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#120 Interview with Thalyana Stathis on pursuing a postdoc career in the USA

In this episode, Tina Persson and Thalyana Stathis extensively discuss the application strategies for a postdoc position in the USA

Published onMar 10, 2023
#120 Interview with Thalyana Stathis on pursuing a postdoc career in the USA

Are you looking forward to pursuing a postdoc career in the USA? Are you living in Europe, but dreaming of a long-term career in the USA? Are you looking forward to pursuing a postdoc career in the USA? Then this is an excellent episode for you as Tina Persson and Thalyana Stathis extensively discuss the application strategies for a postdoc position in the USA. 

Thalyana Stathis is the Associate Director of the Office of Career and Professional Development for postdocs and PhD students at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in NYC. As a career advisor, she supports hundreds of students and postdocs in each stage of their career planning. She also directs workshops for career exploration and navigating the job market for all academic and non-academic career paths.

Tina and Thalyana talk about the common mistakes that many PhDs do when applying for a postdoc application. One of the great tips from Thalyana is about how to use your current network to reach out to your future research lab/company. Thalyana also provides many tips regarding the different visa options.

If you have any questions about how to apply to postdoc positions at MSK, how to contact faculty members you are interested in working with, or how to learn more information about different labs at MSK, please feel free to email Thalyana Stathis at stathist [at] or connect with her on LinkedIn (

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Tina Persson: Hi Thalyana. It is really nice to have you on board for the podcast here, at PhD Career Stories. So welcome to all of you listeners. This is Tina Person and I'm hosting today's podcast for us. So welcome Thalyana, you are a PhD, but not only that, so let me present you very, very shortly. You have an absolutely amazing background. Reading from my paper here, Associate Director of the Career and Professional Development Office for Postdocs and PhDs at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. And before that, you were Assistant Dean at Columbia University. Then you have been a Journal Editor at Springer Nature, and you took your PhD at the Yale University in Natural Science, and you have a passion and you are really burning for the postdoc challenges and the various career options provided for postdocs. So you are the perfect expert and the passionate expert for our podcast here today, because what we are going to talk about here, we have three different topics, but in general it is for you. Whether you are someone that wants to do a PhD, maybe want to do a postdoc or you want a career in the United States and you are living in Europe. This podcast is for you, and you should listen very, very carefully to Thalyana because she is an expert on this topic and helps plenty of people in the United States. So welcome to the podcast.

Thalyana Stathis: Thank you so much, Tina. I'm really grateful for this opportunity to be a guest on the podcast PhD Career Stories. It's such a wonderful resource. I'm so glad that you and your team have been giving back to the community. I was looking through all of the other podcasts you posted before and all of the topics are really excellent and I'm happy to now contribute this new topic to the podcast. And I actually just have to say that I had heard about PhD Career Stories from a former postdoc at Memorial Sloan Kettering, who I had worked with very closely, and she went back to Europe after finishing her postdoc here. And I think she got back in touch with all of you and then she put all of us in touch. And so I'm glad to pay it forward and give some advice to all of your listeners here who may be interested in doing a postdoc themselves. And if they are based in Europe and they're thinking about coming to the United States, and I'm based in New York City specifically, I work with postdocs here. I'm happy to answer all of those questions and talk about that.

Tina: Thank you. Because there are things to consider. And I can share with you that when I was a postdoc and even a PhD, I considered going to America. But it was very difficult to get the right advice, because there are certain things you need to plan and take care of and figure out before you go to the United States. So that is what we're going to discuss here today. So and again, this is a community, so we are very happy that we can share within the PhD and postdoc community here. But let's start with the first one here, which is fairly common. I got it myself as a career coach many, many, many times. And that is if I consider going to the United States to do a postdoc, what is good to plan, what is good to to figure out before I put myself on the plane to the United States.

