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?
- Required for most tenure-track academic careers and some jobs in industry R&D and government research
- Gain experience in research, grant writing, publishing, and networking
- Potentially time to transition toward non-academic careers if you did not find these opportunities during grad school
- You are familiar with academic careers and have a more robust academic network
- You are still interested in research in your field and you want to keep pursuing it
- 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