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How to start your STEM career

iStock / Getty image plus / KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Julie Hogan

Chairperson, Women in Technology and Science

Graduating with your science qualification is an exciting and a confusing time. The world of science is evolving and changing. Finding the right place for you – where you can contribute, learn and enjoy your role – may seem daunting.

We want to help you navigate through this in four ways:  preparation, diversification, networking and changing direction in science.

You must prepare for the role

Apart from the more obvious aspects of job hunting like preparing a CV, this also involves identifying what roles you would like and what area you want to work in. Often, there may not be an exact fit role available. By knowing the area you want to be in, you can identify stepping-stone roles to get you to your goal as part of a longer-term plan.

Diversify your job search

Diversification after graduation can involve job hunting outside of the typical scientific roles you envisaged for yourself. If you are having difficulty breaking into the roles you want, do your research and consider more diverse roles as possible stepping stones.

These could be roles with fewer requirements but that allow you gain more skills, contacts and knowledge for the role you want.

Finally, remember there is always support in the wider community via your college, WITS or LinkedIn career advice hub where scientists will be happy to help you on your journey.

Get networking

Networking has become increasingly important in today’s world. It is vital at every stage of your career and can open doors when entering the work place. Ultimately, networking is reaching out to similar minded people to share ideas, knowledge and possibilities. It can be very collaborative. Networking also enables you to expand your knowledge in the area you are in and offers a flow of information from and to you.

You can always changing direction in science

Occasionally, as with any role, you may feel you need a change. Remember, your science qualification is a strong foundation and is applicable to a wide range of careers including quality, business, research, academia, pharma, pathology etc. Remember as always, there is support in the wider community via your college, WITS or LinkedIn where scientists will be happy to help you on your journey. Good Luck!!!

Women in Technology and Science

This article is adapted from a series of articles published by WITS to help you at early career stages when you find yourself wondering where to go next. This series led to a life sciences careers forum in February 2019 in Dublin. A similar event is being planned for Galway and Cork.

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