Soft Skills for Academia and Industry
We are a peer mentoring group of 13 female doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, just starting out on their academic careers. Our previous studies were very focusesd on acquiring hard science skills, but as we start pursuing our research and reflecting upon our career goals, we find ourselves lacking preparation and practice in domains broadly classified as ’soft skills‘. We thus decided to focus on three main topics during the next year, with the help and support of the FLP programme. Firstly, we would like to reflect on our career expectations, especially with regard to work-life balance and time management, so that we are able to invest time in the best interests of our projects and personal health. Secondly, we decided to work on improving our scientific writing skills, to be able to communicate our ideas and results to wider audiences. Eventually, we would like to develop our self-marketing skills, both in formal (presentation) and more informal (networking) setting, to make the most of career opportunities we will encounter.
Towards a mindful and fulfilling career
Building on the success of our peer mentoring group in 2022/23, which focuses on building a sustainable career in research, we want to address the next challenge that young researchers face: deciding what to do after completing their PhD or postdoctoral studies.
Our group consists of PhDs and Postdocs, and is mentored by female Professors from various Departments of ETH. Together we meet regularly for workshops, topic-related exchanges, or casual after-work socials. Throughout the year we will hold co-created workshops with an expert in sustainable career development.
We want to gain clarity on what a fulfilling career path might look like and to find the courage to go for it. This will involve exploring both our strengths and weaknesses, as well as learning to prioritize our needs to create a more balanced and fulfilling approach to our personal and professional lives.
Moreover, as a peer group we aim to foster a community that openly discusses challenges, seeks advice in difficult situations and actively supports each member.
Contact: Lena Floerl
Managing Expectations for a Successful Career
The primary focus of our group is to pave the way for successful careers, driven by five key objectives: managing expectations, work-life balance, and developing self-promotion, presentation, and writing skills.
For PhD students and PostDocs, managing expectations is crucial due to the unpredictable nature of academic research. Our workshops focus on setting and communicating clear career expectations while providing stress management techniques for improved focus, fulfillment, and mental health. Effective communication plays a vital role, and we strive to enhance our self-marketing skills, presentation abilities, and academic writing expertise.
By managing expectations, improving mental well-being, and honing presentation and writing skills, we aim to elevate our research impact and set the stage for successful careers, whether in industry or academia.
Women's Peer Mentoring Group at WSL
The Women’s Peer Mentoring Group (PMG) is a self-organized group of early-career female scientists at the WSL/SLF. Our aim is to support the career development of our members by promoting skills and networking.
We have a strong network of affirmed female scientist mentors that support us by sharing their insights into a life in research and help us develop important skills, from grant writing to career planning. Additionally, members enhance research skills and competences through peer-based help.
Numerous speakers and coaches are invited throughout the year to stimulate discussions on important questions. The main focus for the year 23/2024 is “How to best deal with decision making and achieve a good work-life balance as a female scientist” with a focus on female aspects of time management (e.g. success, care, fair, conscious of bias).
Last but not least, the PMG provides a platform where we can support each other both emotionally and practically, striving for a healthier work-life-balanced and informed career path choices.