By Helen Bothwell
Many of our readers and contributing early career ecologists are at that point in their careers where they are transitioning from graduate school life to that thing we have been working towards for so long – a job! For those of you who have jumped that hurdle and successfully landed positions, I welcome your advice and suggestions from the trenches on this topic.
In a recent publication in Conservation Biology, Blickley et al. (2012) presented a “Graduate student’s guide to necessary skills for nonacademic conservation careers.” While they focused on conservation jobs, their findings are broadly applicable to students preparing for numerous careers in the sciences. At the heart of their study is the notion that graduate coursework and thesis or dissertation research don’t necessarily translate into skill sets essential for the job market. A well-respected scientist once told me that a graduate degree is kind of the booby prize. To be competitive in the job market, there are many additional skills we need to be developing beyond the minimum requirements of a graduate degree.