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Industry is a constantly evolving landscape. This is something that Lauren Celano reiterated throughout her afternoon career keynote presentation at the 17th Annual Meeting of Postdoctoral, Clinical and Visiting Fellows, and Graduate students on September 29, 2022. Starting with the hard truths, Lauren did not shy away from acknowledging that many companies are undergoing layoffs, mergers, and other major changes right now. In light of this information, however, she asserted that a changing landscape also brings new opportunities and a diversified job market that can complement many interests and skills. An important first step, Lauren assured us, is to pinpoint the work that you find fulfilling. She insisted that from this point on, proactivity will become your friend.

Lauren emphasized features of research training, particularly within the NIH, that can make someone a desirable candidate in industry—as well as government, communications, and many other fields outside of academia. She pointed out that NICHD trainees have access to unique technology, scientific expertise, skill development opportunities, and networks within the research community. These all offer transferable advantages for roles in consulting, biotechnology, drug development, data analytics, business development, and more. 

A common barrier, Lauren noted, is a lack of awareness surrounding roles that need to be filled. Because the options are vast, narrowing down your career search can be daunting. Lauren encouraged NICHD trainees to utilize online resources, lean on networks, and explore all opportunities to learn about different careers to find specific job titles and descriptions that suit personal interests. She added that maintaining a detailed LinkedIn profile, connecting with professionals in your desired career path, and talking to people (like Lauren) doesn’t hurt, either.