you to create a document that clearly identifies current goals in a way that resonates with your own long-term professional goals and is informed by your mentor(s) expertise. View Georgia Tech's resource on IDPs.
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Career Exploration and Advising
Individual Career Advising
One-on-one career advising is available to postdocs. With individual advising, we can help you do the following:
- Explore career options.
- Define career goals.
- Develop a plan for development of professional skills.
- Develop effective job application documents.
- Prepare for job interviews.
To set up an appointment for career advising, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Center for Career Discovery and Development
Postdocs are welcome to attend:
- Career Fairs
- Information Sessions (look for "postdoc" in the degree section)
- Workshops (sessions for graduate students are also appropriate for postdocs)
If you have questions about the availability of additional services, please email email@example.com.
Exploring Career Options Online
- Career Development Guide for Postdocs (includes online resources on career paths/options from the National Postdoctoral Association)
- Career Resources (job search tips from the Columbia University Center for Career Education)
- Videos on Career Options
Choosing a Career Path
- Use self-assessment tools (to consider your skills, interests, values, and career fit)
- Who Should I Work For? (quiz from Dougsguides determines your work personality and suggests what kinds of organizations are compatible with your work style)
- It Pays To Plan: Why You Need a Career Map (article by Carol Milano for Science Careers)
- Conduct informational interviews (jump to Informational Interviewing section on this page).
- Talk with trusted advisors, colleagues, family, and/or friends about career options and fit.
Building Your Network
Developing your career path usually involves a variety of individuals who can help you gather career information, develop skills, build professional relationships, or obtain internships and job opportunities.
- View a range of resources to support your networking and informational interview efforts.
- Check out the Center for Career Discovery and Development (C2D2) website for resources and tools. C2D2 offers workshops each fall and spring that will help you explore career options. Through C2D2, you can schedule an appointment to meet with a career advisor to discuss your job search.
Start practicing with people you see daily including faculty and research staff. Family, friends, and people you volunteer with can also be great connections. Ask them about their career path or what they’re planning to do after graduation. Tell them about what you’re interested in, and ask if they know anyone working in those areas. Keep building the relationship by sending your contact articles or job postings that they might find interesting.
Attend the Career, Research, and Innovation Development Conference (CRIDC)
Each year, the Graduate Student Government Association (Grad SGA), the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, the Career Center, and Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) host CRIDC, a combined effort of the previously known Graduate Career Symposium and Georgia Tech Research and Innovation Conference.
Connect with Employers
- Monitor the Georgia Tech Career Center & Campus Events on the C2D2 website to stay up to date on opportunities to connect with employers. These events include career fairs and employer information sessions.
- If you are interested in an internship or full-time job in industry, create a CareerBuzz account. By establishing your CareerBuzz profile, you can follow specific employers’ activities and view job postings open to your major and degree level. Find out which employers are scheduled to conduct interviews along with the position and application details in CareerBuzz.
- You can also connect via LinkedIn, which is an online professional networking platform.
Connect with Others in Your Discipline
There are many ways to connect with other people in your discipline at Tech and beyond. Ask faculty members about organizations or groups that you should be involved with. Introduce yourself to people at seminars and conferences, and ask about their career paths. Check out your discipline’s professional society to see if it offers any mentoring programs or career resources.
Informational interviewing allows individuals to learn about specific occupational fields and employers by interviewing professionals about their experience. Instead of trying to lock in an employment offer, your goal is to get an insider’s perspective on working in a particular field. In addition to a greater understanding of your career options, it can lead to additional connections in academia, industry, consulting, nonprofits, and other fields.
Here are some tips:
- Job Search Strategies (PDF) (slides from presentation by the Office of Intramural Training and Education at the National Institutes of Health)
- A Job-Search Plan for the Person Without One Part One and Part Two (David Jensen for Science Careers)
- Be the Candidate (David Jensen for Science Careers)
- Your Personal Marketing Plan
- The 6 Best Communication Strategies for Nabbing a Job (from U.S. News & World Report)
- How to Make the Most of Transferable Skills (from Nature Jobs blog)
Searching for an Academic Job
- Academic Job Search Timeline (from the Office of Intramural Training and Education at the National Institutes of Health)
- Academic Job Search Advice (from Tech Associate Professor Lena Ting)
- Conducting the International Job Search (from the Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Your Official Job-Application Checklist (David D. Perlmutter for the Chronicle of Higher Education)
Finding Open Positions
- Networking and Informational Interviewing
- Professional societies often post job openings on their websites, LinkedIn groups, and/or email lists.
- Using Social Media
- Job Posting Websites
- Note that most of the sites below will let you save searches and will regularly email you the search results.
- General Job Posting and Salary Aggregation Sites
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
- U.S. Federal
- Career Fairs. Some units and professional groups host career fairs that feature companies looking to hire Ph.D.s. Keep an eye on your email or the unit's calendar to find these.
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Teaching and Future Faculty Development
Many of the Center for Teaching and Learning's programs and services support postdocs in developing and improving their teaching skills and becoming successful teachers in the college classroom.
The following communication resources are available to postdocs at Tech.
Center for Teaching and Learning
The Center for Teaching and Learning offers resources to support postdocs in developing their teaching skills, exploring career options, and navigating the academic job search.
Grant Proposal Development
The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Education previously offered a Grant Proposal Development Workshop Series several times a year, including summer. This workshop series is currently on hiatus, though we hope to bring it back.
The mission of the Language Institute is to increase the English language proficiency and cultural understanding of the Tech community to help members meet their academic, professional, and social needs. The Language Institute offers credit courses to help nonnative English-speaking students and postdocs improve their communication skills in English. These courses are a semester-long combination of in-class instruction and individual one-on-one meetings with the instructor. Short courses for spouses are also offered
Certificates and Training
Professional Development Certificates and Programs
These programs generally provide recognition that you completed the requirements, but the certificates earned will likely not show up on your Georgia Tech transcript.
Professional Certificates Offered by Georgia Tech Professional Education
Professional Education courses and programs may require tuition. Completion is shown on a Professional Education transcript that is separate from any other transcript. Professional Education certificates include:
- Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt
- Defense Technology
- Occupational Health and Safety, Power Systems
- Project Management
- Supply Chair and Logistics
- Full Stack Flex Web Development
Professional development workshops and other training opportunities postdocs are advertised via the events feed on this website and the newsletter. Here are some units that offer workshops open to postdocs:
- Office of International Education (offers information and programing for J1 and F1 visa holders)
- Georgia Tech Library (offers classes on audiovisual and other software packages, searching databases, and more)
- Responsible Conduct of Research (required for postdocs supported by certain grants)
- Professional Education Workplace Learning and Professional Development
Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups
The Enterprise Innovation Institute is Tech’s business outreach organization and serves as the primary vehicle to achieve Tech’s goal of expanded local, regional, and global outreach.