Career Development Programs and Events

OPA is dedicated to the professional and career development of our Postdoctoral Trainees. OPA offers trainings, courses, and events that consist of a variety of short courses, seminar series, intensive workshops, and individualized support.

Announcements about all upcoming OPA organized programming are sent to Postdocs on our email mailing list each Tuesday in our 'Weekly Digest'. Programs are advertised several weeks in advance to provide ample time to register. Many of these events and programs are also posted on the OPA events calendar.

The structured postdoctoral training program that OPA has been building over the past year focuses on broad areas that align with four of the six core competencies identified by the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) as being critical for successful postdoctoral training. The Columbia postdoctoral training program focuses on: professionalism, leadership and management, communication, career management, and responsible conduct of research. Two of the six (NPA) core competencies, discipline-specific conceptual knowledge and research skill development, are largely areas that postdocs should receive training on through their PI, mentor, or on their own, and are not widely encompassed in the OPA postdoctoral training program. The OPA structured postdoctoral training program consists of multiple distinct series and minicourses that will assist postdocs to achieve the following postdoctoral training program goals:

  • recognize the significance of independent career management
  • gain insights into a variety of career options available and engage in training and education activities necessary to gain employment in a preferred career track
  • receive professional and career development necessary for employment in a wide-range of sectors
  • adhere to professional and ethical codes of conduct during training at Columbia
  • hone leadership, management, and communication skills necessary for PhD level positions across a variety of career sectors
  • transition from training to independence

 

The components of the postdoctoral training program will entail:

This fundamental program covers topics such as career management, career exploration, career path selection, networking, goal setting and developing an individual development plan. It is run annually, beginning each Fall. Visit the IDP Program page for more information. 

The Academic Application Boot Camp is designed to help postdocs preparing to enter the job market develop their academic application materials.  This series is offered each year during the summer to prepare applicants for the fall application cycle. For more information visit the Academic Application Boot Camp page.

These workshops focus on creating a targeted resume, a professional CV, drafting a persuasive cover letter, interviewing effectively, strategically networking, and managing one's career. Individual workshops from this series will be held monthly, with each workshop being held 1-3 times per year. 

OPA organizes an annual Postdoc Research Symposium for the purpose of creating an opportunity for postdocs to present their research, learn about the research that other postdocs are carrying out. See the Postdoc Research Symposium page for more information.

This annual series exposes trainees to a variety of career opportunities that exist for doctoral level researchers. This program is run annually in the winter and spring. Please see the IDP program website listed above for information on the career panels.

Beyond the courses, workshops, and series, OPA also organizes a number of networking and employer events throughout the year. These include networking events with postdoc alumni, employer on-campus recruitment/info sessions, as well as employer site visits. OPA also advertises internship and employment opportunities throughout the year.   

There are a large number of events and programs that occur throughout the year that are not organized by OPA, but would be of interest to postdocs. We organize these events into the 'Weekly Listing of Events" email, sent out to postdocs on our email list every Thursday. Click to see events and resources relevant to postdocs from other offices at Columbia as well as external resources