Clearly defining your long-term goals can ensure that a postdoc is a valuable experience for you and make your application documents stronger. 

Questions to consider:

  • What are 2 or 3 career paths you’re interested in? Why? 
  • What type of organization do you want to work for? Why? 
  • How are you preparing for these different career paths (gaining experience, building skills, developing a network)? 
  • What opportunities at Duke can you use to prepare? 
  • How can a postdoc prepare you for each of these different career paths?

Why do you want to do a postdoc? 



  • Not required for many jobs in industry R&D, policy, science writing, higher ed administration, consulting, clinical research, education, finance, data science, or most other career paths 
  • May not have time to gain experience needed for non-academic careers 
  • Exploring careers is not the focus of a postdoc, so you will have to make time and actively seek out opportunities 
  • Academic careers may not suit your skills, interests, or values 
  • You haven’t made decisions about what you want to do next 

Read this article about the effect of a postdoc position on your career.

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