STEM PPG Module 1 : Self-Assessments and Career Exploration

Objective: To utilize self-assessment resources to explore career families

Individual Activities

  1. Learning about yourself is critical in determining your future career path. Let’s first choose a self-assessment tool from an online Individual Development Plan (IDP) and complete your assessment.
    1. MyIDP is for STEM PhDs and produced by AAAS. Detailed instructions can be found on Self Assessment using myIDP and Making Sense of Your Self-Assessment.
    2. ChemIDP has content relevant to all STEM PhDs, by the American Chemical Society.
    3. Imagine PhD is aimed at Humanities and Social Science PhDs but useful for anyone interested in non-STEM careers.  Developed by the Graduate Career Consortium.
  2. Your assessment typically will recommend career families for you to explore.  Review the career resources offered in IDP tools such as Versatile PhD, MyIDP, and ChemIDP, and on the OCS website – check out PhD Pathways resources, career communities, and Alumni Spotlights.
  3. Identify specific job functions and roles within this career family for further exploration. Visit LinkedIn or Indeed and read a few sample job descriptions in your career families.
    1. What responsibilities do they have? What skills do they require?
    2. What about these jobs do you like? Dislike?
  4. Some of the skills used in your career families may not be directly related to your research but are “transferable skills” that are broadly applicable to a range of jobs within and outside of academia.
    1. Read about PhD transferable skills to learn more about the broad array of skills you bring to the table and how to describe them.
    2. What transferable skills are important in your career families?
    3. Think of an experience from your graduate school experience in which you practiced one such transferable skill.

Group Activities

  1. Discuss the results of your assessments:
    1. What career families did your self-assessment suggest?  Were you familiar with these careers?
    2. What career family/roles did you choose to explore further? Why?
  2. Share what you learned from exploring careers.
    1. What kind of experience(s) & skill(s) are employers looking for in the positions you searched? Are any of these transferable skills?
    2. Have you/can you work on these skills during your Ph.D. training? Are there other resources here at Yale you can utilize to gain this experience?
  3. Brainstorm a list of transferable skills that are applicable to your career family and examples where you practiced or demonstrated these skills. This will be especially useful for developing your professional narrative and your resume.

Optional Activities

  1. Yale provides many opportunities to develop your transferable skills. Explore professional development opportunities at Yale and PhD transferable skills and find opportunities to practice your skills!
  2. Test a career or job junction by doing an online job simulation or exerceise using InsideSherpa, a virtual work experiences created by top companies.
  3. Read the article regarding Increase Your Confidence by Identifying Evidence of Your Skills by NIH and explore their YouTube for more career development advice.
  4. BioCT Career Center and MassBio are great ways to connect to the life sciences industry. They provides career advice, networking events, career developing seminars, and job postings. Take advantage of their website and enhance your career development!