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To be or not to be ….. an academic, industry, government, non-profit job ….. that is the question

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Many of us think that alternative careers outside of the realm of academia involve industry, government, and non-profits; however, we may be unaware of other opportunities for careers within academia which do not fall into the PI role.

It turns out there is a need for advanced degrees in academic settings relating to high education administration, teaching, student advice, and more! I only heard of these opportunities through someone’s LinkedIn post, so I wanted to continue sharing this article and hopefully expand your horizons of potential alternative careers. So please take a look!

Not only does learning about these careers provide many other career opportunities but people who know lots of information about these jobs or currently hold a job in this field are right on your doorstep! Many students and postdocs are on academic campuses allowing them to literally walk down the halls to talk with a host of different individuals and I am sure many of them will be willing to talk. Who doesn’t like talking about what they do?! This is the perfect opportunity to use your academic contacts and set up an “informational interview” – a causal setting to ask people questions about their current role/career path. Instead of calling it an interview, I would recommend you inviting them to out for coffee and ask for half an hour to ask some questions about their role. Hopefully, you have some pre-prepared questions to help guide the conversation. As you think about your future plans, don’t forget to work some of those local connections that you may have previously overlooked!

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Elizabeth Swallow

Graduate Student

I am a graduate student in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology focusing my research on bone and chronic kidney disease.