Career and Professional Development

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Career and professional development is an important part of your postdoctoral training. At UNC’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) we offer a variety of programs and services to help you make the most of your tenure here. Whether you are just starting out in your postdoc career or moving on to the next phase in your professional career, we can help. Here’s how:

Individual Career Counseling

Confidential, one-on-one career counseling is available to all  UNC postdocs. With individualized career counseling, we can help you:

  • Clarify and define your career goals
  • Research and explore career options
  • Identify your strengths and weakness
  • Implement a plan for skills development
  • Develop an effective self-marketing campaign, including job search materials (i.e., CV, resume, cover letter)
  • Prepare for upcoming interviews (academic and industry)

To schedule an appointment, please contact our Career Counselor, Dara Wilson-Grant at 843-2340 or


Career Assessments

OPA offers the following tools to help facilitate your career and professional development.

Strong Interest Inventory ®

The Strong Interest Inventory (SII) is one of the most widely used and respected career-related assessments. It provides insight into one’s personal preferences and interest patterns and provides a framework for organizing career-related information. The results can be used to help you identify the following:

  • How you might expand your options by exploring a variety of careers that are consistent with your likes and dislikes
  • General patters in your interests
  • Work environments that fit your interests
  • And more

SkillScan Advance Pack

SkillScan is an interactive tool that will help you identify your natural strengths and key transferable skills for use in your career and professional development. Activities with SkillScan help you to:

  • Evaluate the compatibility of your current career
  • Identify new options that capitalize on your strengths
  • Prepare development steps to move your career in the right direction
  • Gain a rich “skills” language for promoting your strengths in vitas, resumes, cover-letters, and interviews

To learn more about these assessments, please contact Dara Wilson-Grant, Associate Director and Career Counselor at 843-2340 or

Workshops & Seminars

OPA delivers and/or helps to organize a variety of career-related seminars, panels, and professional development workshops throughout the year. Past programs include:

  • Legal Seminar for International Postdocs

  • Professional Etiquette Luncheon
  • Research Portfolios for the Academic Job Market
  • Career Options for Scientists
  • Developing an Independent Research Program
  • Non-Academic Career Paths: A Webinar Series
  • Grant Writing Careers webinar


Former UNC Postdocs

The following resources will help you learn more about the variety of career options available to you as well as help you to connect with former UNC postdocs. 

Where are they now?
Do you ever wonder what former UNC postdocs are doing now and how they got there? Look no further, In these transcribed interviews you can read about their career paths, learn about their day-to-day work activities, and discover how they found their current positions. 

Careers in Academia

Careers Outside of Academia

Sample Request for an Informational Interview

Sample Informational Interview Questions


MentorNet:  The E-Mentoring Network for Diversity in Engineering and Science

MentorNet is a non-profit e-mentoring network that connects mentors and mentees in engineering, science, and mathematics.  MentorNet was created to foster the retention and success of women and underrepresented minorities in particular, but welcomes anyone interested in connecting with peers and experienced professionals in their field.  The MentorNet Community offers the One-on-One E-Mentoring Program, which pairs postdocs with professionals in an email based mentoring relationship, the E-Forum for web based discussion of issues like job searches and the work/life balance, as well as resources and a résumé database.  To learn more and find a mentor (or become a mentor), visit MentorNet’s website at Membership is available on an individual basis.


UNC Postdocs Listserv

Messages are sent out on the listserv to provide information about events pertaining to postdoc career development, which may include seminars, workshops, conferences, internships, awards, and other opportunities.  The listserv also informs postdocs of official university business, UNC postdoctoral policies, upcoming social events, and campus resources for postdocs.  This listserv is only available to current postdoctoral scholars who are affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. To subscribe to the listserv, please send an email to with “subscribe to listserv” in the subject line.