Report from the Diverse Careers Workshop 2023

This is a guest post by the organisers of the workshop, Dr. Steve Doo, formerly a postdoc at MfN Berlin (now at University of Hawaii), and Dr. Henry Wu, postdoc at ZMT Bremen. Here you can find their previous post that we published last fall before the workshop.

On 7th and 8th December 2023, the Leibniz PostDoc Network, in conjunction with support from the Leibniz Association, held an event entitled Leibniz Explorations: Diverse Careers. In total, 32 Leibniz Postdoctoral Researchers from around Germany attended this event from all disciplines. This event was initiated in response to the perceived need for hands-on approaches to help early career researchers pivot from careers in traditional academia. Over a two day period, we hosted four speakers and trainers to spark the journey toward Diverse Careers. 

Dr. Anne Schreiter (GSO)

On Day 1, we welcomed Dr. Anne Schreiter from the German Scholars Organization, who presented a broad overview of the landscape of diverse careers. In her lecture, Dr. Schreiter spoke of the importance of “setting yourself up for lucky coincidences.” These career strategies include positioning yourself by identifying what you are good at, refining your message to target audiences, increasing your visibility to the right people, building a strong network, and crafting a great application. Lastly, Dr. Schreiter highlighted the importance of self- reflection, and being proactive about starting and refining your career planning steps. 

We then welcomed Dr. Lina Yassin who spoke on Transferable Skills in an Academic Jungle Gym. Dr. Yassin shared her experiences of navigating a diverse career jungle gym, and led the workshop in a series of self-reflection exercises to help participants get to know themselves better. We participated in creative exercises on how to “think out of the box” in terms of how to transfer our skills into new positions. We reflected on this circular cycle of Learning, Building, and Measuring that is required to grow in our career journeys. 

Dr. Lina Yassin (CGIAR)

After the formal workshop events on Day 1, a group of participants met up at the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market for an evening of festivities and networking. 

On Day 2, the participants had a choice between two workshops to attend.

The first was led by Dr. Sabine Müller, who gave workshop participants a brief overview of the Business Model You canvas. We started off by identifying some of the challenges we face when planning our careers. We then took time to map out our life milestones including professional and private “highs” and “lows,” identifying some of the overall themes of what we value in life. We then started to map out a potential new career by working with the Business Model You canvas, and identifying key partners, activities, and how we would add value. Dr. Müller highlighted the importance of self-reflection and feedback from peers, as well as revising and testing the canvas to refine a new business approach. 

Dr. Sabine Müller (

Concurrently, we welcomed Constance Böhme, who gave personal branding and networking workshop. The workshop started by highlighting how we can only seize opportunities if we hear about them. We reflected on what we wanted in a job, what we can do with our skill set, where we want to go, and how we want to be perceived. In professional networking apple, there was discussion on what to include in job profiles, and how to make them stand out. Participants worked on their 30-second elevator pitch, and their profile tagline to highlight the values they bring to a job. Lastly, building networks in looking for jobs was emphasized. 

Overall, the Leibniz Postdocs in attendance expressed positive feedback on the format and content of the event. As organizers, we are grateful for the support of Dr. Marvin Bähr (Leibniz HQ), Dr. Marta Ferreira Gomes (former Leibniz PostDoc Network Spokesperson), Dr. Johanna Callhoff (Leibniz PostDoc Steering Committee Member), and Dr. Mine Altinli (Leibniz PostDoc Network Spokesperson), for their contributions in organizing this event. We are also thankful for the four speakers and trainers who led our event, and appreciate their time invested in developing these targeted trainings for us. We hope this event will spark new ideas for creative employment opportunities! 

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