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Cornell University

Resources for Mentorship and Advice

Before you start: do some self exploration and information inventory of careers beyond academia that might be a good fit for your skills and interests. Not sure what skills you acquired during your PhD that are transferrable? Consult the Grad SkillScan table to find out. Use this handy guide by Graduate Career Services and consult their career guide for example CVs and resumes. Many educational and practical offerings are scheduled at the graduate school to address essential core competencies. If you are in a STEM field we highly recommend you complete the ScienceCareers my IDP and read this Molecular Cell paper on how to discuss your IDP with your advisor. Have you not yet chosen a PhD advisor? An ASBMB writer shares some advice and how to avoid the most common pitfalls.

Additional online sites can help with this phase of career exploration:

  • Versatile Ph.D. includes a library of interviews about careers beyond academia, career panels, discussion groups and networking opportunities
  • Ph.D. Career Guide helps you decide which career path would be most rewarding, based on your professional interests and career goals
  • Branching Points filled with informational interviews about non-academic career possibilities
  • Beyond Academe encourages all historians to participate in the public sphere

Program recruits can connect with a mutually agreeable BEST mentor from the field of their career aspiration who will meet with trainees regularly and help them navigate the program and succeed in their career of choice. Please make an appointment with BEST Program staff if you would either like to serve as a mentor or seek one. BESTies are free to connect with any of the publicly listed mentors under each track that we support, in policy; communication; industry, entrepreneurship & management; and governance, risk, & compliance.  Please note that these lists represent a small fraction of mentors with whom we can connect you based on your individual needs. We have access to many graduate school alumni, can conduct targeted searches via our Premium LinkedIn subscription and can request assistance from alumni affairs and development (AAD) at Cornell.


Here are some helpful resources for mentors and mentees throughout the phases of mentoring: selection, alignment, cultivation and closure.

Pathways to Science has specific mentoring guidelines for grads and postdocs

Download the Science Careers 2015 Career Handbook.

Postdoctoral Mentoring - some guidelines from the National Postdoctoral Association

Nature's Guide for Mentors: having a good mentor early in your career can been the difference between success and failure in any field. Look for enthusiasm, sensitivity, respect, unselfishness, appreciation of individual differences, support for other than one's own, availability, teaching and communication abilities.

Mentoring: A Guide for Faculty and Guide for Grad Students by the University of Washington

Mentoring Guidelines for Faculty from the University of Michigan


Emerging network of resources for exploring paths beyond academia in Nature Biotechnology (see the supplemental information tables! Nature Biotechnology 33, 775-778doi:10.1038/nbt.3282)

Cornell's EMPower (Engineering Mentoring Partnerships) Peer Mentor & Protégé Handbook

Graduate & Professional Women's Network- President's Council of Cornell Women (GPWN-PCCW) Speaker Series


"Unbecoming: Leadership Thinking for a New Era" with Young Mi Park
"How could you possibly derail your career?" with Cynthia Cuffie
"Curiosity: the language of high performance" with Janet Gerhard


"GENgagement(tm) Strategies for Mastering Intergenerational Challenges in Academia & Beyond" with Phyllis Weiss Haserot
"Breaking Barriers to Women's Advancement: Lessons from the Front Lines" with Beth Horowitz
"Women's Leadership and the Imposter Syndrome" with Julie Kumble
"Having it All? Work-Life "Balance" and How to Strategize for Success" with Beth Livingston
"Negotiating Skills in the Workplace" with Jill Gross