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“Capitalise on your weirdness” when developing your career



For the final event in this year’s CHILL seminar series, Stacy Johnson has suggested we “Capitalise on your weirdness” when developing careers in clinical, academic and business worlds. Stacy, along with Rob Carroll and Zoey Spendlove joined us to talk about their own diverse careers and offer advice on career development. The seminar was well attended by enthusiastic postgraduate students and early career researchers from across the university and further afield. Our interesting and engaging speakers shared insights into how their own careers had developed and how the opportunities and barriers they encountered along the way helped them to get to where they are today. Stacy and Zoey began their careers by training in nursing and midwifery, and Rob initially trained as a pharmacist. Stacy then moved into heath economics before returning to health sciences as a lecturer with an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship. Zoey excelled in her clinical career before challenging herself to complete a Masters, which then gave her the confidence to complete a PhD in the Business School; she is now a lecturer in midwifery. Rob quickly progressed into the management side of pharmacy before working out what he really wanted to do; by making the most of experience and training, Rob went on to become a successful venture capitalist which he now combines with a lecturing position in the Business School. All three knew that following the standard clinical career pathway was not for them and through hard work and determination have developed unique careers that span clinical, business and academic worlds. Here are Stacy, Zoey and Rob’s top tips for successful career development.

Know yourself: Understand what makes you tick. Take time to work out what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Focus on finding opportunities to develop these skills.

Take control of your career brand: Stepping off the normal career path makes you unique. “Capitalise on you weirdness” to make your career and skills stand out from others.

Elevator pitches work: Be ready with your 1 minute elevator pitch. You never know who you will be talking to or where it might take you.

Network effectively: Seek out and take interest in people. Give people your full attention and they are more likely to take interest in you. Make sure you are always giving as much as you take.

Use social media: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is working for you. Endorse others and they may return the favour. Twitter is a great social leveller and allows you to be bold in your networks.

Mentors and sponsors: A good mentor will support and guide you through your career development. A sponsor will actively advocate you. Make sure you have both.

Build effective support mechanisms: Support others and be supported. Develop your support team to ensure you are not in it alone.

Enjoy the ride: Careers are a rollercoaster. Sometimes you don’t know where it’s going. Embrace the opportunities, enjoy the experience and see where it takes you.

CHILL would like to thank Stacy, Zoey and Rob for taking the time to inspire and support us in developing our careers. Following this event we are planning to develop a Transition Group to continue offering support as careers are developed. If that is something you would like to be involved in please do get in touch. Watch this space!



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