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Strategic Skills

If you are contemplating leaving academia for greener pastures, Nature Jobs' Elizabeth Silva writes that you should brush up on both your soft and hard skills.

But, she says that you should be strategic about it. "Don't be tempted to develop an array of skills with the hope of marketing yourself to whatever job happens to arise," Silva adds. "Start exploring different careers to get an idea of what you want to do, then develop skills that are related to that job or career."

To explore those careers, she suggests pursuing an internship or fellowship at company or organization. However, that approach means you have to know what other field you're interested in and can make the time commitment they require.

Another less time-consuming approach, Silva says, is to take a short course, some of which are offered online, while site visits to companies and organizations are another and can help you get a taste of the day-to-day experience there.

"Remember that experiences outside the lab offer more than job skills," Silva adds. "Use them to assess fit and ask yourself: do you enjoy the work, can you imagine yourself in this new role, do you think you would be good at it?"