Thalyana: Exactly. So one important factor is just to have an understanding of the different visa options that are available for someone coming from Europe and then doing a postdoc in the US. The immigration office at whatever institution you would be going to would ultimately help you to figure that out. But it's also good to have that knowledge to do that, your own research ahead of time. Just so you can understand during your time here in the US what would it actually look like? What would your visa status be? So I can certainly talk more about what the few of those options are and also how they might factor into if you stayed in the US for the long term after your postdoc. And we're looking to have a long term career in the US, how your visa situation might change. Those are things to definitely consider before entering your postdoc. So some of that knowledge for you to acquire on your own would be very helpful for you to think about the long term career planning. And then also I think it's important to be in touch with your current advisor and see if they have a network of faculty based at US institutions. That's really a good place to start. You can think about, you know, a list of labs you might be interested in going to papers that you've read. You've seen people give talks at meetings, but ultimately it is hard to get that first introduction. And your current advisor can oftentimes help with that. Even if they don't really know this faculty member you're interested in working with in the US, even if they don't know them that well, it does help for that person to get an email from a professor saying, I have a graduating PhD student who's very interested in doing a postdoc and then working in your lab specifically, could they reach out to you? And then you send a follow up email. I think those introductions really help, coming from a faculty member who knows you well. And they reach out to the faculty member here that you've kind of done research on and you might be interested in working with them. So that first, what we call a cold call or that first cold email is tricky to do on your own without any support from any faculty at your current institution or other former mentors that you might have. And then another point I'll also mention is that it's good to talk to people who work in those labs that you might be interested in joining, and so you would get to meet them in the interview. But also it doesn't hurt to reach out to them beforehand. Current and former graduate students and postdocs in the lab that you might be interested in moving to, their advice is just as important to hear as any interactions you would have with the actual PI, because at the end of the day, this is a community of people that you're joining, that you're going to be working with these people very closely. So you want to make sure that it's a good fit there and it would be a supportive community. And to get to know the culture of the lab and the people you would be working with before you make these, you know, very difficult decisions about coming to the US for the next stage in your career.

Tina: And I think it's very good advice here, that you strengthen the importance that you take help from your mentor, which is your supervisor in this case, because they can evaluate what kind of lab you go to, because it's a big step. When you go from Europe to the United States, you want to know that you are going to a lab, that you will be well treated, but that you also have the right information. So it's not that you're randomly sending applications to the United States and you take the first best one. What I hear, that is not really what you recommend.

Thalyana: Absolutely. Yeah. It should be a very targeted approach. It makes sense why you're applying to this lab. You know, scientifically speaking, you've developed expertise in one area. That's kind of your thesis research for your PhD. Why are you now interested in moving to this other lab, or do you want to, have you been doing basic biomedical research? Do you want to do something more translational or clinically relevant? And so this other lab is kind of working more in that area. So it makes sense to do a postdoc moving in that direction, in that research field, so that scientifically there has to be a reason why you want to progress the development of your research career expertise in one area. Now moving to another area and this new lab that you're considering for your postdoc can help you gain these additional skills that you're really excited to gain. And on that note, when you're thinking about your long term goals, if you might want to work in industry in the long term, it would help to be working in a lab that does more translational research. If you have kind of no expertise in drug development at all and you're thinking, maybe I'd like to work in a pharmaceutical company in the future, it might be worthwhile to look for labs that are doing drug development and maybe they have collaborations with pharma and biotech, and that can be kind of a more targeted experience for your postdoc research to gain those valuable skills, whereas if you're looking to become a PI and faculty member, you're kind of thinking about the niche that you would like to develop within a certain research field. This is the vision I have for my lab, my research program. I might want to combine my expertise and my PhD. with this other expertise and kind of launch this research program. So then what would be your postdoc expertise that you could develop to then help prepare you to launch your research program?

Tina: So I just like to stay in the first phase here, you go to postdoc and you're planning to take a postdoc. What are some common mistakes in this stage?

Thalyana: Common mistakes when you're planning to do a postdoc. I would say one thing is that the reaching out to faculty members, I've helped people prepare for cover letters when they are looking to reach out to a faculty member. And they've all been extremely generic and again not tailored to why this person really wants to work in this lab.That's kind of the first main point: Why would you like to gain invaluable skills that this lab can offer? But also the second thing is you have to talk about what you're bringing to the lab, how this lab can benefit from your presence. You're bringing some expertise from your PhD. The lab is maybe working in certain areas where you think you could perhaps bring an interdisciplinary approach because you're coming from a unique background with your PhD, and contribute something new and exciting to the lab that they're not currently working on right now. So it's a give and take. You're going, you're going there to be trained, but also there's something you can bring to the lab as well. So I think your pitch per se, of why you would want to join this lab for your postdoc has to be very clear in those two ways. Otherwise, I feel like that the PI may not really consider your cover letter in your application.

