Career Building: Your Ladder to Success (Pilot Program)

Date & Time

Tuesday, 17 May 2016 - 9:00am to Wednesday, 15 June 2016 - 4:00pm


Graduate Student Centre, 6371 Crescent Road, UBC, Point Grey campus


Postdoctoral Fellows Office (PDFO)



How can I make my resumé/CV stand out from the rest? How do I negotiate a salary? How can I make meaningful connections with people who I’d like to work with?

Transitioning from a postdoctoral fellowship to a post-fellowship career can be daunting. In a competitive job market, it is vital to cultivate your brand and develop a strong professional portfolio in order to move into the professional workforce. With non-linear career paths intersecting and leading to changes to your career path, establishing a solid professional portfolio can arm you with transferrable skills that are applicable not just to industry but to multiple careers in a lifetime. The Postdoctoral Fellows Office is pleased to introduce Career Building: Your Ladder to Success, a professional development pilot program designed to assist senior postdocs as they transition to post-fellowship careers by providing support, resources, and networking opportunities. The program leads a small select cohort through a series of professional development workshops and interactive panels, which culminates into individualized one-on-one career coaching with a certified career management specialist. By the end of the pilot program, participants will have learned how to design an independent development plan, put together a professional portfolio, and navigate the interview and negotiation process.

Application is required, and space in the Career Building pilot program is limited. Preference will be given to senior postdocs, and to those postdocs nearing the end of their UBC appointments. Participants must be prepared and able to attend all sessions in full in order to be eligible to participate in the pilot program, and some pre-work will be required. As part of the pilot program, participants will be asked to complete a feedback assessment after each session, as well as a larger assessment of the program upon completion.

Program Curriculum

There will be four mandatory sessions held over a 4 -6 week period as part of the Career Building program. There will also be two annual events that PDFs are encouraged to attend as part of the search process. Unless otherwise noted, all sessions will be held at Thea Koerner House (6371 Crescent Road) on the UBC Point Grey campus. Click on a workshop title for detailed information about each session.


  • All participants must be available to attend all mandatory sessions in full. Participants who do not attend all mandatory sessions in full will not be eligible for the individualized coaching session.   
  • All applicants must hold a current UBC postdoctoral fellowship appointment at the time of application and for the entire duration of the Career Building pilot program.
  • Space is limited in this Career Building pilot program. Preference will be given to senior postdoctoral fellows, or to postdoctoral fellows nearing the end of their UBC appointments.
  • Postdocs who have repeatedly missed PDFO workshops without notice/cancellation may be considered ineligible to attend.


To apply for the Career Building pilot program, please complete the online registration form. Completing the registration form does not guarantee a seat in the pilot program. All applications will be reviewed and applicants will be notified of their application status no later than Friday, April 29, 2016.

Application Deadline: Monday, April 18, 2016.


Please direct any questions to the Postdoctoral Fellows Office by email at

Workshop Descriptions and Facilitator Biographies

Session #1: Starting With You; Clarifying Your Key Strengths, Values and Skills

As a Postdoctoral fellow, you have already been making some key career decisions, and yet this transitional role also calls on you to   explore options that meet your unique requirements for what makes a career worthwhile. Take the time to prepare for what is next in your career by updating and clarifying who you are and what you want.  During this one day program you will have the opportunity to learn with colleagues as you:

  • Explore a framework for self-guided career exploration.
  • Understand the qualities of your top 5 strengths (as identified in the completion of a StrengthsFinder assessment)
  • Understand how you can leverage your strengths to  build your career
  • Clarify work values influencing career choices
  • Identify Transferable Skills that engage your sense of purpose
  • Complete an Action plan that promotes further exploration and action

During this interactive program, through small group exercises, video presentation, and large group discussion, you will have the opportunity to clarify and update key and practical elements to support you and your next career move. The completion of a StrengthsFinder assesment is required in advance of the workshop, and additional information will be provided upon acceptance to the pilot program.

Sally Halliday, Registered Clinical Counsellor

Sally Halliday

Sally is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who holds an MA in Counselling Psychology and additional training in Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Organizational coaching, and career development. She brings her passion for teaching into curriculum development and group facilitation for various audiences and a range of topics including emotional intelligence, interpersonal communication skills in the workplace, group dynamics, and personality assessments. As a former program leader at UBC Continuing Studies, Sally worked collaboratively in the development and delivery of such programs as the UBC Certificate in Organizational Coaching and the UBC Certificate in Peer Counselling.

