When your research takes you away from Duke’s campus, or during unexpected disruptions to campus activities, you can stay engaged with your professional development. Below you’ll find resources that can support you in career and professional development fundamentals, in developing your academic skills as a researcher, and in exploring the full range of career options available to you. Get started today.
Career and Professional Development Fundamentals
Self-discovery is integral to career exploration. The Career Center offers resources designed to help graduate students explore values and identify themes in their interests, strengths, and skills. You can build self-awareness by asking reflective questions and using online tools such as the Self Awareness Canvas and My Next Move.
PhD students can take advantage of Duke OPTIONS, an online professional development planning tool created by The Graduate School, to help them develop six key competencies over their time at Duke.
Using LinkedIn and the Duke Alumni Network
This video and handout, developed by the Duke Career Center, helps you polish your profile and leverage LinkedIn as a networking and career research tool. The video will also introduce you to ways to use the Duke Alumni Network as part of your research. Stacy Hartman provides a great overview of why and how to use LinkedIn on the MLA Connected Academics site, too.
Connecting with Duke Alumni
Log in to the Alumni Network and Ask a Blue Devil will connect you with the best Duke alumni experts who can offer career advice and help with introductions. To grow that connection from a one-off question toward a mentoring relationship, consult resources and advice for growing mentoring relationships with alumni.
Creating your Scholars @ Duke Profile
Find support for populating content in your Scholars @ Duke profile, or find your department's PowerUser if you're ready to create one. Don't let a Google search for your name turn up an empty profile!
Duke Career Center Online Courses & Guides
Find advice on Resume Fundamentals, Writing Effective Cover Letters, Interviewing Strategies, Networking 101, Setting Professional Goals, Communication Basics, and Developing Self-Awareness from the Duke Career Center's Online Courses. Find tailored resources for students from diverse backgrounds by accessing the 'Who We Serve' tab on the Career Center home page.
Interview Practice Tool
Whether you are interviewing for a job or graduate school, Big Interview helps you practice responding to interview questions and receive feedback.
Job Search Tools for International Students and International Searches
Interstride is designed specifically for international students to help them learn about international career opportunities, visa and immigration services, networking, and more. LockIn China helps students explore jobs in China.
LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com)
Take advantage of over 13,000 online courses, including topics like communication skills, website development, and design. Free access to Duke students through Duke OIT.
Skills & Interests Assessments and Career Planning Tools
Humanities and Social Sciences: The Graduate Career Consortium developed ImaginePhD as a free online tool for doctoral students and PhDs in the humanities and social sciences. It's designed to help you assess your skills and interests and achieve your career goals.
Psychology: The American Psychological Association created the APA Career Development Website to help graduate students and postdocs assess and optimize career goals and strategies.
Biomedical Sciences: Trainees in the biomedical sciences can use the free online tool myIDP, hosted on the Science Careers website. With it you can plan and execute your career exploration process.
Chemistry: The American Chemical Society developed ChemIDP to help graduate students and postdocs in chemistry shape their careers in alignment with their strengths and values and to find the jobs they want.
Supporting Your Scholarly Success
Planning and Publishing Scholarship
Duke ScholarWorks can help you share your peer-reviewed article, thesis, dissertation, or other digital objects via an open-access repository and your data through an open research data repository. We can help you find and use open educational resources, and can advise on copyright issues, scholarly publishing, data management, building and managing digital research projects, research metrics, and more.
Wiley Researcher Academy is a modular, self-paced online learning program for early-career researchers who wish to develop their expertise and understanding of the scientific publishing process, offering 14 independent learning paths on topics such as funding your research project, selecting an appropriate journal, best practices in writing scientific articles, post-publication activities and driving visibility, and becoming a peer reviewer. Access provided via Duke Libraries; registration is required, but accounts are free.
Nature Masterclass offers an overview of peer review. It is divided into four modules that pertain to the role of the researcher, peer review reports, ethics, and variations and innovations. The complete course requires three to four hours, but participants can complete it in a single sitting or use it as a "dip in and out" resource.
