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Core Competencies

Strategic Thinking & Goal Setting

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Learn to:

  • define the vision for your research and for your professional career
  • identify the next actionable steps to accomplish your objectives
  • set time-bound, measurable, and attainable goals
  • identify individuals who may be impacted by your goals
  • develop your strategy with stakeholders in mind

Explore Our Programming Focused on Strategic Thinking & Goal Setting:

    Navigating Your PhD: An Introduction to Career Development

    Attend this information session to learn about the WUSTL resources available to help you prepare for a career while progressing toward your PhD. Whether you are just getting started, exploring your career options, developing professional skills to succeed in your career, or preparing for the job market, there is something for you. Bring your questions!

    Identifying Your Transferable Skills

    How does your graduate education translate into skills that are valued by an employer beyond academia? As a graduate student or postdoctoral scholar, you have honed your ability to find information, communicate your research with academic and lay audiences, manage projects, teach complex ideas, mentor undergraduate students, and work with diverse individuals. These are examples of transferable skills that you can communicate in your application materials or during an interview.

    Attend this session to:

    • Identify your transferable skills
    • Communicate the value of these capacities in application materials and interviews
    • Set a strategy for developing the skills to advance your career
    • Learn about resources online and on-campus to support your skill development

    Tailoring Your Resumés and Cover Letters

    You hear that tailoring a resume to the job is critical. Did you know this step begins with deciphering the job ad? Use key words from the job description to show the hiring manager you have the capabilities and you’re the right candidate for the job.

    Attend this session to:

    • Decode job descriptions, a critical first step
    • Translate experiences (academic, co-curricular, and work-related) in ways that will communicate your skills in the job search application process
    • Craft targeted resumes and cover letters that respond to particular job applications
    • Practice telling your personal story through documents and social media

    Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers

    Evaluating compensation packages and determining whether and how to negotiate can be a stressful part of the job search process. In this session, we will discuss what you should look for in a compensation package and how to negotiate with confidence.

    Attend this session to:

    • Discuss the different aspects of a job offer, including salary, benefits, and more
    • Navigate the job offer and negotiation process with grace and integrity
    • Practice negotiation and communication strategies

    Communicating Your Research With the Public

    You may have mastered jargon from your field, but can you translate your research for lawmakers, grant administrators, social media, or hiring managers?

    Attend this interactive learning session to:

    • Break down your research from the perspective of your audience
    • Explain the importance of communicating to diverse audiences
    • Practice communicating your research in common language

    Establishing Effective Mentoring Relationships

    Mentors can contribute in crucial ways to the success of your academic and career progress. Be thoughtful about selecting a mentoring team and managing those relationships.

    Attend this session to:

    • Understand the importance of assembling a diverse mentoring team
    • Discuss strategies to get the support you need from your mentors
    • Practice communication skills to navigate through difficult conversations

    Prepping for Career Fairs

    Don’t let the thought of the Career Fair or SLAM freak you out! Get a few tips on how to work a career fair or SLAM, from researching employers ahead of time to presenting yourself to an employer. This session is hosted by WU Career Center.

    Networking at a Conference

    Make the most of your academic conference. Conferences are a great place to share your research and make connections with colleagues in your field. Did you know it’s also a great place to find a potential postdoc adviser or meet potential industry employers?

    Attend this session to:

    • Define your career goals in advance of the conference
    • Outline an effective email to request a meeting with a potential adviser
    • Navigate the conference effectively as an introvert
    • Set strategies to mingle, make eye contact, and leave conversations gracefully
    • Learn etiquette for networking with food
    • Practice the business card exchange

    Business Concepts for Life Scientists

    Check out this free online course designed by Associate Dean Nguyen for graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty who wish to gain a basic understanding of business fundamentals. This business coursework is unique because it is designed to prepare scientists for career transitions into both academic and non-academic settings. 

    By the end of the course, you will be able to:

    • Explain key terms used in the business and financial management of scientific enterprises
    • Apply foundational concepts to your own research planning
    • Develop increased confidence in using business terminology during interviews or networking events
    • Identify knowledge areas within business for further study



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