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What to expect when you see a career counselor

OITE professional career counselors meet individually with trainees to provide career advice and assistance. They are available most days in Building 2 on the Bethesda campus as well as some days in Frederick, Baltimore, and RTP. They can help you in the following ways.

With career planning:

  • By asking important career planning questions to help clarify your goals.
  • By helping you learn how to make career decisions in a meaningful rather than a haphazard way.
  • By administering career interest inventories and personality assessments to help you to understand yourself better and relate this self-knowledge to career choice.
  • By discussing the appropriateness of further formal study in various advanced degree programs to prepare you to meet your career goals.

With the job search process:

  • By strategizing with you about how to approach a job search.
  • By directing you to print and Internet resources to learn more about careers and to support your job search.
  • By conducting mock interviews to prepare you for actual job interviews (or graduate or medical school interviews).
  • By reviewing your resume or c.v. to improve its effectiveness in describing your background and skills to increase your chances of receiving interview requests.

With considering careers outside the lab:

  • By stimulating your thinking about ways to use your scientific training other than in the traditional academic research career.
  • By identifying transferable skills you possess that can help you transition to a non-traditional career.
  • By brainstorming with you ways to use your unique background and skills.
  • By coaching you about the process for conducting informational interviews to become better informed about careers outside the laboratory.

With developing the skills necessary for career success:

  • By teaching you assertiveness skills to enable you to get what you want from both your experience at NIH and your career after completing your training at NIH.
  • By assisting you with developing negotiation skills.
  • By helping you identify gaps in your professional preparation and appropriate mechanisms for closing them.

With continuing your efforts in the face of adversity:

  • By offering encouragement and support to assist you in achieving your goals.

Career counselors will not:

  •  Make your decisions for you.
  • Get you a job.
  • Tell you exactly what you can expect to earn in a given career field.
  • Provide you with a list of people with whom to conduct informational interviews.
  • Write your resume or c.v.
  • Put you in direct contact with employers.
  • Research careers, companies, graduate or professional school programs for you.
  • Outline, in a specific, highly detailed way, every possible career path you could pursue.
  • Expect you to hold the same values as they do.