Our pick: Top 5 online resources for starting to explore careers in the biomedical sciences

Kim Petrie
May 2, 2016

So you're in the lab doing an experiment, and you have 45 minutes to kill while a solution mixes.You contemplate refreshing your Instagram feed (again), but decide instead to use your time more effectively by researching 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 five top-notch resources:


1. Beyond the Lab videos

Check out our home grown, professional series of video 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.


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. ScienceCareers

This is the career site of AAAS Science. Or shall we say, THE career site of AAAS Science. And we love it. This career-focused section of Science online has been around since at least 1998 (probably earlier but that's when we first noticed them) so they have a TON of content and the quality is generally excellent. For general job search and career advice, we especially love the Forum and the Tooling Up columns by Dave Jensen. 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!


4. 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 at through Vanderbilt: https://my.vanderbilt.edu/gradcareer/non-academic-careers/exploring-options/


5. 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.