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Postdoctoral Professional Development

In your professional career, you will have many responsibilities, perhaps including writing journal articles and grants, managing other researchers, giving public presentations, teaching and mentoring students, or starting your own company.

Creating a plan for your postdoc can help you maximize your time and prepare for your future career. The following resources can help you develop in your selected areas.

Writing and Publishing

Writing in a clear, precise way is important for preparing journal articles and grant proposals. The Writers Workshop at Illinois works with students, postdocs, and faculty through individual writing consultations. It is important to learn the specific writing style of your discipline and the expectations of the particular type of writing. Other resources include:

Public Speaking and Presentations

Speaking publicly about your research is a skill to refine and develop throughout your career. Look for opportunities to practice your presentation skills in lab meetings or departmental seminars. Ask for feedback on the effectiveness of your presentation from trusted colleagues. When listening to talented presenters, think about what you could learn from their approach.

Teaching

If you plan to pursue a faculty career, teaching will likely be a significant component to your job. Teaching experience and written teaching philosophy statements may be used to evaluate job applicants. While many postdoctoral positions are focused on research and provide fewer opportunities to develop teaching skills, you can explore different options to continue your teaching development.

Mentoring

Mentoring students includes a range of skills, including setting appropriate expectations, addressing issues when they occur and communicating effectively. The following guides can help you learn approaches to mentoring students in settings from the laboratory to the classroom.

Business Cards

When attending conferences or meeting others in your field, providing a business card is a courteous, professional way to share your contact information. Learn more about ordering University of Illinois business cards.

Lab Management

For many postdocs, the next phase of your career will include starting and managing a laboratory. In addition to directing the research, this can include selecting and managing lab personnel, mentoring researchers in your lab, developing budgets and obtaining grant funding.

The following guides provide insights into some of these topics and ideas about how to develop skills in these areas:

Entrepreneurship and Business Skills

The Certificate in Business Administration is a non-credit program that covers basic areas of business, including financial management, marketing and product development and strategic management. This annual program is designed for graduate students and postdocs in the sciences and meets one evening a week for 12 weeks.

Resources for campus entrepreneurs include the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the Technology Entrepreneurship Center and the Research Park.