Tina: Exactly. And that's actually very similar to when you go looking for a job in industry. You have to show the value you bring to the lab. But then, of course, you have different sorts of postdocs here. Could be a postdoc that comes with their own money. Yeah, I mean, that's one. And then the other one is that you apply for a position. Can you see that you need different strategies here? So you're going to try to get funding when you're, let's say in Germany and you want to go to the United States and you are looking for your own funding as a postdoc, what is a good strategy then?

Thalyana: Yeah, I think that would be fantastic. And it would help your pitch for why you want to join this lab. It would make your case easier for the PI to consider you if you are bringing your own funding, at least for maybe the first year or two. And I think through your home country's government, there might be opportunities for you to apply for coming to the US or coming to another country to have a research experience. I know some postdocs who they have found, at least for their first year or two, they have found some funding that way coming from their home country. But sometimes it's the case where the timing just doesn't necessarily work out. You may not have time to apply and get the funding before you are then looking for a postdoc and that's okay. It's wonderful if you already know you have funding that you can bring with you. You can let people know in your cover letter that you already have the funding. But I think it's more often the case where you may be looking for a postdoc and would say, I'm actively interested in applying for fellowships. You know, as soon as I start my postdoc, I think the PI would still like to hear that you're excited about doing that as well. Each lab that you're applying to, in theory, should already be fully funded, totally ready to take you on, totally able to fund you for your full time as a postdoc. You should not be required to get funding in order to keep your job as a postdoc, in order to get your job in the first place. All the labs here in the US have lots of funding from the NIH, the National Institutes of Health. That's kind of our big government source for funding, big research grants. And they should already be in a position to, in theory, hire a postdoc at any time, fund them at any time, and they should not force the postdoc to apply for funding to keep their job or to get their job in the first place. So I would say that if it already worked out for you and you got the funding ahead of time, definitely mentioned that in your cover letter. It makes your case even stronger. It's not a requirement. You should show excitement for applying for grants during your postdoc. 

Tina: It's part of the road to stay in academia, to learn to apply for funding, of course.

Thalyana: Absolutely. Yes. If you show the PI that you're interested in learning that and becoming a strong grant writer and looking for opportunities to apply for in the beginning of your postdoc. Because as soon as you start, there are other grants you can apply for in your first or second year of your postdoc, either again through your home country or usually other postdocs might apply through a scientific society. They have a lot of early career postdoc grants based here in the US. You can apply for it. So telling the PI when you're interviewing that you would like to do that, that that makes a strong case for you.

Tina: So would I say that you have someone sitting in Europe now, so you have reached out. You have made a case. You have said that I come with my own money, or at least I will try to. I know that's my responsibility, part of my responsibility. When do you start to figure out the visa? Does the university, in the United States, help you with the visa? Do you get any support there?

Thalyana: Definitely. Once the PI has agreed to hire you, there might be a few months kind of where you have accepted the job offer, but you're not actually going to be starting yet. This might be based on your situation if you're finishing up your work in your PhD lab, or it might just be that you need some time to travel or to find a new apartment. So there's usually at least a few months in between where you have accepted the offer, but you haven't started yet. And during that time that's when the immigration office at any university here in the US, each university has one. So whichever one you're going to, they would be working with you closely to figure out the best visa to apply for and how to get it quickly so that you can come on a particular date and be set up. And so I kind of mentioned a preview here so that I could talk more about this. So I would say that the two major options are that you would either be put on what's called a J-1 visa, and the other one is called an H-1B. And I've noticed more cases now of people being put on a J-1 visa for their postdoc. It lasts for five years. The downside there is that oftentimes based on your country of origin, you may need to go back to your home country for a two year stay. But there are ways to waive that. It's not always required. They may say it's required, but there are actually ways for that to be waived. And the immigration office can work with you in that regard. So the H-1B is the other common visa that postdocs are on here in the United States. The one downside there is that if you are bringing your spouse with you and you're requesting a spousal visa with the H-1B, it would be called H-4. Your spouse is actually not allowed to work on that visa. So that's an important consideration perhaps for you to think about if your spouse would like to be working. And they're also here in the US if you are on a J-1 and your spouse is on a  J-2, they are allowed to work on that visa.

Tina: These are important things. So I would say that you need to use the information. You need to be curious to find out the information. So you need to be strategic here when you go to the United States. Don't be too quick and just take the first best option sort of.

Thalyana: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So this is all part of the long term career planning. You're thinking that, you know, would I be bringing my spouse with me? What would be their situation when they're also living in the United States and the H-1B is good for up to six years. I think you renew it after perhaps three years? I'm not sure about that. But there is a renewal process and then it is good for up to six years in total. So you're also thinking about the amount of time you might need on this visa. So I'll mention that the J-1 and the H-1B are for any nonprofit institution that you would be working at in the United States. So that's all university research.

Tina: And that's leading us into the next question here. Life happens, we can't plan anything so I plan for a postdoc and then well, I fell in love in the United States. So I fell in love with a person. Now I really want to stay in New York or now I got an opportunity in California or somewhere else in Texas. And so suddenly my life is not only these five years, it's maybe something more long term. And I may look for a career in industry. So what happens then? If I'm a postdoc where you are, and suddenly I come to you as a postdoc and I say, I would like to stay, I want to go to industry. What happens?

Thalyana: Yeah. So in that case, I would say. Fantastic. I'm glad you thought about your next step after your postdoc. So since you are on a visa right now and you want to stay in the US, we need to talk about what your visa options would be for your next job. And so the first thing I would usually discuss with a postdoc is that there are two main options here and then one, which is not a visa. It's a permanent residency option. So regarding the two visa options, to work at a for profit company, so any form of biotech, any for profit industry in the US, you can apply for the H-1B lottery. So you might be on an H-1B at a nonprofit at your university, but to work at a for profit, you would apply for a lottery. And there's usually around like a 33% chance of getting the lottery and getting the H-1B, which you can use at a for profit company. So those odds are not great, 33% like that's one option. But people are aware that this is available but that it shouldn't be their only option because there's no guarantee that they could get that visa. And also, there's certain times of the year when the lottery is offered. So you can only start if you do get the H-1B visa, you can only start your job at this new company on a particular date. They may not be willing to wait for you until, you know, months in advance for you to start your new job. So a lot of our postdocs here, who are moving into pharma in the US, have considered what's called the 0-1 visa. It's for extraordinary ability in different fields. In this case, as a scientist, you have extraordinary ability to then be hired by this company to do important scientific work for them. And so what I advise to people is if they're thinking about moving into pharma, their CV needs to be, it needs to look good. They need to have good contacts in their research field because their application for the 0-1 visa is going to be very merit based. It's going to be scientifically based. You have to prove that you are a scientific expert in your field and this company needs you for this job. So you don't need to publish In Cell, Nature and Science, have all these first author papers in the highest impact sector journals, but you need to show productivity. You have been publishing during your postdoc and you also need letters of recommendation from experts in your field as part of your application. So you need to, even if you're not going to be in academia for the long term, you have to show that you made progress in your postdoc. You are publishing, you're going to conferences. There are leaders in your field who could write you letters of recommendation to say that you're an expert. So you still need to be thinking about those things to get the 0-1 in order to move into pharma, to show that you're an expert in that field. And then, the last thing is I tell people that you can also consider applying for a green card and getting permanent residency. If you have that and you're applying for an industry job, it makes your life so much easier to explain your situation. You already are authorized to work because you are a permanent resident and it takes a few years for that process from start to finish to to happen. So I tell people at the beginning of their postdoc they might want to consider getting the process started and applying for a green card so that they already have it by the end of their postdoc.

Tina: Yeah. It's good to have a strategy and think a little bit ahead so you avoid procrastinating because you're not really sure, because this is what happens, when I'm a career coach and I say, you know, and this is not when you go to the United States, but that's people that come to Sweden. And I say, “So why haven't you learned the language?”, “Well, I didn't plan to stay.” Life happened. And I said, “But you could have learned it anyway. You just added another language.” Yeah, right. You know, I could have done that. So sometimes it's good to do things even though you don't know what's going to happen because then you are prepared, you know? But how hard is it to get a green card? I get that question many times. How hard is it when you start the process? Can you break the process or how does it work?