Maura Da Cruz, Organizational Development and Learning Consultant, UBC Human Resources

Maura Da Cruz

Maura Da Cruz brings extensive experience to her work in organizational development, program design, and leadership development as a Learning Consultant and Certified Coach at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She has successfully facilitated leadership, team effectiveness, strategic planning, and diversity related programs for a wide spectrum of workgroups ranging from managers, leaders in formal and informal positions and front-line staff. Maura is passionate about helping individuals identify their strengths and amplify them so that they can be their best in their work, at home and in their communities. Maura has a background in adult education, holds an MA in Educational Leadership (SDSU) and is an IAC (International Association of Coaches) Master Certified Coach.

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Session #2: Planning for Success at UBC and Beyond: Establishing Your Individual Development Plan

What are you going to be doing 5 years from now? 10 years from now? Next year? One of the first steps in assessing your career options is taking stock of your strengths, identifying your challenges, your likes and dislikes, and finding what motivates you. What career(s) best suit you? How do you get there from here? This presentation will focus on getting you started on establishing and implementing your individual development plan.

Dr. Rachel Fernandez, Associate Dean, Student Professional Development and Postdoctoral Fellows Office and Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, UBC

Rachel Fernandez

Dr. Rachel Fernandez is an Associate Dean in Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies – responsible for the Postdoctoral Fellows Office and graduate student professional development, and a Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

Dr. Fernandez received her B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Dalhousie University. She arrived at UBC after being a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University and at the University of Cincinnati.

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Session #3: Compiling Professional Work Search Documents: Resumes, CVs, Cover Letters, Bios, and Profiles

In the academic world of universities and research institutes, comprehensive Curriculum Vitae (CVs), as well as concise and compelling bios and profiles, are essential job search tools. However, in industry jobs, even in senior positions, the expectation is that your professional resume will be targeted, compelling, and only 2 – 3 pages long. Cover letters, professional profiles, and bios are often required for conference presentations, funding proposals, consulting contracts, social media accounts, websites, and publications.

This practical, hands-on, full day workshop for Postdoctoral Fellows will explore the differences between resumes and CVs, offer tips and strategies for ensuring that your profile or bio stands out and works effectively, and equip you to structure and polish targeted and compelling professional work search documents. Supported by facilitators, in the afternoon participants will begin to compile and organize their resumes and CVs and create sample bios/profiles as templates for future use. Leave equipped to effectively customize your resume, cover letter, bios, and profiles, and maintain a CV of your relevant professional and academic accomplishments. 

Participants will:

  • Be introduced to essential style and structural components of professional resumes and CVs
  • Examine how CVs are uniquely different from resumes
  • Learn strategies for “data-mining” relevant skills/experiences and organizing resumes, CVs, cover letters, bios, and professional profiles to present compelling evidence of fit
  • Explore examples and critically examine their own resumes, CVs, cover letters, bios, and profiles
  • Develop resume, CV, and profile-writing skills through targeting and polishing their own documents

Dr. Roberta Neault, President, Life Strategies Ltd.

Roberta Neault

Dr. Roberta Neault, CCC, GCDF-i, CCDP, is an award-winning leader in the career development sector, in Canada and internationally. She is a published author and international speaker on topics related to career management. Roberta's academic career has involved contract work at 10 universities across Canada, the US, and Asia and she currently serves as Associate Dean of a university in New Brunswick while running her BC-based consulting company. Her extensive experience supporting graduate students, postdocs, managers, executive leaders, and professionals brings unique perspective to crafting professional work search documents.

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Session #4: The Best Candidate Wins: Interview to Job Negotiation Strategies

The Best Candidate Wins: Interview to Job Negotiation Strategies is suited for postdoctoral fellows who are seeking to further their careers in business or industry. The principles and practices can also be applied to academia. 

The Best Candidate Wins is a highly experiential workshop that will build your confidence and help you to:

  • Strategize on ways to get your foot in the door and deliver your pitch or get an interview
  • Practice pitching the value you provide to a potential “employer” in a telephone screening call and informal in-person setting;
  • Prepare for and successfully respond to questions in a simulated interview; and
  • Negotiate your compensation package once you are offered the position.

Dene Rossouw, Principal & Motivational Coach, Possibil

Dene Rossouw

Dene Rossouw is the principal and motivational coach at team Possibil – building influence and inspiring innovation at work. His experience and eclectic background as a preacher, coach, author and photographer provide a rich backdrop for him to speak and coach about the art of inviting possibility, building influence and inspiring innovation through the power of authentic dialogue and compelling storytelling.

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