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For decades, top scientists in colleges and universities pursued a clear path to success: enroll in a prestigious graduate program, conduct research, publish papers, complete the PhD, pursue postdoctoral work. With perseverance and a bit of luck, a tenure-track professorship awaited at the end. In today's academic job market, this scenario represents the exception. As the number of newly conferred science PhDs keeps rising, the number of tenured professorships remains stubbornly stagnant. Only 14 percent of those with PhDs in science occupy tenure-track positions five years after completing their degree.
Next Gen PhD provides a frank and up-to-date assessment of the current career landscape facing science PhDs. Nonfaculty careers once considered Plan B are now preferred by the majority of degree holders, says Melanie Sinche. An upper-level science degree is a prized asset in the eyes of many employers, and a majority of science PhDs build rewarding careers both inside and outside the university. A certified career counselor with extensive experience working with graduate students and postdocs, Sinche offers step-by-step guidance through the career development process: identifying personal strengths and interests, building work experience and effective networks, assembling job applications, and learning tactics for interviewing and negotiating – all the essentials for making a successful career transition.
Sinche profiles science PhDs across a wide range of disciplines who share proven strategies for landing the right occupation. Current graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, mentors, and students considering doctoral and postdoctoral training in the sciences will find Next Gen PhD an empowering resource.
I. Getting to Know Yourself
1. How to Connect Your Interests to Careers
2. But I Have No Skills! (and Other Myths)
3. How to Identify Your Personal Values
II. Getting to Know the World of Work
4. To Postdoc or Not to Postdoc?
5. Career Options for PhDs in Science
6. Strategies for Exploring Careers and Building Experience
7. How to Network Effectively
III. Getting Started on Your Job Search
8. How to Craft Your Individual Development Plan
9. How to Apply for Jobs
10. How to Interview and Negotiate
Conclusion: Making a Successful Transition
Appendix A. Identifying Career Pathways for PhDs in Science
Appendix B. Resources for PhDs
Melanie V. Sinche is Director of Education at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine.
"An important book that is long overdue. Next Gen PhD displays broad experience and command of the most critical steps in the transition from academic researcher to working professional. A state-of-the-art, go-to book for science PhDs and those thinking of pursuing one."
– Andrew Green, University of California, Berkeley
"An excellent resource and timely companion for scientists learning to take on one of the most important questions of all: how to build a happy, productive career and a satisfying life. Melanie Sinche presents data, tools, and ways of thinking about the future that will be helpful for anyone considering what's next after formal training as a researcher is complete. Readers who follow the book's exercises and put thought into building their own career notebook will find themselves on a rational path through all the stages of moving from trainee to working professional, whether at the lab bench or in other work environments. With advice for self-reflection, career exploration, job search, negotiation of terms, and future growth, Next Gen PhD will be welcome reading for those thinking about their next career move and for those mentoring and training new scientists."
– Victoria McGovern, Burroughs Wellcome Fund
"This book is an essential guide to exploring and pursuing science career options, both within and beyond the Academy, for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and all who work with them, including faculty and university administrators. Next Gen PhD brings together all that is needed for a scientist to embark on his or her career journey, whether in academia or beyond."
– Laura Stark, Harvard University