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Advance your career at the ASBMB annual meeting

4/2/2019 3:41:51 PM

In a few short days, the great pilgrimage of scientists to the ASBMB annual meeting and Experimental Biology 2019 begins. We will descend upon Orlando sporting our best flip-flops, lugging poster batons of science victory and touting conference badges of honor. Our minds are ready to be challenged. And, while overindulging in science is certainly on the agenda, be sure to also treat yourself to the many career resources and programming being made available. Here are some quick tips for making the most of the conference to advance your science career. Safe travels!   

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  • Career Central at Experimental Biology can help you polish your professional skills and take your career to the next level. Activities include micro-learning hub talks, career-development workshops, an onsite job board and one-on-one career mentoring sessions. These recent ASBMB Today articles on career central and micro-learning hubs overview the schedule of events in more detail.  

    Note: I will present a two-part series on how to develop a comprehensive job-search strategy at 3:30 p.m. April 8 and at 9 a.m. April 9.  

  • As mentioned, EB Career Central features one-on-one career mentoring sessions free to all conference attendees. These 20-minute sessions are offered on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Meet with science professionals for C.V./résumé critiques, mock job interviews, poster/presentation prep or just general career advice. You must sign up for an appointment online by 5 p.m. the day before. There are plenty of spots left.  

    Note: ASBMB members who are mentoring include Yass Kobayashi (associate professor, Fort Hays State University), Gauri Shishodia (postdoctoral fellow, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center) and myself.  

  • Schedule time to stop by the Exhibit Hall. There will be more than 200 exhibitors. You can find out info about graduate and training programs, the latest and greatest science products on the market and scientific publishing trends. (And, of course, stock up on all the lab pens and sticky notes you will ever need.)  

    Note: Be sure to visit the ASBMB booth (#1421) to say hello and learn more about upcoming professional-development activities, such as the IMAGE grant-writing workshop (applications due April 19).  

  • Don’t miss out on any activities happening at the meeting. Download the Experimental Biology mobile app to plan your agenda ahead of time. Use the mobile app to help you stay organized, find talks of interest in complementary fields and connect with other attendees.  

    Note: You can browse sessions in the schedule by the “Career Central” track to find all the career-related programming.    

  • Start networking on social media now to find fellow scientists to hang out with, people who may be hiring and want to connect at the meeting, and other side events. You can follow both the @ExpBio and @ASBMB Twitter accounts and use the hashtags #ExpBio and #ASBMB2019 to catch the latest buzz.  

  • Consider pairing up with a peer to attend conference events and help each other out (e.g., ask prepared questions during your poster session.) There also are some good tips on how to survive the Q&A section of your talk in this ASBMB Today article, along with some advice on how to be a respectful audience member.  

    Note: Please encourage your lab mates to review the meeting’s code of conduct and anti-harassment policy to know what behavior is expected and how to report any issues encountered. We want to ensure a safe and open environment for all meeting attendees and take this seriously. Having such a policy goes a long way to protect others from sexual harassment and other unprofessional behavior.  

  • Stay as visible as possible (e.g., tack up business cards next to your poster, complete your profile on the EB mobile app) and be prepared to talk about your career goals. More tips on how to do so can be found in this student conference guide written for the ASBMB Today. (BTW, it’s OK to duck out and take a dip in the pool or some quiet time for yourself to recharge as needed.)  


  • Lastly, just a reminder that the annual meeting is a good place to connect with science professionals across disciplines and career fields (including vendors in the exhibit hall and meeting staff) and explore science careers. It’s also where mentoring moments happen and new opportunities are found. You can review some guidelines on how to conduct an informational interview to help you prepare for talking to others about their career paths.  

Donna Kridelbaugh is a contributor to the ASBMB Careers Blog. She holds an advanced degree in microbiology and is a former lab manager.   

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