Thalyana: Yeah, so there are two ways to do it. It's either through your institution, they would sponsor you or you can do it on your own. You can self sponsor. And in either piece I would say it takes a few years. You would be working with a lawyer in each situation and if you needed to change your career course at any point or stop the process, you know, you could certainly do that. But I think because it takes a few years, I think it helps to be thinking about it from the very beginning. And the one thing I will mention is that it has become more difficult for people where their home country is China and India. It takes them longer to get a green card here. So they need to be really thinking about it from the very beginning, starting that process, because it takes them more time as opposed to people where their country of origin is from somewhere in Europe. They have a few other options to apply for a national interest waiver or other other types of permanent residency applications. Though I have seen those take less time than for people where their home country is China and India. But still in the end it is going to take at least a few years.

Tina: At least a few years. It's good to know. If I want to start with a postdoc and I want to pursue an academic career. I want to become a PI. What strategy do they need?

Thalyana: Yes. So I would say that you're kind of thinking ahead and then thinking backwards about during the time in your postdoc how to develop a strong CV. So you could have some institutions in mind. Maybe you see yourself perhaps applying for a faculty position at those institutions. You know, because we're based here in New York City, there are a lot of top tier institutions very close to where I work at Memorial Sloan Kettering. And oftentimes people love New York and they want to stay here and they want to find other institutions here to move to further faculty positions. And I say, you know, please consider that, if you're looking to stay in New York, that's an important thing that you have decided. But at the same time, you also need to be realistic about what your CV looks like. And if you're only applying to the top tier institutions that have only accepted people with one or two first author papers in Cell, Nature and Science, and you don't have them on your CV, you may not be a strong candidate, so you have to be realistic that first and foremost are going to be looking at your publication record. Not every institution is going to require that you have a first author Cell, Nature and Science paper. But in order to find that out, it helps to look at the faculty that they have recently hired and to kind of view their publication track record on PubMed and see are all of these new faculty, do they all have one or two first author papers in the highest impact factor journals?

And these are the people that are getting hired for the job. But again, there are many institutions where that is not the main thing that they consider. So you just have to weigh your options. And so this goes back into your choice of a postdoc lab. You should be looking at the papers that are coming out of that lab. Does every postdoc in that lab, are they only working on one paper for five years, one Cell, Nature, Science paper for five years to then get published? And that's what they use to go on the job market. And that's kind of the main goal of that lab is to train people to have a high impact factor and then apply to top tier institutions for faculty positions. So if that's what you're hoping for yourself and this lab can provide that training to get there and can help you publish those top tier papers based on what you've seen from other former postdocs in the lab, then that lab would provide you with the training that you need to have a strong CV. And then another factor to consider when thinking about an academic career in the US is that we were talking about funding before. That becomes extremely important when you want to apply for faculty positions to know even better than in the beginning of your postdoc, to know even better the funding system in the US and the grants that you would apply for as a late stage postdoc or an early career junior faculty member, to have that knowledge and to also be starting to apply for those grants at the end of your postdoc, and to put that on your CV, that is something that looks very strong on your CV. There are certain grants from the National Institute of Health or the NIH for late stage career postdocs. If they get those grants and then they're applying for faculty jobs the next year, they are a strong candidate. And so sometimes I can even make up for it. If you didn't have a first author paper in the highest impact factor journal, if you had this grant that could make your CV look super strong as well. So you need to be thinking about publishing and funding for leading towards your faculty career in the future. 

Tina: So this is even more important, when you really want to stay in academia, that's the strategy. I hear that from you. You have to be very clear. I do that postdoc and then I need to train certain skills. So obviously what I hear you say is if I want to do a postdoc, it's important that this postdoc actually bring me to a faculty position. But I need to sit in a boat together with other super good experts so I can learn from the best how to write articles, how to write the fund applications, and actually in competitive labs. So you learn that, you know, this is the way, because a lot about science, I have learned at least, is strategy you know, so I learned from when I was a postdoc, it was amazing how some people, some postdoc came to the lab and they already knew what they wanted to do and boom, they published in Science. It was that wow. And it was no accident. It was a strategy and they learned from the best and they were really willing to learn from the best. And this is also something I advise all you willing, because if you want to go for full professorship on a top university in the United States, you must do a postdoc in such a lab. And you can actually check that because you can follow where they come from. You can go backwards and see where. I love to share that with you, when I worked as a postdoc in the RNA field, I remember it was I think it was Toma Cech. I mean, I don't know how many postdocs he produced. They are all professors because they came from his lab and he was doing the right thing and they learned the right things and he was a good sponsor for them.

