Cambridge University Skills Portal


Cambridge University Skills Portal

Career Directions: Exploring Options

Not sure where to start?

It's not unusual for postdocs to be confused about what career options are available to them. A postdoc is excellent training for an academic career but it can also lead to many other types of jobs. When making career plans there are two places to start. The first is with you and the second is by exploring the job market.

You: what is important to you about your paid job?

It's worth analysing your career highlights and motivations to date. It might have been solving a technical problem, making a convincing presentation or working in a team. Different things motivate different people and these motivations offer important clues to you. Similarly think about aspects of your work that have been less motivating. It's important to start thinking about what's important to you in your career now and for the future. Questions you could ask yourself include:

  • What motivated me to choose a research career?
  • What do I enjoy/not enjoy about what I do?
  • What's important to me in a job - status, pay, progression opportunities, making a difference...?
  • What other interests do I have?
  • How close do I want to stay to my discipline?

You might also want to consider making an appointment to see a careers adviser.