Navigating your Career
The PFDC will support you in whatever way you decide to navigate your career. A Royal Society study conducted in 2010 showed that one in ten postdocs continue on an academic career path to become a Professor. That means that 90% of postdocs go on to do incredible things outside of academia!
For some ideas as to where Imperial postdocs go, take a look at the PFDC Contacts Database.
As a postdoc, you are an expert in your field, with a skill set that is highly transferable and sought after in other sectors. But what do postdocs do if they don’t become academics? What are your career options and how do you get that next job?
If you choose not to pursue an academic career, Pathways for Postdocs aims to help you understand and highlight your transferable skills so that you can learn how to evidence these skills to make you competitive in your next career move. This is achieved through skills development workshops, hearing from guest speakers who have made that transition from postdoc into another career, as well as a whole host of online resources.
Here at the PFDC, we have observed that holding an early career fellowship greatly enhances your chances of continuing on the academic career path, as it gives you an opportunity to develop your independent research vision and become a world leader in your field.
The PFDC can support you at every stage of your fellowship application, from initially trying to find out about what fellowships are, to identifying fellowship opportunities which may be relevant to you, to reviewing your application, to giving you a mock interview. We have developed this PFDC webpage which contains a whole host of useful resources regarding fellowships, including a list of frequently asked questions. The full range of support offered by the PFDC is outlined in the question ‘What support does the PFDC offer to help me with my fellowship application?’
When you first start at Imperial:
Below are some suggestions for PFDC activities to attend and development resources to make use of when you first start at Imperial:
- Take a look at the PFDC welcome page and booklet
- Attend a PFDC Welcome Induction; you will receive an invitation from the PFDC via email when you first start.
- Meet your departmental PFDC postdoc rep.
- Set up your College Professional Web Page.
- If this is your first postdoc, attend the three-day residential course ‘Making the Most of Your Postdoc’, designed to equip you in the early stages of your career with the skills and resources needed to plan your career and achieve success as a postdoc.
- Have a look at the PFDC Course Directory to see what courses you would like to attend.
- Become a mock interview panellist to experience the interview process.
Once you’ve settled in:
- Navigating your career (pdf): This infographic highlights the different services and resources available to help you thrive in your career now and develop your career for the future.
- 10 Development days: How you will use your 10 development days this year? Some ideas can be found on this PFDC webpage and you can use this template to record how you use your days.
- Courses: The PFDC offer a whole host of courses for postdocs, fellows and clinicians. Full details can be found in the PFDC Course Directory. Our courses go live in September each year and run until the following July.
- Consider attending "Planning for Success Beyond Your Postdoc" a two-day course to help you prepare for your next career move, whether that’s within or outside academia.
- You can develop your management skills by attending "Managing Your First Research Group".
- Pop-ups: These interactive and informal sessions are designed to deliver timely, targeted information on a range of themes that will be helpful for personal and professional development. More information can be found on the Pop-ups page, and in the monthly PFDC Newsletter.
- Funders Showcases: If you are interested in knowing more about funding opportunities, attend a Funders showcase where a funder, such as Wellcome, EPSRC, will talk about the opportunities that they have open for postdocs and fellows.
- Online resources: the PFDC have developed a database of online resources that are useful for postdocs, fellows and clinicians at the College. These include tipsheets and online modules
- LinkedIn Learning: As a member of Imperial you have access to the wide range of resources that are covered by LinkedIn Learning. More information about how to register can be found on the College website. The PFDC feature relevant courses for postdocs, fellows and clinicians in the monthly PFDC Newsletter.
- Researcher Academy: This online platform provides free access to e-learning resources designed to support researchers on every step of their research journey. You can access this content on the Researcher Academy website.
- Your next role: What do you want to do next with your career? It is never too early to start thinking about fellowships and job applications. The Pathways for Postdoc pages and the PFDC Fellowships page can be a good place to start your research into your career.
- Individual Support: The PFDC can help you by reviewing your job/fellowship applications during a one-to-one meeting. We also offer mock interviews for when you have been shortlisted for a role.
- Networks: there is a range of both PFDC-led and College-wide networks that you can join. More information about these networks can be found on this PFDC webpage.
- Become a PFDC postdoc rep for your department. There is no better way to meet people from both your department and the College!
- Member of staff: as a postdoc or fellow at Imperial you make up ~35% of the staff population. You are therefore able to access a wide range of support that is offered to staff members by the College. More information on the different types of opportunities can be on this PFDC webpage.
- PRDP: after you have completed your probation, you will take part in your departments annual Personal Review and Development Plan (PRDP) process. As a postdoc, you have a dedicated PRDP form for you to complete to help you consider your career aspirations. To help you prepare for your PRDP meeting the PFDC have created PRDP Guidance Notes for ECRs (PDF).
Towards the end of your postdoc:
The resources outlined in the “once you have settled in” section above will still be relevant to you, but we would also suggest that you consider the following: