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.

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.
Tuesday, 30 May 2017 11:33

Storytelling Your Science in Manuscripts

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For beginning research scientists, honing your writing skills is essential. Randy Olson’s book, Houston, We Have a Narrative discusses a way of storytelling called “and, but, therefore” (ABT) for writing scientific papers. ABT storytelling in writing follows this format - “Such topic exists AND we know this, BUT we don’t know this other thing, THEREFORE we did these experiments.”
You most likely receive formal training for communicating your research to other scientists, which is thoroughly practiced at meetings and seminars, but what about to non-scientists? ASM is providing multiple sessions at Microbe 2017 to teach you how to share your science in the forms of blogs, social media, and videography.  
Modern science is built on collaborations and it is no doubt that successful collaborations enrich the scientific process. If you look at recent scientific breakthroughs, such as the creation of the HPV vaccine, identification of the virus causing SARS, or detection of gravitational waves, almost all of them are the results of international collaborations. We discuss how to set up successful scientific collaborations, which includes assessing collaborator’s personality style and setting up ground rules of the collaboration. Finally, we discuss the two most important factors of collaboration – communication and trust.
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 12:32

Key Tips to Overcoming Experimental Hurdles

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Anyone can encounter roadblocks with their experiments. What do you do next? We asked two trainees, Dr. Alan Goggins, a postdoctoral fellow, and Floricel Gonzalez, a Ph.D. student what they do. They check all their reagents, go to colleagues for help, and revisit the big picture of their projects.
In celebration of Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, Dr. Robin Patel, Chair of the Division of Clinical Microbiology at the Mayo Clinic, shares her insights on how to become a laboratory technologist and a story of how one observant laboratory technologist led to a new standard of care for lung transplants on This Week in Microbiology (TWIM) #150.    
Many trainees are transitioning into non-research careers. Navigating this transition can be tricky, as the available resources are still scarce and fairly inconsistent. Dr. Josh Henkin, founder of STEM Career Services, gave a workshop at the 2017 AAAS meeting titled “Transitioning into a Non-Academic Career.” The workshop explored the skills and best practices for trainees to transition out of academia. We highlight the main points from the session.
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