An Action Plan serves as a framework, providing a consistent, reliable context for organizing your personal professional development plans. These steps include:
By following these clear steps, you can identify where you are in the process, monitor your progress, and more proactively reach out for assistance with steps that are difficult to surmount. This website, together with your Career Center counselor, have a powerful array of tools and information to help you work through your Action Plan.
As you read through the following sections, use the questions and tools to build a personal Action Plan as you go, one that you can refer back to, change, and chart your progress against.
I. Identify Information About Yourself
Personal Skills Assessment – What are the specific content skills, transferable skills, and personal qualities and strengths that you have to offer? Where and how have you been able to demonstrate these skills and qualities?
Working Setting Preferences – What is the type of environment where you would feel most comfortable spending your work hours? What would the physical surroundings be like, what types of colleagues and/or clients would you interact with, and how would the reporting structure be designed?
Motivational Factors – What parts of the work you perform stimulates you the most? What is it about the work you will be doing that is likely to provide the greatest, sense of reward? Where do recognition by others, financial compensation, social/global contribution, independence, being part of a team, etc., fit in your order of priorities?
Kiersey Temperament Sorter-II/Cambell Interest Sorter These online self-assessment tests help you to understand what kind of workplace, role, and specific job motivates you. The Cambell Sorter marries your interests with your skills to find out the best places to invest your energy for your search.
Skills Assessment and Identification Tool
II. Identify Information about Options
Gather Information – What organizations would be able to make use of your talents? Have you requested that information be sent to you from those organizations in which you think you might be interested? Have you investigated enough to be able to explain why you would prefer to work for one organization versus the other? In addition to the traditional occupational roles for someone with your type of training, what else might someone with your skills do for work?
Identifying Prospects – Which of the organizations you have researched and documented seem to provide opportunities that are in line with your preferences, and look to offer the types of challenges and rewards to seek?
Information Interviewing – Have you arranged for appointments to meet with people who do work that you believe you might like? Have you thoughtfully asked questions to help you learn critical and subtle differences about the way work objectives are met within the field you are exploring? Visit the Interviews page for more information on Information Interviewing. Also, see the Networking page.
My Options – Visit the My Options page for information on a wide variety of career directions for life sciences PhDs and MDs.
III. Target Your Employer
Narrowing the Field – Have you developed a strong relationship with any one of the prospects you have identified? Have you made a list, or those organizations that seem particularly interested in you and your potential contributions?
Tailoring Your Credentials – Do your resumes and cover letters reflect the ways that you are well suited to meet the specific needs of the organization(s) you’ve identified? Are your skills described in terms that the prospective employer will clearly understand? (See Resumes and Cover Letters Have you assembled reference letters that support your progression into the position(s) you are considering, communicating an awareness of what it is you plan to do?
Self-Promotion – Have you solicited recommendations as to how your materials might be improved? Are the cover letter and resume typed in the same font, and featured on quality paper? Do you have confidence in the materials you have developed? Is the paper description of you and your skills accurate, and congruent with the type of work you are pursing?
Submitting Materials – Have you proofread all final documents that you are submitting? Have you confirmed that the materials are addressed to the proper individual within the organization, and that the address you have is the correct one? Depending upon where you are in the hiring process, have you formally clarified your interest, willingness, and availability for meeting in person for an interview?
Securing an Interview – Have you been able to determine that a formal interview would be mutually beneficial? Are you comfortable with the interview being offered, or requested, as an opportunity to further discuss the culture of the prospective employer, job specifies, and the likelihood that a good match exists?
Interview Preparation – Have you reviewed the strengths and skills that you believe make you attractive to the prospective employers? Are you prepared to discuss the ways in which you have been impressed with the organization where you are interviewing? (See Interviews)
Lisa Sproul Hoverman, PhD has a BS from Carlow University and a graduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh on the kinetics of Kinesin motor proteins. In her Postdoc at Penn State University, she examined the kinetics of DNA polymerases. She has since formed her own company in scientific and medical writing services. Dr. Hoverman’s largest long-term Client is the Microsoft Health Solutions Group where she serves as one of three Senior Grant and Proposal Specialists as part of the Business Desk in Sales.
Copyright Lisa Sproul Hoverman, PhD
Published with permission