Proquest's three Dissertation Bootcamp modules provide support for critical components of your writing success: Getting Started on your Thesis or Dissertation, Efficient Discovery and Research Curation, and Developing a Productive Writing Plan. The content was delivered in collaboration with experts Dr. Jan Allen, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at Cornell University Graduate School and author of The Productive Graduate Student Writer, and Dr. Ken Helvey, Associate Professor of Education at Texas Wesleyan University.
Planning Your Scientific Journey
iBiology Courses sponsors this free online class. Being successful as a scientist requires more than acquiring knowledge and developing experimental skills. It also requires: (1) asking a good scientific question, (2) establishing a clear plan of action, and (3) seeking advice along the way.
Grant Funding Toolkits
The Office of Campus Research Development has created funding toolkits for both NIH F grants and for NSF GRFP, DDRIG, and Postdoctoral Fellowships. Access the toolkits via login to Duke Box.
Developing and Delivering Effective Scientific Presentations
Duke Presenting Clinical and Translational Science (PCATS) experts created a series of videos to assist other scientists in developing effective presentations in four modules: Telling Your Story, Creating Slides, Presenting Data, and Giving Your Presentation.
National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity
Duke's institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) provides access to many webinars and resources for working productively in academia as a graduate student and faculty member. Many resources focus on writing productivity, but you can also find webinars addressing such topics as building a network of mentors, overcoming academic perfectionism, and working with agents. The NCFDD Library provides archived versions of many past webinars as well. Find information about how to claim your Duke membership to NCFDD here, and read a post by recent alumna Christina Davidson on the value she found in NCFDD as a graduate student on the Professional Development Blog.
Association for Women in Science (AWIS) Membership
Free to students, staff and faculty, AWIS is an organization that advocates for gender equity and the advancement of women in STEM. The AWIS organization offers professional development, networking, mentorship and leadership opportunities. Take advantage of Duke's institutional membership, courtesy of the Office of Faculty Advancement, using this link.
Exploring Diverse Career Options
Industry Guides from the Duke Career Center
The Career Center offers a series of guides to help you land a job in the specific industry of your choice. Visit the Career Center home page and click on the 'Career Communities' tab to learn about career options in Data Science, Museums and Outreach, Public Policy, and Science Writing and Journalism, to name just a few, and find general information about questions you can ask on the Explore Careers website.
The Versatile PhD
The Versatile PhD is a website founded to help graduate students prepare for nonacademic careers. As a Duke student, you can access premium content (go to the access portal, sign in with your Duke NetID, and follow the on-screen instructions). If you’re contemplating a job search beyond the tenure track, The Versatile PhD can demystify the process and possibilities with resources:
- The Ph.D. Career Finder helps you explore possible career options and features first-person stories of PhDs and ABDs working in those professions. They share their experiences of pursuing a nonacademic career as well as actual résumés and cover letters that they used in landing their jobs.
- Forums allow you to join networking groups, learn about the career paths of other PhDs, and ask questions to a diverse, sympathetic, and knowledgeable community. There are two forums, one for Humanities/Social Sciences scholars and another for researchers in STEM fields.
- The Career Exploration Course provides an eight-module course to help you identify potential career paths, cultivate and demonstrate transferable skills, and transition successfully from the academic sphere to the professional world.
- The PhD Pathways webinar series provides perspective on career preparation and opportunities across a range of skills, trends, and industries.
Duke Libraries Job and Internship Research Resources
Find resources available through Duke Libraries to support internship and funding searches, resume and interviewing preparation, company and industry research, and tools for international searches.
InterSECT Job Simulations
What's it like to work in clinical trials, freelance science journalism, social media marketing, UX research, regulatory affairs, or writing a reader's report in an editorial position? Execute key tasks from these and many other careers for both STEM and humanities and social sciences PhDs through these interactive simulation exercises for career transitions.
Job Hunting in Industry: Searching, Applying, Interviewing, and Negotiating for a Scientist Position in Biotech and Pharma
This free four-part video series offered by iBiology offers targeted advice for Ph.D.s seeking industry scientist positions. Each video corresponds to one of four broad topics, including preparations for a successful job search, crafting a winning résumé, interviewing skills, and negotiating a job offer.
