While you wait for your latest paper to make it out of review or for your conference abstract to be accepted, here are some things you can do in the meantime to stand out on the job market.
Improve Your CV
When was the last time you updated your CV? Are your conference presentations and publications up to date? Updating your CV now will save you time when you're applying for jobs, conferences, grants, or fellowships. If you’re unsure of what information to include on your CV, you can check here.
Expand Your Network
Networking is a vital skill for furthering your academic career and career prospects. Most people concentrate on networking only when they are actively looking for a new job, yet networking should be a continuous activity. You never know who you might meet and what opportunities might come of it. Some easy places to start networking include conferences, guest talks, and alumni events.
Take a Course
Many universities offer professional development courses for their graduate students, postdocs, or early career researchers. These courses often cover topics like how to deal with stress, improve your project management skills, develop leadership skills, become a more effective presenter, and manage a team.
Activities outside of the lab or library can be just as beneficial as those inside them. Look for a way to get involved on campus, like joining a journal club or your department’s student association. In addition to offering amazing professional development opportunities, they’re also a simple way to make some new connections.
Beef Up Your Social Media Presence
Creating a Twitter profile is another way to strengthen your professional online presence. You can use it to expand your network both in and outside of academia and build up your reputation as a subject matter expert. Tweeting helps get your name out and could put you on a hiring committee member’s radar.
Become a Mentor
As you progress in your academic career, you will be expected to become a mentor for your own students. Learning how to motivate and inspire someone now will help you further down the line. You can develop these skills by working with an undergraduate or more junior student in your department.