Now my PhD is well out of the way and I'm finding my feet with my part time research fellow job, I'm trying to find ways to improve my future prospects.
I'm obviously unable to complete all these tasks at once, but I've listed some initial ideas......
a) Publications and dissemination- i) submitting papers from my PhD, ii) working on publishing papers from my research fellow post, iii) developing publications from my trainee health psychologist role, iv) Presenting findings within academic conferences
b) MSc teaching- received two invitations to teach on a postgraduate psychology course (four MSc psychology lectures to use towards my professional psychology training). Something to add to the CV?
c) Professional health psychology doctorate- every month, I receive supervision, tuition and training on competencies required for chartered psychologist status. I'm keen to pursue a duel psychologist role, ie part research and part professional practice, rather than working in academia full time.
d) Perhaps complete a PGCHE via my research fellow role to develop teaching skills?
e) Consider additional smaller courses on particular types of therapy options for psychology training? ie cognitive behavioural therapy
Just curious how other PostDocs work on improving their prospects?
If you want to pursue a research role, then (a) is by far the most important, and this should be an urgent priority. (b) is a good addition to your CV. (c) probably won't help you if you wanted a pure research job as it might not add anything - how common are those dual roles? They might be something you have to seek out a bit later when you've established yourself a bit more. (d) Great if you want to be a lecturer, not so important for a researcher.(e) Not sure this would help you as a post doc, apart from with regard to the professional practice of a dual role if you can find one.
If research is your interest, prioritise (a). If you're happy to move away from that and more into the lecturer side of things, (d) would come into play.
Publish, publish, publish, but strategically. It's not the numbers of publications but where they are placed. Try to get hold of your institution's ranking of journals in your field to plan. You'll need publications to get a lectureship. Some teaching experience is very valuable but I'd leave the PGCert HE for now, unless your place offers it as a series of modules, in which case I'd suggest doing the one that focuses on getting your teaching observed (being able to cite peer observations and teaching evaluation scores in any lectureship application letters is helpful). If you can get one module done with relatively little pain, then it shows you're interested in teaching well, and often (always?) it's transferable to another institution to finish up because of the HEA recognition process.
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