Thalyana: Absolutely. I like what you said about you sitting in a boat with the experts and that these people are your sponsors. When you're considering which PI to work with, you're going to be joining a department, you're going to be joining an institution, you're going to have a main mentor, and you should be making sure that you have additional mentors. You should be developing a network of mentors as well. Yeah. Because they will all be in the end writing you letters of recommendation to apply to these institutions for a faculty position. They may know faculty at that institution in Chicago that you're interested in applying to. They all have their own network. And you, learning from this boat (...).

Tina: You can choose the winning boat and you can take that boat and in that boat it's much slower. You need to be in that boat where people are rowing fast forward for a reason. 

Thalyana: Yeah, I love that analogy. So yeah. So you're choosing the mentor and the group of people cheering you along as you're rowing the boat because they will all be your sponsors in the end. That network of mentors, in addition to your main mentor, will help you have the right connections and the right relationships to be applying for jobs at top institutions. And that network, that's the same for industry jobs too, when you're looking to apply to any big pharma company, it helps to already know a scientist working there and talk to them before you then submit your application, because they get hundreds and hundreds of applications. But if there's a referral from someone who's currently working at that company, who knows you or they've spoken to you and they can say you have good qualifications, that helps a lot with your application as well. So the networking is regardless of your career path, you should be thinking about developing a network of mentors.

Tina: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, now you mentioned actually what I call a hidden job strategy, that is to turn your connections to referrals. And so if you come to the United States, you start to work as a postdoc, build your network from day number one, start very early to connect on LinkedIn and, you know, start to figure out things because it is so much easier when you just can send an email and have a discovery call. And I have learned myself, when I expanded my business to the United States, that in the US, I can send an email, I can ask questions. People come back. They are very, very open minded in the US and they're very supportive. You know, just call me back. We can have a short chat of 15 minutes, I gladly help you. So I was really, really surprised. It's much harder in Europe, actually. Apart from the United Kingdom, it's also very, very open. It's changing slowly. But this is something I say to everyone now listening to this podcast here, in the United States, you can really connect with people on LinkedIn. Extremely open minded.

Thalyana: I'm so glad you mentioned that, Tina. It is useful for me to know that maybe in other parts of Europe it's not used as much because I may want to connect with people on LinkedIn, but now understand they may not be using it.

Tina: They might not be using it in the same way. So they don't accept the invitation or they don't reply back. Don't take that personally. It's simply not at all the same strategy as in the United States where people are very careful about getting back to you. But we are catching up. We are catching up.

Thalyana: And for all the postdocs in Europe who want to come here, they should create their LinkedIn profile immediately. Yeah, I have to echo what you said that everyone here in the US is using LinkedIn. I wouldn't even call it Social Media because it's a very professional platform.

It's a huge networking tool that everyone is using. And I agree that it's very likely that if you reach out to a group of people, a good number of them would respond. Many recruiters are using LinkedIn to search for people to find good candidates for jobs that are open. I've worked with many postdocs where they create a profile and then immediately get contacted by recruiters if they say that they're open to moving to pharma.

Tina: The job comes to you. And this is also to use the algorithm on LinkedIn in the right way. So because I worked as a recruiter and if you have a profile where you don't use the right skills or the terminology, sort of, then I can't find you. So help, help me to find you. This is what recruiters say. Help me to find you. Then I can help you to get the job. So thank you for mentioning that, it's very important to do, apart from having a very good marketing material, as I call it you know, just to send away, you know, eye catching. This is what I offer and this is what I want. Then you nail a job.

Thalyana: I'm glad you mentioned the algorithm because, a lot of the recruiters, they are using their own strategies to search for people. One thing I tell people is that if you find maybe ten job postings, that would all be of interest to you. What are all of the keywords that they have all listed, those should be in your LinkedIn profile. So anyone could search for those kinds of common keywords you're seeing in these job postings. They could find that in your LinkedIn profile to say, I'm already a match for any of these jobs. And it's both technical and soft skills. Like you have to list all of your technical skills as a scientist, but you have to say things like “You know, I'm a leader of projects. I have mentored people and supervised people. I'm an excellent communicator to diverse audiences.” They need to hear that you are a project and people leader and you're a strong presenter. And because that's a lot of what you would be doing in the job in addition to that technical skill set.

