“Why would reading about someone else’s career and career journey be useful to me?” you might ask. “I’m time limited I don’t have time to be reading about roles that I’m not sure I’m interested in” is another common thought. However, this is where I would beg to differ that some concentrated time viewing and/or reading case studies is a worthwhile investment. Granted you don’t want to let it spiral into hours and hours listening to other people’s experience. You do need to apply some thinking about what you want your next step to be and the action that you need to take to get there. Looking at case studies is an especially good use of time if you are quite open about what your next role may be as they can provide hints and tips on how to make a transition.
Why do Careers Consultants recommend looking at case studies? It is because there is a lot of value in learning about someone’s experience and how they have developed their career. Firstly, let’s assume that the role that the person is currently doing is of interest to you. The benefits then are somewhat obvious in that you will learn more about the role, possibly how to progress and what the next steps might be in order to further your career. However, even if the role featured in the case study isn’t in your top choices it doesn’t matter it is still useful to read or listen to what this person did because you will learn about the decisions that they made and the reasons behind them. You may also pick up tips that you hadn’t thought of on how to gain more experience, or how to approach contacts in other sectors, for example.
The Prosper Portal is a great resource and has been created specifically for researchers. There is a former postdoc case study section, which contains examples titled by the researchers’ previous research background. There is also a table at the bottom of the page that highlights other great sources of Researcher case studies.
If after looking at some of these case studies you would to further discuss your options then have a Career Consultation with either Eleanor or Dracey to help clarify your thinking and next steps.