Supporting Postdoc Career & Professional Development

Optional Preliminary Readings

Montgomery, B. L. (2017). Mapping a Mentoring Roadmap and Developing a Supportive Network for Strategic Career Advancement. SAGE Open, 7(2).

Abstract: This article presents a proactive, individual-centered mentoring model which meets a recognized need for defined, practical methods for supporting comprehensive career planning and strategic development grounded in personal career aspirations. The developed model consists of a mentoring roadmap charting process and construction of a developmental mentoring network based on an integrative literature review of successful mentoring practices and adaptation of tested methods for retrospective analyses of effective mentoring. The mentoring roadmap concept encompasses the following steps: (a) self-reflection, (b) establishment of mentor–mentee relationship(s), (c) maintenance of mentoring relationships, and (d) advancing in mentoring relationship(s). To support strategic advancement along a defined mentoring roadmap and toward attainment of individual goals, the identification and cultivation of a broad collection of mentoring resources or mentors (i.e., nodes) and the relationships (i.e., edges) which connect these nodes in an effective mentoring network topology are discussed. The mentoring roadmap and network model is proposed as complementary to top-down or formal organizational mentoring interventions and as effective for short- and long-term career development planning as a self-guided assessment or mentor-engaged tool to support individuals seeking mentoring.

Introduction Video

Tools for Career Planning

Discussion Questions

  • What has been helpful for you to make career decisions and navigate career transitions? How can some of these tools and approaches be helpful for current mentees?
  • What have previous mentees of yours been grateful for as you supported them in their professional development and career transitions?
  • What intentional strategies exist among faculty in this department or program to support new postdoctoral scholars after they join the institution? How about for postdocs transitioning to a different job?
  • What resources/offices/tools are available to support the professional development of postdoctoral mentees and mentors in your department or at your institution?
  • What are barriers to supporting newcomers and people who transition to a different career in our department? Our institution? What do you think could help better support them?
  • What would you like to do to learn more about the career trajectories of PhDs who have transitioned to a range of career paths?
  • Is there a strategy that you heard today, either during pre-session or from your colleagues, that you think our program or department should implement?
  • How can we iterate on this work over time?