Excellent and impactful research is underpinned by your professional and personal development. Career Development is first and foremost a self-initiated process where you seek to develop your own skills, understanding and ambitions, but it is also a process that Aarhus University wishes to encourage by providing you with development support and activities that will enhance your employability and your career success.
Career development is an ongoing process that can help you manage your learning and development throughout your career. It is about growing different aspects of your skills, knowledge and understanding and through this cultivate your career and enable you to accomplish certain goals. You can discuss your career development with your PI/supervisor or with the career service AU Career PhD & JR if you are planning a career outside of academia.
The basic career development process consists of 4 steps as illustrated by the DOTS Model below.
Plan your Development
As a young researcher in a time-limited position, it is highly recommendable that you take the time to plan ahead and engage in career planning. This way you ensure that you have as much knowledge about your preferred job path as possible and the right skills and competences for succeeding in getting and managing that job whether it is in- or outside of academia.
A career plan can vary from a detailed plan to a sense of direction. Regardless of what you prefer, your plan should include clear and achievable targets with deadlines for completing different activities. These activities can be everything from concrete trainings you plan to undertake to knowledge and network you want to build up.
How to get started with Career Planning:
Initial career talk with your leader/supervisor: We recommend that you at the beginning of your employment discuss your plans/ideas for the future with your PI/supervisor/professor/head of department. This is to ensure that you are on the same page with regards to expectations and it will enable you to make an action plan of realistic career developing steps during the employment period.
Career workshop: In the beginning of your employment, we also recommend that you take part in the workshop "Career Development for junior researchers: Introduction to strategic career thinking" facilitated by the JRDP. This workshop is for junior researchers who are interested in getting the most out of their research years by working with strategic career planning. The goal of the workshop is to encourage you to work with your own career development by providing you with tools to develop a conscious and focused approach to your postdoc and further career. The workshop runs every semester.
Follow up career talks with your leader/supervisor or the career service: An initial meeting to discuss career is not enough, so make sure to have an ongoing career discussion with your PI/supervisor/professor/head of department or the career service. The annual MUS meetings are great for this, but if you are on a 1 year contract, you cannot wait for that.
Before the meetings it can be beneficial to have considered the following:
Career Planning Tools: The JRDP offer you a series of career tools that you can use in your Career Planning. They can be used for your personal planning to help plan and develop your career thoughts, but you can also use them in the preparation of the career talk with your leader/supervisor or during the meeting.
You can find an overview and description of the tools we recommend here.