Career support for postdocs and researchers
Postdoctoral research at Karolinska Institutet is intended to give the Postdoc a unique opportunity to develop skills and independence combined with advanced training and mentorship by a supervisor. KI Career Service provides career development for academics pursuing a career within academia, as well as for those who want to learn about career options outside of our university.
KI Career Service provides support in career related topics such as grant writing, networking, CV and interview training, career planning and much more.
Our number one career advice is to work hard and passionately on your research projects, however, the expression “publish or perish” is well known to most researchers and the competition is high.
This page is meant to provide you with resources and links relevant to postdocs and researchers, so you can find the info you need to work on your own career.
Planning your postdoc
We know that the career leap/transition after a postdoc period can be challenging and thus we strongly recommend you start thinking about what you want to do in your next career step.
What are the skills needed to take you there? Do you know what is required to apply for an assistant researcher position or researcher position? Find out how the postdoc in the lab next to yours ended up being headhunted by a company! Talk to peers and mentors about skill sets needed to take you further towards your career goal.
Keep in mind that the form of contract or scholarship you have will influence not only its duration and salary, but also things like insurance, extension for illness or parental leave and possibilities for future employment, so make sure to read up on the info regarding scholarships and types of positions at KI. There is currently extra info out on the position of "biträdande lektor".
You can find more info on what it entails to be a postdoc at KI on KI's landing page for postdocs, and if you are an international postdoc or researcher, you can find info relevant to you on KI's landing page for international staff.
Career seminars and workshops
All through the year, we organize career related events, seminars and workshops. You can see which events we have planned for the current semester in our own calendar, and find upcoming events by us and others in the general career calendar below it. If you have suggestions of topics you would want us to cover that are not currently offered, feel free to contact us and ask, maybe we can organize something.
The KI library, KIB, regularly organizes seminars and workshops related to performing literature research or calculating your publication metrics, which are announced in the KIB calendar.
Career Service runs an internship program for postdocs and early career researchers with temporary employment at KI. Companies and organizations propose a project for a three month period, which you can then apply to.
Usually we invite all companies involved to a mingle session at KI, where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the internship projects.
The fact that not all postdocs have the interest or get the possibility to stay in an academic career, and the great lack of knowledge about other career options has been the motivation for creating this internship program. The evaluations from postdocs, researchers, companies and organizations participating in the internship program have been very positive, and some of the outcomes listed by the participants have been: increased knowledge about how industry/companies are run, initiation of collaborative research projects, increased network with experts outside academia or in some case job offers.
To be able to perform the research you desire - you need to be able to sell your research project idea to the funding agencies. Many postdocs start their journey to become an independent researcher when they get their first grant application approved. This journey is a developing path and you will start by receiving perhaps smaller travel grants to attend conferences, onto funding of small parts of your research project/idea to the larger ones covering for example your salary/stipend/fellowship.
Your success in attracting funding will play an important role of your promotion towards your next position. Being able to pitch and convince others to invest in your research project could also be a valuable skill required by many companies and organizations.
KI Grants Office provides a valuable newsletter about open calls and what support is offered.
KI also subscribe to the Research Funding database, Research Professional and you are recommended to set up your own search profile to get email alerts when a specific call opens.
Inspiration and guidance
A big hurdle in career development is getting an idea of all of the things you could possibly do, and figuring out what would suit you. Looking out to what others have done can be a place to start. For inspiration both inside and outside academia, you could take a look at the magazine "A PhD can take you anywhere" and the career portraits on our blog. Try to conduct your own informal interviews with people who have jobs you find interesting, and find out what drives them or what it took to get there.
You can also start by looking at the skills you have and the tasks you enjoy doing, and find out which jobs would fit with that. A good start for this is the myIDP (my individual development plan) tool by ScienceCareers. It will not only help you think about your skills, but also give you ideas of which kinds of jobs would fit your skills, or what you need to work on to fit a type of job you would like to pursue.
For more personal career development you can take a look at these Online Career Modules, which help you in many topics ranging from understanding what you want and need, to career decisions and negotiation techniques.
Finally, don't forget the value of one or more mentors when it comes to inspiration and guidance. This could be a senior person in your lab, a professor you look up to, an alumni who just started a company, a mentor provided by a mentorship program, etc. The important thing is that you take initiative and build up a good relationship with your mentor(s).
Networking IRL and through social media becomes more and more important for academics, and many positions outside academia are being recruited directly through networking and personal contacts.
Think about how you can help and what you can offer people within your network. This will be the start of you getting a return of investment, for example learning a new technique from a co-worker, getting information about job openings or perhaps being offered to be part in a collaboration project. Conferences are great places for networking, however, do not forget to network within your department and at events organized at KI.
After finishing any position at KI, all the way from getting a bachelor degree to retiring as a professor, you can join the KI Alumni Network.
Using social media for your career
Many social media tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook or ResearchGate are all great resources to facilitate your network, sharing knowledge and learning about job openings. Use the tools that suit you.
Connect to us by liking our Facebook Page where we share information about events, internship projects, career blogs, open positions and much more.
Karolinska Institutet has a University and a company page on Linkedin and there is also a KI Instagram account that is open to students and employed coworkers at KI.
The Communications and Public Relations Office has published more information for staff about social media and guidelines.
CV and LinkedIn
Whether you like social media or not, LinkedIn is an important tool when it comes to job seeking. In contrast to a CV, your LinkedIn profile is always online and you can not tailor it to a specific job ad, so put some thought into it. Here are some tips to start with.
Multiple times a year we organize CV related workshops, or campaigns where you get the chance to get personal feedback on one of your CVs or your LinkedIn account through our collaboration with Go Monday. The campaigns are announced in our calendar, our newsletter and on our Facebook page, but you can contact us if you need support outside of the campaign periods.
For job openings right here, you can turn to KI's main page for available positions at KI.
Information on how to obtain a Postdoctoral certificate
In case you need a proof of your postdoctoral time at KI (for example because you had an external stipend and have no KI employment contract to show to a next employer), fill out the example of the Postdoctoral Certificate_Example.docx (see below), and send it to Head of your Department (and Head of Administration) for it to be signed.
We advise to send the application form and the Postdoctoral Certification with some time in advance before finishing your work at KI.
More information on Head of Departments/Prefekt and Head of administration at KI.