What Lauren can do for you…

by Lauren and Juliane

Last week Lauren shared with us her experiences starting her own business. Lauren also works for BU as a career coach for postdocs and PhD students. I asked her questions about what kind of coaching a postdoc can expect from her.

Question: What is your position/role at BU?

LC answer: I am a career coach for graduate students and postdocs at BU.

Q: What can a postdoc expect from career advising and what should we prepare to get the most out of a session?

LC answer: For the coaching work, we can talk about topics including the ones listed below.  Sessions are 20 minutes in length and occur either the 1st and 3rd Saturdays between 10-noon via phone or the 2nd and 4th Fridays between 3-5pm onsite at BU School of Medicine.  I try to ask questions about your background and what you are looking for in a career to provide useful advice.

  • Overview of Career Opportunities
  • Building and Discussing Transferable Skills
  • Resume Critique, Review and Revision
  • Cover Letter Critique, Review and Revision
  • Developing a Professional LinkedIn Profile
  • Developing a Career Search Strategy
  • Informational Interview Advice
  • Networking Advice and Insights
  • Formal Interview Advice
  • Building Thought Leadership during your career

We have a career questionnaire that Yolanta can provide to postdocs prior to coaching.  When a postdoc fills this out and emails it to me beforehand, it can help maximize the coaching interaction.

Q: You and other members of Propel careers are members of several professional associations.  Why is this? Would you recommend membership in organizations to postdocs?

LC answer: We are members so that we can build our professional network and meet people who also share the same interests and passions as we do.  A few of the groups that I am involved with are focused on entrepreneurship and women in science. I am happy to support the organizations and their mission. I think joining professional organizations can be extremely valuable  –  if you join one of these organizations, make sure you have time to get involved, network, and attend their meetings.  Otherwise, you will not get the full benefit of membership.

Q: How important is social networking for job hunting?

LC: Social networking, especially LinkedIn is very helpful for job hunting.  Some stats indicate that ~30% of people are hired via LinkedIn so it is important to create a professional profile.  The hiring does not happen overnight, but many HR people search LinkedIn for talent.  If you have a strong profile, you may appear on their “short-list”. This may lead to them contacting you and starting the job interview process which may eventually result in a hire.

Q: Propel offers a mentor program. How does it work?

LC: With Propel, the formal mentorship program involves connecting a mentor (a seasoned life sciences professional) with one of the individuals we place into a role to provide them with a resource to ask career related advice of.  Generally the relationship lasts for 6 months with meetings for 1 hour a month, but can go longer if the mentor and mentee would like to continue the relationship. Propel does not charge for joining the mentorship program, however there are usually more mentees than mentors, so we do not guaranty you a match. I can also provide people with advice on other mentorship programs, like AWIS, HBA, WEST, or other ones occurring in the Boston area depending upon what someone is looking for.

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