Career Transition & Job Search

Quick Links

Job Board Websites

Keep your mind open to new opportunities!

Ohio Life Sciences

CWRU is a member of Ohio Life Sciences. Check out their Member List for a list of potential companies in some of the following fields: biomedical, pharmaceutical, biotech, medical devices, labs, digital health, gene and cell therapy, agricultural biotechnology, research, and academic institutions. 

* In addition to these job boards, look at individual company or institution websites, as well as job boards within professional organizations/societies you belong to. You can also watch for announcements on social media, LinkedIn, or listen to podcasts that might give you a new perspective. Keep your mind open to new opportunities and don't box yourself in. 


  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Put your true self out there.
  • Work on perfecting your Elevator Pitch (see below)
  • Become familiar with current and past research or work they are doing at that company or in that lab/office
  • Think about what you can bring to the lab; what makes you marketable and unique?
  • Have some questions ready to ask the interviewer.
  • Dress to impress in business attire. 
  • Tour the company/office/university to get a feel for the climate.
  • Reach out to others that work there and see what their experiences are; make connections. 
  • Follow up with a Thank You email within 24 hours of the interview.

Tip: Information Interviewing (below) is also another great tool to practice your interview skills prior to actually going into your formal interview. 

Informational Interviewing

Informational interviewing is a tool to utilize when searching for positions or preparing for future interviews. These fact-finding meetings are meant for you to explore their field, how they entered that field or position, any suggested professional or skills development, conduct research about an organization/company you want to work for, what working in that field/position is like day-to-day, etc. 

  1. Start with people you know in the field and then expand your network; see if those in your network have suggestions of who you should connect with.
  2. Request a short (20-60 minutes) informational interview from that person.
  3. Prepare questions ahead of time. 
  4. Dress to impress, introduce yourself and your goals, but let the interviewee do most of the talking. Keep the conversation light but professional.
  5. Thank them in a short email afterwards and stay in touch. Perhaps see if they have any suggestions from your informational interview that you should take with you into a formal interview (better sound quality or lighting, speak louder or slower, etc). 

* The Postdoc Non-Academic Career Series, developed and lead by the CWRU PDA, is a type of informational interview. 

Gaining Professional Development

Your resume should be comprised of more than just your postdoc responsibilities and research papers. A postdoc is a temporary position and a time when you should focus on exploring opportunities for growth and discovery. In order to demonstrate a holistic view of your abilities, you should be using this time to gain skills by:

  • joining professional associations (the CWRU PDA or societies in your field)
  • attending networking events, webinars, or lectures (cultivate a strong support network)
  • volunteering
  • learning new skills in or outside of your field
  • getting a professional coach

You can also find a wide range of free opportunities on our Professional Development page.

Resume/CV and Cover Letters

Find a recording of a recent CV/Resume workshop webinar, sponsored by the CWRU PDA. 

Feel free to send your resume or CV to and the Postdoc Director can provide feedback and suggestions. 

The CWRU Postgraduate Planning and Experiential Education office can assist in reviewing your resume/CV and making suggestions. They can also assist with interview prep and scheduling a mock interview

* Tip: ALWAYS remember to save and upload your CV as a PDF when applying to jobs. Word documents can get distorted, underline spelling mistakes (like scientific word or names), and can be altered by the reader. 

Cover Letter
  • Identify and strengthen the weaknesses on your application.
  • Ask your advisor or others you have worked with to be references. Be sure to provide them with an updated copy of your resume, cover letter explaining why you want this particular job, and the job description.
  • Don't take rejection personally; fit is important and somewhat out of your control.
  • Learn more about developing your CV.

Values Assessment

We suggest you take the Values Assessment from ImaginePhD to determine what values are most and least important values to you. And realize these change over time as our personal and professional life priorities change. The assessment can help you determine what to look for in a job to ensure it fits with your most important values.

Keep in mind to always maintain a healthy work-life balance; do things you enjoy outside of work, work in an atmosphere that supports you and helps you thrive, and set aside time to achieve your goals and ambitions. 

2-3 Minute 'Elevator Pitches'

Find a recording of a recent Elevator Pitch webinar, sponsored by the CWRU PDA. 

Mastering the art of the 'elevator pitch' is an important skill for any researcher. When you meet someone new, you only have a few minutes to capture their attention and get them engaged with the project you're working on. It's important to highlight why your research makes an impact, a simplified model of how it works, and avoids jargon that the average person outside of your field wouldn't understand.

Attending a conference or event to promote your research? The Graduate Studies Professional Development Center can work with you on perfecting your 2-3 minutes elevator pitch, contact them at

Preparing for a Career in Academia

Diversity Statement

A diversity statement is a personal essay that is a depiction of your past experiences and explains how these experiences have contributed to your personal and professional growth. Some diverse factors to consider include: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliations, physical abilities, experiences, socio-economic status, and education background. 

Learn more about writing your Diversity Statement

Research Before the Interview
  • Review faculty profiles and research to identify potential gaps that you might be able to address.
  • What courses does the department currently offer?
  • Know the student population and characteristics (helpful for your Diversity Statement)
  • Understand the department and university mission and visions (helpful for your Diversity Statement)

* Be prepared to cover these or similar topics, with examples if possible within 3-4 minutes (answers should be concise and to the point). 

  1. Describe your current research.
  2. What is the broader significance of your research?
  3. How do you see your research fitting in with our department?
  4. What are your research plans in the next 2/5/10 years?
  5. What is your teaching philosophy?
  6. Describe a course you've taught and how you measure student learning.
  7. What classes would you be able to teach with little preparation?
  8. What is your experience working with diverse student populations?
  9. How will you contribute to the community at our department/institution?
  10. What technology applications have you utilized in the classroom? How would you be an advocate for the use of said technology?
  11. How do you engage students?
  12. Where does this position fit into your career development goals?
  13. What are your greatest strengths as an instructor? What areas do you feel you could improve upon?
  14. What pedagogical changes do you see in the horizon for your discipline?
  15. What are some of the recent books or articles you've read?
  16. How do you involve students in your research?
  17. Do you have any questions for us? - The answer should always be Yes!

Leaving CWRU? Off-boarding Process:

See our End of Appointment website for information about the off-boarding process and the required paperwork.