Tina: Yeah, you have to show your transferable and soft skills and you know, companies are more and more interested in emotional IQ. But do you know what? That's another podcast to talk about because that's my passion and that's what I'm gunning for. And I have developed these agile job search methods and that's, you know, how to actually make the job come to you, you know, the job is headhunting you and it's how to help the algorithm and AI in the future actually to find you. And that's also strategy. But we're not going to touch that because then we are deviating from the topic. But we have now discussed, if you're considering from Europe to go to the United States for a postdoc, you covered that. If I then suddenly realize, wow, I like to stay, I like to go to industry after my postdoc, we have covered that and also what to think about if I want to stay and work myself towards a pi or become a full professor, we have covered that.

But so I'm leaving a last question to you here. Is there a question that I haven't asked that you would like to add to the audience here.

Thalyana: Great. Yeah, I think one thing I also wanted to mention regarding the faculty positions or just in general, when you are pitching your proposal for why you want to join this lab, the skills that you would like to learn during your postdoc, the PI is always curious to hear about your long term goals. So if you're already not sure if you'd like to stay in academia, perhaps also kind of look at where people have ended up in that lab. And if a lot of people have not stayed in academia after their postdoc in that particular lab and they've moved to industry and other careers, it's good to ask the PI about where postdocs have ended up after their time in this lab. And, you know, and if they're proud of all of these people going to all of these different career paths, and if the PI is proud of all of these diverse careers that people have gone into, then that's good information for you to know that if you're not exactly sure what you want to do, academia, industry or something else, at least you're in a lab that would support you no matter what career you end up choosing. And the PI is showing support of all of the people who've gone into different careers coming out of their lab. So when you're giving a pitch and you're explaining, this is the project I'd like to work on and you already know this could help prepare me for an academic career. Definitely discuss that with the PI. And if you're not sure, at least find out first if they would be supportive of many career paths. And then you can kind of talk about that with them a little more honestly and openly. If you get the sense that they would support you no matter what career you might end up going into in the future, because this is part of understanding the lab culture. When you're thinking, when you're interviewing, you're thinking about entering the lab. It's good to know the lab culture in terms of the careers that all of those people training in the lab have gone into and how the PI supports them in that regard.

Tina: And that summarizes how incredibly important it is to choose the lab, check the lab, and that you get the PI that supports you. And it doesn't mean that if you choose a track and you go to PI in a top notch lab and you decide to go to industry, he might not be able to support you because he doesn't have that experience, because he's trained to train postdocs to become professors, you know. And so if you listen out here, you know, check the PI, check the history and evaluate yourself what you might think. Am I really sure I want to go for top notch, go for full professor or am I more wobbling? Choose the lab accordingly I would say, and take the time to check the PI and the lab you go to. Thank you for strengthening that, because I have met some of you listening here, I have coached people that, you know, they took a lab. They were so happy, they went off. And then it turns out to be a catastrophe because nothing was really what they planned, etc. And it's sad, it's really, really sad. So thank you a lot. Thank you a lot for attending here and for sharing so much valuable information to PhD Career Stories. Thank you a lot and I hope to invite you again. But then we can talk about something else maybe that you are passionate about. 

And with that said, I say thank you to all of you and I hope you learned a lot from Thalyana here. And I say to you who like us PhD Career Stories, that you find us on the web page You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, and don't miss out. We have a new fantastic partner in the EATRIS in Spain and stay tuned because we are going to record from there. They have an event in Barcelona and for the first time ever, one of my collaborators or team members is going to represent us in Barcelona. So from me to you, have a wonderful day.

Thalyana: Thank you so much, Tina and I'll just say if anyone has questions for me or about Memorial Sloan-Kettering, where I work, they can find me on LinkedIn. So I've been mentioning LinkedIn. I'd be happy to connect with people. If they create a profile and they want to start connecting with people. I would be happy to connect with them and I'm super excited to hear about your representation in Barcelona. Yeah, that sounds fantastic.

Tina: That's absolutely fantastic. We are very happy. So take care.

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