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This guidance is intended to help you identify where you are now, where you want to go, what skills you need to get there, and how you can develop these skills.

The first step is to decide your present long term career plan, for example to stay in academia, join industry or to work in a more managerial role etc, and then to decide what key skills you need to develop in order to fulfil this plan, for example, grant funding and teaching skills for academia, and business skills for a commercial organisation. If you plan to go into industry, look at the careers websites of large companies in order to identify what ‘core competencies’ or ’success drivers’ they look for. Details of skills and techniques you may need to be able to demonstrate, can be found in the Researcher Development Statement (RDS).

Personal Development Planning

The formal process of reflecting upon your own learning, performance and achievement, and planning for your personal, educational and career development, is called Personal Development Planning (PDP). Essentially this involves considering in what direction you wish your career to develop, and identifying what skills and actions will be required in order for you to be able to achieve this.

As part of the Career Management Review (appraisal) process, in discussion with your reviewer you should complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP). Your supervisor and/or a Careers Adviser will be able to help and advise you in making a selection of training courses and/or activities they feel may be appropriate for you in meeting these development needs.

Your Future Career

Considering your long-term career plans can be helpful in planning your skills development. For instance, you may find it helpful to consider, in broad terms, whether you plan to stay in academia or work in industry as a scientist, or whether you are open to considering other options, including non-research roles.

If you would like to talk through your plans in a confidential and objective environment, you can meet with your School's dedicated Careers Adviser for postdocs, based at the Careers Service in Mill Lane.

As a University employee, you are eligible to participate in training and career development activities provided by the Careers Service and Centre for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD). Both of these programmes include workshops and events which are designed specifically for research staff. They also provide the opportunity to meet former postdocs a stage or two further on in their careers, as well as the chance to network and share ideas with fellow researchers.

To access any aspect of the careers support for postdocs (one-to-one appointments, events and workshops), you will need to register with the Careers Service.

You will then have full access to the following information, as well as being able to find out about new events and workshops as soon as they are advertised:

Vacancies and opportunities
A database updated daily with career opportunities (grants, training, job offers).
Careers news related to your interests, sent direct to your inbox.
Careers sector sites
Starting points and in-depth information for specific employment sectors.
Careers Library
Online information on what's available at the Careers Library.
Careers-related events in Cambridge.
Contacts information.