Business Concepts for Life Scientists
This free online course offered by iBiology Courses is designed to enhance PhD scientists’ understanding of foundational business concepts. This business coursework is unique because it is designed to prepare scientists for career transitions into both academic and non-academic settings. The course comprises a series of three modules: Business Strategy, Finance and Business Development. The goal is to impact participants' career readiness by helping prepare scientists who want to start their own labs, and inform scientists who want to go into industry.
Webinar: Five Actionable Steps for Transitioning Smoothly to a Non-faculty Career
In this free webinar, presented by Bitesize Bio, Duke History Ph.D. alumna Heidi Scott Giusto, owner and founder of Career Path Writing Solutions, discusses how she forged her own career path outside of academia as well as five steps you can begin taking NOW that will help you transition when you are ready.
Leaving the Ivory Tower: Managing the Emotional Side of Career Change
In this free webinar, presented by Bitesize Bio, Dara Wilson-Grant, Associate Director of UNC Chapel Hill's Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and frequest speaker at Duke, addresses the emotional obstacles to changing career paths, strategies for letting go and moving on to form a new professional identity, and resources that can help you navigate the transition into a more rewarding career.
Resources for Pursuing a Career in Academia
Higher Education Research Consortium (HERC) Webinars on the Job Search
HERC makes several webinar recordings publicly available without a membership.
- "The Academic Job Search: Presenting Yourself on Paper"
- "The Academic Job Search: Presenting Yourself in Person"
- "Negotiating Basics" and "Negotiating in Academia"
- "Out on the Job Search: A Webinar for LGBTQ+ Higher Ed Job Seekers"
- "Navigating a Dual Career Search: The Administrator's Perspective"
Academic Administration Careers
Begin learning about the opportunities to remain in academia beyond faculty roles. Carpe Careers Columns by Duke Genetics & Genomics Ph.D. alumnus Dave McDonald and Chris N. Golde of Stanford provide insights into the range of opportunities. The Chronicle of Higher Education's Resources for Career Exploration in Academia include career paths in Administration, Institutional Research, and Assessment.
Videorecordings of Professional Development Events
Throughout the year, Duke offers a variety of professional development topics of interest to graduate students and postdocs. The Office of Postdoctoral Services has archived videos of many of these seminars and workshops, where you get to hear from experts and professionals in a variety of career fields. Visit the Duke Postdoctoral Services YouTube Channel to access recordings of past series:
- Alum and HR Zooms
- 2021 Spring Careers Beyond Academia Series
- 2019-20 Academic Job Search Series
- 2017-18 Academic Job Search Series
- 2016-17 Careers Beyond Academia Series
- 2015-16 Academic Job Search Series
- 2014-15 Careers Beyond Academia Series
Podcasts for PhDs
- Figuring it Out: The Graduate School’s very own podcast miniseries! Features conversations with Duke University graduate students about the opportunities and challenges they face during their journeys through graduate school.
- Hello PhD: "A podcast for scientists and the people who love them!" This podcast is great for PhD students in the sciences.
- Vanderbilt Beyond the Lab Podcast: This podcast features interviews with biomedical science PhDs and postdocs about their career paths.
- Naturejobs Podcast: The journal Nature's podcast about jobs
- AcaDames: Two UNC faculty explore life in academia for women.
- Dope Labs: Duke PhD alumni Titi Shodiya and Zakiya Whatley dish about science, grad school, and friendship.
- NIH All About Grants: Learn about the ins and outs of NIH grant funding from the experts who administer it.
- VitaminPhD: This podcast from Boston University describes itself as a "supplement" to doctoral study.
- HBR Podcasts: Harvard Business Review offers topics that can help grad students better understand the business world, including Women at Work, FOMO Sapiens (on leadership choices), and the Anxious Achiever (about mental health and work). Free.
- The Science of Mentorship: This 10-part series from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine presents the personal mentorship stories of leaders in academia, business, and the media.
- Centering the Margins: Hosted by Michael A. Betts, II and former Assistant Dean Cisco Ramos, this series delves into the issues, experiences, and pedagogical practices that inform How To Teach Contentious Issues: A Practical Guidebook for Educators.
- Nature Careers Podcast: Hosted by Julie Gould. A seven-part series all about mentoring, how it differs around the world, and about other similar roles that can happen alongside mentoring, such as coaching and supervising.