Many of you know the postdoc as a training period for PhDs hoping to move on to the tenure-track. However, there are a few postdocs out there that are designed to help PhD-holders move into different career paths. Here are a few examples:
- Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
- National Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention Fellowships
- AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships
- ACLS Public Fellows Program
Though these fellowships are competitive, I encourage you to apply. In fact, a recent GC alumna, Lindsay Green-Barber, became an ACLS Public Fellow in 2013. As a media impact analyst at the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, CA, Lindsay has the opportunity to put her PhD training to good use and to gain new skills. We caught up with Lindsay in April when she’d been on the job for about seven months; she filled us in on the details of applying to be a Public Fellow and what she’s learned from her new role.
Many doctoral students have spoken with me about career options beyond the tenure-track. Lindsay’s story is one example of how you can create exciting opportunities for yourself. What else to consider when looking at other types of roles? Transferable skills, self assessment, networking and informational interviews, and writing strong resumes and cover letters. You might also use a resource such as the Versatile PhD to read more about other options (hint: there is a sample AAAS application available here) , or take a look at the Chronicle Vitae‘s series on “How I Got Out” or, in a similar vein, “Quit Lit: Why So Many Academics Quit and Tell.”
– Jenny Furlong