In January 2014 I started running the Naturejobs blog; it’s been an interesting journey and I’ve enjoyed working with some great writers (see full list below!) to make the blog what it is today. My vision was to turn the Naturejobs blog into a place where scientists could come for career advice and personal stories: to read (or hear) about the experiences that other scientists have had in their careers and learn from their experiences. Using a combination of blog posts, podcasts and videos, I hope that I have achieved this and that you, our readers, have benefited from these stories.
I’ve been through the numbers and have picked out the top ten most popular blog posts from 2014. Here they are in order:
1) When a PhD isn’t enough, highlights Bianca Marcolino’s experience of finding a job after finishing her PhD. “The best advice I can give a graduate student is to start asking yourself the hard questions regarding your career aspirations as early as possible.”
2) Thesis writing tips for the I-left-it-to-the-last-minute PhD student, is what it says on the tin: tips for writing up your PhD if you’re running out of time. Daisy Hessenberger shares her story of joining a writing group and dividing her time into tomatoes. Yes, you read that correctly. Tomatoes.
3) Make your cover letter and CV stand out gives advice on how to make sure that your CV or cover letters aren’t overlooked when you apply for a job. By using techniques similar to those in web design, you can make the important parts of your CV and cover letter jump off the page and keep the attention of future employers. By Julie Gould.
4) How to get published in high-impact journals: Big research and better writing is a summary from the advice given at two of the 2014 London Naturejobs Career Expo sessions where Nature and Macmillan editors shared their top tips on getting scientific research published. By Samuel Brod and Simon Hazelwood-Smith.
5) Motherhood and science, by Julie Gould, is an interview with Dr Kay Tye about what it’s like balancing being a mother and running a lab. It often means bringing your little ones to the lab!
6) Shimi Rii interviewed five postdocs about how they found their jobs and she put together a postdoc search timeline, based on their experiences.
7) Julie Gould asks scientists to finish the sentence I am a scientist because… and Twitter joins in.
8) During a period of self-reflection, Kate Johnson discovered that a PhD is more than just research training. She explores the fear of the unknown: what happens once the PhD thesis has been handed in? And what did the last few years all mean?
10) Ask the expert: What other jobs can bioscience researchers and PhD students consider if they want to leave academia?, by Sarah Blackford, gives a short but sweet list of potential careers that could suit this group of people, based on the skills they would have amassed. It’s not a conclusive list, so if you’ve got other ideas (or any questions for Sarah) leave them in the comments below the blog post.
We’ve also had a few series of blog posts this year, each focusing on a different subject. Charles Choi wrote a series of eight blog posts about online, distance learning; Scott Chimileski focused on getting us to look on the brighter side of the PhD and academia, not at the Doom and Gloom; and Yuriy Baglaenko and Eric Gracey wrote about the importance of following alumni students.
The Naturejobs podcast has also flourished this year. I’ve very much enjoyed speaking to Dame Athene Donald from Cambridge University about PhD students; to Kit Malthouse, the Deputy Mayor of London about London’s new biotech hub; and to Jon Butterworth and Suzi Gage about science blogging, amongst many others! A particular favourite of mine is a short series of five interviews with inspiring Women in STEM came out in May this year, including Una Ryan, Edwina Dunn, Roma Agrawal, Sofie Carsten-Nielsen and Frances Ashcroft.
Without the guest bloggers, and many, many interviewees, the Naturejobs blog wouldn’t be what it is today. We’ve had some wonderful contributions over the year from young researchers and established scientists that wanted to share their stories and experiences with you in the hope that you would benefit from their hard-earned lessons. Thank you to ALL guest bloggers for their efforts this year, it’s been a pleasure to work with you:
Monya Baker, Frances Saunders, Shimi Rii, Simon Hazelwood-Smith, Scott Chimileski, Sarah Blackford, Gary McDowell, Mandë Holford and Ivana Gadjanski, Samuel Brod, Esther Cooke, Annalise Smith, Jim Gould, Justin Jee, Lisa Restelli, Ewen Callaway, Charles Choi, Dominika Bijos, Melissa Jones, Menorca Chaturvedi, Daisy Hessenberger, Kate Johnson, Brady Huggett, Courtney Long, Bianca Marcolino, Simon Peyda, Aimee Eckert, Lynn Kimlicka, Prital Patel, Saheli Sadanand, Aliyah Weinstein, Yuriy Baglaenko and Eric Gracey, David Proia, David Yang, Will Kenkel, Casey Doucette, Tracey Wang, Marta Wegorzewska, Ben Thomas, Joanne Kamens, Peter Fiske, Linus Schumacher, Susie Crowe, and Gene Russo.
In 2015, with the help of many guest bloggers (old and new!), I hope to continue to develop the Naturejobs blog into a source that you will find interesting and useful.
If you have any ideas for a suitable Naturejobs blog post and would like to contribute to the Naturejobs blog in 2015, get in touch by emailing me at naturejobseditor [at] nature [dot] com.
Happy 2015 everyone!