Individual Development Plan
BLP Trainees are required to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP is an online, personal, confidential record of assessments of skills and interests. The IDP also provides a repository to track career goals and related professional development activities. New trainees are instructed to register with AAAS Science Careers to begin the process of creating an IDP before the BLP orientation.
The IDP can help clarify research and career goals, as well as provide a repository for information about your training, teaching and mentoring experience, and presentation/communication skills. The IDP can also help you focus your plan to develop transferable skills that will enhance your competitiveness regardless of whether you ultimately select a career in academia, industry, management, or other area. We recommend you use the information in your IDP as a conversation starter with your career mentor(s).
These and other expectations regarding the use of the IDP will be discussed during BLP orientation and annual progress update meetings.
Additional Career Resources
- NIH Best - Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training - has a section advising PhDs on how to Make a Plan for your career.
- The Graduate Career Consortium provides national leadership and serves as a national voice for graduate-level career and professional development. GCC has a number of useful resources for graduate students.
- Explore options for your next step after grad school at NIH's Office of Intramural Training & Education website
- Discover a career at NIH - visit the Jobs@NIH website
- Read about the varied careers of other PhDs in life science at iBiology
- Use Glassdoor to look up company reviews, salary information, job postings, and interview questions and questions from over 300,000 companies in all industries.
- Leverage LinkedIn - the world’s largest professional network - to build relationships and connect with opportunity. LinkedIn Job Search helps you uncover insights such as whom you know at a company, providing you an edge in your job search.
- BeyondAcademia, a student-run organization with the goal of empowering graduate students and post-docs to expand their careers beyond the traditional academic track, has compiled a list of professional profile resources.
Helpful Reading Material
A Ph.D. Is Not Enough! A Guide to Survival in Science. Peter J. Feibelman
In A Ph.D. Is Not Enough!, physicist Peter J. Feibelman lays out a rational path to a fulfilling long-term research career. He offers sound advice on selecting a thesis or postdoctoral adviser; choosing among research jobs in academia, government laboratories, and industry; preparing for an employment interview; and defining a research program. The guidance offered in A Ph.D. Is Not Enough! will help you make your oral presentations more effective, your journal articles more compelling, and your grant proposals more successful. (Amazon 4.4/5 stars)
Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D. Robert L. Peters, Ph.D.
Based on interviews with career counselors, graduate students, and professors, Getting What You Came For is packed with real-life experiences. It has all the advice a student will need not only to survive but to thrive in graduate school, including: instructions on applying to school and for financial aid; how to excel on qualifying exams; how to manage academic politics―including hostile professors; and how to write and defend a top-notch thesis. Most important, it shows you how to land a job when you graduate. (Amazon 4.3/5 stars)
This book is an outgrowth of the notes for the graduate course, "The Art of Science," taught by the authors at Colorado School of Mines. Topics covered in the book include: choosing a research topic, department, and advisor; making workplans; the ethics of research; using scientific literature; perfecting oral and written communication; publishing papers; writing proposals; managing time effectively; and planning a scientific career and applying for jobs in research and industry. The wealth of advice is invaluable to students, junior researchers and mentors in all fields of science, engineering, and the humanities. (Amazon 4.1/5 stars)
Olson, with a Harvard Ph.D. and formerly a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire, recounts the lessons from his own hilarious-and at times humiliating-evolution from science professor to Hollywood filmmaker. In Don't Be Such a Scientist, he shares the secrets of talking substance in an age of style. The key, he argues, is to stay true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational, and ultimately more human. (Amazon 4.2/5 stars)
This book is full of practical approaches to visual story development that can be applied by anyone. The book combines conceptual thinking and inspirational design, with insightful case studies from the world's leading brands. (Amazon 4.3/5 stars)
This book shows scientists how to speak to the public, handle the media, and describe their work to a lay audience on paper, online, and over the airwaves. (Amazon 4.0/5 stars)
This book provides a hiring manager’s advice on networking, conducting informational interviews, converting your curriculum vitae into a resume, writing a cover letter, interviewing, and maintaining your self-confidence throughout the job search process. This concise collection of job searching advice provides a framework for finding the way out of academia and into a new job for academics at all levels who have realized that they want an alternative career. (Amazon 4.7/5 stars)
In this book, ten respected scientists who have built successful careers in industry reveal new insights into how they made the transition from research scientist to industrial scientist or successful entrepreneur, serving as a guide to other scientists seeking to pursue a similar path. (Amazon 4.7/5 stars)