Post written by guest blogger Anne Kirchgessner, Career Counselor at OITE
Many times in career counseling, we meet with fellows who say they are not sure of their skills or how to express them to employers. Fellows also often overlook or take for granted skills that they have developed which are valuable to employers. It can be difficult to evaluate your transferable skills. If you take time to reflect on your experiences you can develop more confidence about which skills and strengths you want to take forward in your next career step.
One way to do this is to identify skills and link them with evidence through specific examples so that you feel grounded and can truly own and honor your skills.
As scientists you know how important evidence is to prove a hypothesis. When you consider six accomplishments that you enjoyed achieving, and write 1-2 pages for each accomplishment about how you did what you did, you can then assess the skills you used frequently in each one of these accomplishments. This will hopefully help you gain more confidence in the many skills you have developed. You will also have examples ready to present to employers in a job interview. This activity may also help you assess any gaps and which skills you will want to focus on developing in the future.
Deborah Knox at Life/Work Transitions has created a chart that will help you identify concrete skills that you have developed through your accomplishments.
A career counselor can also help you to assess your skills and plan for the future; NIH trainees may schedule a career counseling appointment at: https://www.training.nih.gov/career_services/appointments