I have been a postdoc myself and I know the kind of responsibility that comes with the freedom. Most postdocs are in a transit to become a faculty member in a University. Therefore, it is important to build the resume you need for an academic position. Here are four pieces of advice I can give.

  1. Journal publications are great, but you meet future employers in industry or search committee members for faculty positions in top conferences. Try to present quality work in these places that complement your journal publications. Organizing workshops in parallel is also a good way to get visibility.
  2. Whenever you publish, try to release online material such as data, codes, videos of experiments, discussions, elaborations, and panel discussions. These things pop up when potential employers search your name on Google.
  3. Be a good diplomat. You don’t have to agree with everything others say but try to contribute to critical discussions and debates. Leaders shine in such uncomfortable spaces, where many shy away. You can maintain your own blog or contribute pieces in others’ blogs or organise public debates on pressing issues in your field. First pick the low hanging fruit and make your way up to demonstrate academic leadership. Be fearless to say “This is how I feel about it. I am keen to listen/learn/see your opinion”.
  4. Since you are a senior researcher in a lab/group, you will get opportunities to do internal reviews of papers and reports of junior lab members such as PhD students, masters, or even undergraduate students. You maybe tempted to make editorial contributions to claim ownership of their IP or to win an argument to force yourself to be a co-author of their publications. Such short sighted wins erode your credibility and loss of support in the long run. Try to maintain high standards. If your authorship is debatable, think twice. It maybe that just mentioning your name in the acknowledgement of the paper will do better justice to you in the long run.

Some more tips are given in my supervision approach note.