Careers

ASM’s careers blog focuses on young scientists seeking career advice, professional development and career exploration. Here you’ll find “a day in the life” profiles on working scientists, tips and tricks on how to craft resumes, find a mentor and transition from academia to industry.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 09:56

Your Common Career Questions Answered

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With the new year around the corner, it’s never too late to think about the next steps in your career and set some resolutions. To help you get started, we highlight the top 5 career questions that ASM receives from students and postdocs and provide short answers.  
Dr. Operario was always interested in applying his science skills to solving global public health questions, no matter how big or small. He developed qPCR tests for enteric pathogens and tuberculosis and deployed them at international centers across the globe by training researchers to use his test. Learn about his career path and what his recommendations are for people interested in a public health career.
Have you ever been on a date where the person was dressed sloppy, or avoided answering the question, or better yet, over inflated their answers. Applying and interviewing for jobs is a bit like dating. And just like dating, it’s important to avoid behaviors and mistakes that are going to leave a bad impression—these “tells” are discussed in the article.  
Dr. Valerie Horsley always knew she wanted to teach and later became interested in research. Her passion led her to become an Associate Professor at Yale University. Although her scientific contributions are stellar, she really shines when it comes to equality and mentoring in academia. Read her tips to navigating academia and mentoring students in the lab. 
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 16:34

Four Lab Skills that You Can Use Outside of the Lab

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You just don’t learn technical skills doing research in a lab, you develop and demonstrate skills that you can transfer to a variety of professional contexts. These skills are called transferable skills. Explore four transferable skills that you gain while doing research.
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 15:35

An Insider’s Guide to Science Outreach Activities

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How do you exactly incorporate science outreach activities in your already hectic lab schedule? Dr, Donna Johnson, an avid science outreacher, summarizes programs that have varying levels of commitment and modes of involvement with insights on what she thought of each.
In celebration of National Postdoc Appreciation Week, we are giving back to our wonderful postdocs by providing tips for writing a cover letter for faculty applications. Although, there are many factors to consider in your application like a CV and teaching philosophy, a successful cover letter can distinguish you from an endless sea of competitive applicants. We discuss how to present yourself as an invaluable colleague and what to emphasize.
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 14:19

Increase Your Science Literacy with 5 Online Tools

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Modern technology and social media are not only there to tell you what your cousin had for lunch; they can increase your scientific knowledge. Here are 5 online tools that can help you stay up-to date and broaden/deepen your scientific background.
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 10:02

Acing the Graduate School Interview

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When graduate programs invite you to campus for an interview, they are testing their hypothesis that you are a stellar candidate based on a positive review of your application. You will meet with faculty to discuss your scientific aptitude. Preparing for these meetings include developing an elevator pitch and discussing other people’s research. Check out the blog to learn how to do prepare for graduate school interviews.      
In this week’s career blog, we talk to Samuel Aidoo, a Lead Microbiologist at a cosmetic manufacturing company. On a day-to-day basis, he keeps the lab running at a fully functional state by making sure that the lab has all the required resources and sample processing is done correctly. He encourages students to not limit themselves to one line of work, but instead, build upon concepts and utilize them elsewhere. 
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 10:29

FoR Changing Science: From Academia for Nonprofit

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Gary McDowell had a highly productive scientific career that included studying at the University of Cambridge and two postdocs in Boston. He discovered that research can be highly competitive and cutthroat, and realized that these problems were not limited to a particular lab or institution but rather the entire scientific enterprise. With a group of postdocs, Gary organized events to discuss challenges facing junior scientists and now he is Executive Director of a nonprofit that focuses on improving the scientific research endeavor.
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 14:31

Working in Public Health at the State Level

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Who are public health professionals and what do they do? What can you do to get into a public health career? We interviewed Dr. Denise Toney, a Director of the Division of Consolidated Laboratories at the state laboratories for Virginia to learn more about the public health profession. She recommends that you solidify your interests in public health by participating in fellowships/internships, and to network at conferences. To learn about what opportunities exist, read the blog post.
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 10:59

8 Tips to Help You Begin Writing Your Paper

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For scientists it is imperative to relay your research to your colleagues through published papers.  But what if you find the idea of writing overwhelming – daunting even?  You struggle to stay motivated despite the many lab (and non-lab) distractions.  We reached out to senior doctoral students and postdocs who have experienced and overcome these obstacles.  Check out their 8 tips to begin writing your paper today!
Bench-level clinical microbiologists serve an important role in a clinical microbiology lab. They are often the first people to identify disease-causing pathogens, which helps medical staff with the treatment of patients. In a clinical microbiology lab, personnel management and technical management are typically the next steps to advance in your career.
Dr. Jennifer Groh is a Talent Development Consultant (TDC) at the Fortune 50 company, Caterpillar Inc. in Lafayette, IN. She received a Ph.D. in environmental microbiology from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. She became interested in motivating students to link their passions and interests with a STEM career. She worked in higher education as a Graduate Programs Coordinator and Associate Director before moving into industry. She encourages that every microbiology student should learn more about him/herself and to let others know of your interests when it’s time to getting a “real” job.  
ASM asked six ASM members included in the ASCP's "40 Under Forty" listing of young, successful scientists,"what advice do you have for those considering a career in clinical microbiology? What is the best career advice you've received?" Here is what they said.
The success of an academic researcher and career progression depends on quantifiable metrics like the number of grants, publications, presentations, posters, etc. However, researchers also engage in many other, less tangible activities that are critical to academic success, such as mentoring people, reviewing papers and grants, serving on committees, etc. However, these activities constitute only a small part of a researcher’s application for career advancement. As a consequence, participating in these activities is not rewarded properly in academia. What general solutions might exist to better value and reward these activities in academia? Read our blog for suggestions.
How do you seek out mentors in a clinical microbiology lab? What are some reputable resources to use? Debra Myers, a Microbiology Chief Technologist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, shares her insights on what newly hired lab/bench technicians in clinical microbiology can do to navigate the beginning stages of their career.  
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 11:28

The Art of Acing the Qualifying Exam

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Most graduate programs have some form of a qualifying exam (QE) or preliminary exam. Generally it consists of writing a proposal and defending it in front of a committee of faculty members. Many students dread it for months, but it’s an opportunity to learn through reading literature and asking for feedback from your peers. Learn how to pass the exam and fully enjoy the experience.
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 15:47

How to Market Yourself for Industry

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A common misconception is that trainees with purely basic research experience do not have the proper skill-sets and therefore, are not qualified for industrial positions.  That could not be farther from the truth, particularly if one considers that virtually every industrial project is predicated by a basic understanding of the system of interest. The challenge for basic scientists in transitioning to industry is finding job opportunities. Paul Dunman, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, shares his tips for finding job opportunities and interviewing in industry.
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