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What to expect when you see a career counselor

OITE professional career counselors meet individually with trainees to help provide career support. They are available most days in Building 2 on the Bethesda campus as well as some days in Frederick, Baltimore, and RTP. They can also hold appointments by telephone or Skype.

Career Counselors can help in the following ways:

With career exploration and planning by:

  • Asking important career planning questions to help clarify your goals
  • Helping you learn how to make career decisions in a meaningful rather than a haphazard way.
  • Administering career interest inventories and personality assessments to help you understand yourself better and relate this self-knowledge to career choices
  • 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
  • Directing you to resources to learn more about careers and job search tools
  • Conducting mock interviews to prepare you for actual job interviews (or graduate or medical school interviews)
  • Reviewing your resume or CV to improve its effectiveness and 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 an academic faculty career
  • Identifying transferable skills to help you transition to any career
  • Brainstorming ways to market your unique background and skills
  • Coaching you about the process for conducting informational interviews to become better informed about any career

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
  • Assisting you with developing negotiation skills
  • 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, CV, or cover letter
  • 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