Career Development Planning for Postdocs

Being a postdoctoral fellow is only one step on your professional journey. It is important to set aside time periodically to think productively about your career both in terms of short- and long-term goals. There are two tools that all UConn Health postdocs should utilize to help with your career planning.

1. The Individual Development Plan (IDP)

The purpose of the IDP is “to provide a planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives. Furthermore, IDPs serve as a communication tool between individuals and their mentors,” according to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The most popular version created for researchers is called myIDP. It is an interactive web-based tool that can help you identify your professional values and strengths and match those up with potential careers.

The basic idea of an IDP is to conduct a self-assessment to identify your strengths, skills, goals, interests and areas that need improvement. You can discuss your IDP with your mentor and obtain their input to prioritize areas for development.


    2. UConn Health Postdoc Career Development Plan

    To implement your IDP, you will then complete the UConn Health Postdoc Career Development Plan form. You will use this document to set short- and long-term goals in various topics each year. These topics include:

    1. Research Technical Skills – e.g., learn an experimental technique, develop a set of research tools, etc…
    2. Scholarly Activities – e.g., write a postdoctoral fellowship grant, take a scientific course or workshop, etc….
    3. Publications – e.g., list planned publications from current projects
    4. Presentations – e.g., present in Postdoc Seminar Series, present at Postdoc Research Day, present at an international conference, etc…
    5. Professional Development – Join UCH/Jax Postdoc Association Leadership team, attend workshop on mentoring, join a scientific society, etc…
    6. Career Transition – schedule an informational interview, research jobs in pharmaceutical industry, develop my CV, etc…

    This form will help you create an action plan that aligns with your IDP. You should complete this form at the beginning of your postdoc tenure and then review at least annually with your primary mentor. Please also submit a copy of this form to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.


      For more on career planning, visit Career Resources.