Mastering Soft Skills to Advance Your Scientific Career
Chairperson(s): Karilyn E. Sant, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; and Samantha J. Snow, US EPA, Chapel Hill, NC.
Endorser(s): Career and Resource Development Committee Graduate Student Leadership Committee Postdoctoral Assembly
The overwhelming majority of the typical training experience focuses upon doing excellent science and identifying a career path. However, without a bit of personality, even trainees with the most exceptional resume may not stand out in a saturated applicant pool. Soft skills are often ignored in training, but can have a huge impact on the amount of success one obtains throughout their career. This session, from the 2017 SOT Annual Meeting, is designed to bring charismatic leaders in the field to discuss the non-scientific attributes that have contributed to their success, and also the qualities they seek out when identifying candidates for their organizations. Presentations will focus on: (1) how to network effectively; (2) how to present oneself in a professional environment using proper body language and etiquette; and (3) effective communication, leadership, and management skills. These interactive presentations will utilize demonstrations when applicable, and will be followed by a panel of young toxicologists who have successfully mastered these soft skills to transition from trainee to professional across the sectors. These discussions will be highly relevant to all student and postdoctoral attendees, as well as senior toxicologists who want to improve the professional training of mentees. This session will stimulate a discussion about underserved aspects of professional development, and enable trainees to learn and implement an essential skill set which will improve professional relationships throughout their careers.