Career Development Committee Co-Chairs Discuss Career Fair

The ASHG Virtual Career Fair will be taking place February 17 from 10 AM- 3 PM Eastern. The Career Fair, which will include more than 18 exhibiting companies, will be an opportunity for those interested in human genetics and genomics to connect with prospective employers, colleagues, and mentors regardless of career stage. We recently spoke with Career Development Committee co-chairs, Emily Davenport, PhD and Saumya Sisoudiya to discuss what attendees can look forward to at the Career Fair and how they plan to take advantage of the resources there.

ASHG: Can you explain what an event like this can offer you no matter what career stage you are at?

Emily: An event like the ASHG Virtual Career Fair offers so many different resources, no matter what career stage you’re at. If you’re early in your career, it gives you a chance to network with recruiters and peers in jobs you’re interested in. You can learn what skills you might want to focus on gaining before you hit the job market. If you’re progressing in your career, you can take advantage of the career development coaches to improve your resume or work on interview skills. If you are further in your career, you can use this event to find rising talent for your lab or company. You never know when and where you might meet someone who can influence your career path for the better.

Saumya: Career fairs like this are highly useful, because you can go around and meet recruiters from so many different companies/academic labs, all under one “virtual” roof. That kind of a networking opportunity is very unique and helps builds so many different connections that you can continue following up on after the event. I think everyone should take advantage of that.

ASHG: Do you have any specific goals associated with the ASHG Virtual Career Fair and what are you hoping those that do attend will get out of it?

Emily: My specific goals are to hopefully recruit some budding PhD students and postdocs to my lab! With the annual meeting being virtual this year, I didn’t get a great chance to network with people like I normally do. I’m also hoping more broadly that people will take the opportunity to shake up their normal routines and focus on their larger career goals. Sometimes we can be so focused on getting the next thing done, and I find sometimes having an excuse to reflect on long term goals and set some new ones is necessary.

Saumya: I will try to expand my network by talking to a variety of recruiters and I am looking forward to speaking with one of the career coaches (Tracy Costello and Melanie Sinche) at the event to review my CV and get interview tips, etc. I hope attendees take advantage of having one-on-one time with the career coaches not just to review their CVs but also for career counseling.

ASHG: As a member of ASHG and part of our Career Development Committee, can you describe the value of attending and having access to professional development related programing or events like this one?

Emily: Events like these are critical, especially now. With all of us hunkering down at home, not traveling to conferences, and not being able to take part in workshops, it’s really challenging to expand our networks or get familiar with what job opportunities are available. While many institutions might offer some of these resources locally, it’s really valuable to hear perspectives from people all over the country and in a variety of positions about what their careers are like and how they got them.

Saumya: As a graduate student, I find such events to be highly valuable and I am grateful to be a part of a society where a lot of attention is paid to providing such resources. I spend most of my time in the lab figuring out experiments and the availability of such events is very encouraging. It helps me motivate myself to get help in figuring out my overall career goals.

Don’t miss out on the ASHG Virtual Career Fair! Make sure to register to reserve your spot now. We hope to see you there!

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