Neuroscientists Share: Advice to Make Your Career Transition Successful
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Whether you are considering career paths for your first job or a different path for your third role, it is important to figure out your needs and have a strategy for accomplishing your goals. To help you in this process, four neuroscientists, who have transitioned between academia, industry, and government roles each divulge the one aspect most critical to making their moves smooth and fulfilling.
Janet Clark, PhD
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
One thing that has helped me is to have a plan — and also a willingness to think beyond the plan and outside the box, and an open mind when opportunities come my way. Every one of the career transitions I've made was not on my plan or what I expected. I had to think about them to make sure that they made sense for me. Your career trajectory may not be linear, and you need to be open-minded about the opportunities that come your way.
Ian Reynolds, PhD
I was already reasonably advanced in my career before I made the first major transition. That was also a characteristic of the transitions that came after that. I ended up in new places with a history and a series of career accomplishments. In some respects, I thought I knew a lot. When I got to the new place, I learned very quickly there's a bunch of stuff I don't know. I was surrounded by smart people, and there's a whole lot I could learn from them. An important part of my transitions has been to essentially check my ego at the door, seek out smart people, and learn as much as I can about the new environment.
Yogita Chudasama, PhD
My transitions have been guided by what I was trying to gain out of my research career: the questions I wanted to ask, the resources I wanted, what opportunities I had. Part and parcel with that has been having the opportunity to learn, getting access to new and novel techniques and methods, being able to do research unhindered by what would prevent me from reaching that my goals, and seeking opportunities that were more risky.
Seena Ajit, PhD
Drexel University College of Medicine
Follow your heart, because your priorities will differ at different stages of your life. There are things you cannot control, but I believe you should always try to do your best and make the best of the situation. If you're passionate about something you will find a way to get it done.
Watch the webcast, Making the Switch: Tips for Successfully Transitioning Between Academia, Industry, and Government,where the neuroscientists above will guide you through navigating complex considerations and how to best present your experiences and qualifications. Then read this thread.