Times have changed, and there are a lot of options for PhDs and other science graduates aside from “academia or industry.” However, figuring out which path is right for you, and how to get there, can be a challenge.
To help you get started on your career journey, we suggest you ask yourself the following questions:
What do I really care about/what problems do I want to solve?
What parts of my current work do I enjoy the most? The least?
What can I do better than anyone else?
Below are a list of resources to help you answer these questions. In addition, feel free to stop by the Office of Graduate Studies (M240 Scaife Hall) to talk to our Career Exploration Specialist, Meghan McCord (who got her PhD from Pitt's Neuroscience Program in 2013), or email her, with any other questions or concerns you might have.
Once you have a better idea about what direction you want to go in, we have two pieces of advice:
Whatever career you decide to pursue, start developing the relevant skillset as early as possible—being a competitive job applicant isn’t just about doing good research (although research should of course be your first priority).
Network, network, network. Yes, everyone says that, and this is why: there are a lot of highly qualified people applying for every job you’ll apply for. Having a personal connection to the position or company you’re interested in will help you stand out in a crowd, and a lot of times will be the deciding factor in whether you get hired over another, equally-qualified candidate. Networking is a gradual, and sometimes awkward process, but in the long run it will make your professional life easier.
Wherever you are in your career exploration journey, the SOM Office of Graduate Studies is here to help!