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Career and Professional Development



advising panelPostdoctoral Enhancement Programs assists postdocs with preparation, training, planning, and decision-making for professional pursuits within and beyond academe by offering seminars, one-on-one advising services, web resources, and other resource referrals that advance their professional development.

Individual Development Plan

Every postdoc is strongly encouraged to create and maintain an Individual Development Plan (IDP) with his or her PI/mentor.  An IDP functions as a road map that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives.  It also serves as a tool to facilitate communication between mentee and mentor, and can be a useful component of a broader mentoring program.  Writing an IDP involves:

  • Reflecting on one’s progress during the past year
  • Assessing strengths and weaknesses
  • Setting goals for the upcoming year
  • Carefully considering long-term career interests 

Outline of the IDP Process:

The development, implementation, and revision of the IDP require a series of steps to be conducted by the mentee, followed by discussion with his/her mentor.  These steps call for an interactive effort, and ideally both mentee and mentor will fully participate in the process.

Step 1

Development: Conduct an assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, and skills.  State your career goals and write your annual IDP.

Step 2

Implementation: Schedule an appointment with your mentor to discuss your skills assessment and IDP.  Implement the steps in your annual IDP to the best of your ability.

Step 3

Revision: Periodically review progress with your mentor.  Rewrite your IDP annually.  Modify your career objectives as necessary.

Creating an IDP has been directly linked to greater productivity and professional success. According to the 2005 Sigma Xi Postdoc Survey:

…a single-standard deviation difference in our measure of structured oversight or of formal training (roughly the equivalent to adding a written plan that covers both postdoc and advisor responsibilities and instituting regular, formal reviews) corresponds to the same difference in satisfaction seen in people with salary differentials of $20,000.

Career and Professional Development Seminars & Other Resources

postdoc seminar

Postdocs are notified of the postdoc career and professional development lunchtime seminar series via the postdoc listserv.

They are also invited to attend all of the career and professional development seminars and events for graduate students at U.Va.  The Graduate Arts & Sciences Career Services website offers a wealth of valuable guidance and resources on career pursuits both within academe and beyond.

Postdocs may register for access to the University's alumni career network and resources. Step-by-step instructions to register.

<<Back to Postdoc Handbook Index

Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies

Contact Us

P.O. Box 400895
Charlottesville, VA 22904
Tel: 434.924.8909
Fax: 434.243.2140

Maintained by: Office of the Vice President for Research
Last Date Modified: Friday, 20-Aug-2010 13:22:50 EDT
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