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Our pick: Top 6 online resources for starting to explore careers in the biomedical sciences

Posted by on Monday, March 23, 2020 in Announcements .

So you’re home in self-isolation when you think: this would be a good time to research career options online!

Two minutes later, you’re looking at the 1.2 million hits for the search terms “careers for biomedical PhDs.” Yikes!

Rather than flailing about on the world wide web, we recommend you start your online research with these six top-notch resources:


1. Beyond the Lab

Check out our home grown, professional series of interviews with Vanderbilt PhD and postdoctoral alumni who have pursued a range of research- and research-related careers. They’re short, pithy videos featuring career paths and advice from alumni who used to occupy the spot you’re sitting in (well, not literally.) They’re posted to YouTube so can watch them anywhere, any time. Now there is a podcast version, too, if you prefer to listen to the interviews instead of watching them online. The Beyond the Lab page is organized by career area.


2. The BRET Office of Career Development blog

You’re reading our blog, so you’ve found us. Yay! Now, did you realize you can use the cloud tag on the right side of the blog home page to quickly find information pertaining to specific career paths? Click on any of the tags that start with “Career Options:” to see all blog posts related to that topic.


3. The Carpe Careers column at Inside Higher Ed

So, this is less about career options per se, and more about solid, optimistic, and actionable career advice for grad students and postdocs. The advice will empower you to take charge of your career, including exploring your options. This weekly column is written by members of the Graduate Career Consortium (GCC), an organization of dedicated graduate and postdoctoral career advisors at research universities around the world. The BRET ASPIRE team are all members of the GCC, (and we’ve written a Carpe Careers column or two ourselves), so we’re admittedly a little biased. But truly – this is the best advice around, from the experts who are “in the career development trenches” alongside graduate students and postdocs. The columns are a regular part of the “Career Advice” section on, or you can follow @Grad_Careers and @CarpeCareers on Twitter to know when new articles are released.


4. ScienceCareers

This is the career site of AAAS Science. Or shall we say, THE career site of AAAS Science. And we love it. Mostly. This career-focused section of Science online has been around since at least 1998 so they have a TON of content and the quality is generally good. For general job search and career advice, we recommend the Tooling Up columns by Dave Jensen (though it has been a while since he has written one). You’ll also find lots of articles on specific career paths. If we had to level criticism at ScienceCareers, it’s that it’s not very easy to navigate, partly because it is SO rich and deep in content. Be patient with it and you’ll find good stuff, we promise! You should also check out the companion website from AAAS ScienceCareers, myIDP. It’s a free, online IDP tool with a section that suggests career ‘matches’ based on your stated interests and skills. Each of the career areas has links to online articles about those career paths so you can further research them on your own. You should also check out this set of companion articles from ScienceCareers about how to use the myIDP tool most effectively.


5. Versatile PhD

Vanderbilt has an institutional subscription to this resource which promotes and supports PhDs seeking careers outside of academia. We especially love their library of career stories and sample job search materials for PhDs who’ve pursued careers from consulting to museum specialist. The first time you access the site, you have to create a user profile to log in and you can do that online through Vanderbilt: Resources | Department of History | Vanderbilt University.


6. The website of the Career Services group at the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE)

Our colleagues at the NIH do a bang-up job providing career resources to NIH trainees, most of which are available to the broader research community. Specifically, we recommend the “Careers Blog” and the OITE Career Videocasts.

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