Rock your year-end science accomplishments

12/29/2017 2:16:50 PM

As the year comes to a close, we are getting a little sentimental here at the ASBMB Careers Blog (reaches for a box of tissues). This has been a year of transitions, as we bid farewell to the ever-talented and founding careers blogger Diedre Ribbens and brought on a new blogger (yours truly).    

But transition periods, like the end of the year, are a perfect time for introspection to take stock of what all you have achieved and let the world know about it. For example, check out this popular thread on Twitter by Adam J. Kurtz that encourages folks to post their top-three, year-end accomplishments.  

Most importantly, Adam points out that you decide what counts as accomplishments. This is a critical piece to understand how you define success for yourself. For example, it may be the number of research publications or how many students you helped mentor in the lab. This information also is useful for thinking about what type of work really matters to you in a future career, and further communicating the impact of your work to others in application materials and interviews.  

For me personally, this careers blog would be in my top-three accomplishments for 2017 (besides retaining my sanity in this political climate and while successfully transitioning my teenager to college life; hey, it’s the little things that matter). Science is about the people behind the lab bench, too — telling their career stories to inspire others and helping early-career professionals find their pathways toward satisfying careers.  

I especially have enjoyed all the new relationships made through this blog and connecting people to the resources they need to be successful in their job searches. In fact, I have heard from at least one person who applied for a job posted here and who has been shortlisted for the interview process. And for me, that’s the definition of success.    

In looking back on what we have accomplished this year on the careers blog, here are five of the most-read posts that were published in 2017 for your reading list.  

1. Summertime lab fun: From exploring life in extreme environments to understanding the complexities of the hidden brain, participating in summer undergraduate research is a great way to learn new skills and see what research life is all about (and it can pay, too). This post includes many resources to find summer-research opportunities, with application deadlines approaching soon through early in the spring semester.  

2. Biostatistics research jobsIn this post, Diedre highlights jobs in the biostatistics field, from entry-level to more experienced positions, across a range of industry and nonprofit organizations focused on health and personalized-medicine outcomes. She also provides some insight on skills needed to qualify for work in this area.   

3. Building a portfolio career in science communicationsIn my first post on the ASBMB Careers Blog, I outline ways to get started in a science-communications career. This information is applicable to anyone looking to build a portfolio in the #scicomm or #sciart fields (or just getting more experience communicating science in general). Also be sure to check out these previous posts on #sciart careers and careers in technical writing. The latter post features Diedre’s own successful transition from Ph.D. to medical writer with useful advice on breaking into this field.

4. Faculty jobs outside academiaIf you’re interested in a faculty-career track, you may want to read this post that reviews the many faculty jobs existing outside academia, including positions at the National Institutes of Health and nonprofit research institutes and hospitals. You also may be interested in reading these related posts on finding faculty jobs and diversity-support programs for academic careers.

5. Consider a job in biodefenseIn this post, Diedre writes about a number of scientist positions with private contractors in the biodefense arena. She additionally outlines some key initialisms to know in the field. Also check out these related posts about career paths focused on biosurveillance and public health and combating antibiotic-resistance.    

But that’s enough about us because we really want to know about you. What did you accomplish in science in 2017? Whether it is a new science breakthrough or overcoming a challenge such as an illness to persist in your science career, ASBMB wants to hear from you.  

You can contribute your career story or insights by writing for the ASBMB Today magazine, or submit member news and updates to have your accomplishments shared with the science community. (FYI, late-breaking abstracts for the 2018 Annual Meeting are not due until Feb. 27, so it’s not too late to showcase your hard work there, too.)  

And in this competitive job market, it is important to increase your online visibility and raise your professional profile wherever possible (believe me, your future employers will do a search for you online). Besides the fact that you deserve to be recognized for what you have accomplished. So do yourself (and your career) a favor: Take credit for all the amazing work you have done this past year and share your story with others.  

Bonus job posting: And if you are interested in telling more in-depth science stories that matter, check out these journalism fellowships available through the environmental-news outlet Grist (deadline Jan. 5) and the Google News Lab Fellowship program (deadline Jan. 15). 

Donna Kridelbaugh is the ASBMB careers blogger. Connect with her on Twitter (@science_mentor) or at her website (