Foundations of Career Planning Program

How do I get started on the job search path? 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. Establishing a solid professional portfolio can arm you with transferrable skills that are not only applicable to multiple careers in a lifetime, but also to careers both within and outside of the academe.

The Postdoctoral Fellows Office is pleased to introduce Foundations of Career Planning, a three-part workshop program designed to provide postdocs with the support and resources required to establish the foundations of a post-PDF career, whether in academia or in industry. By the end of the program, participants will have developed through self-reflection the foundations needed to structure a development plan, put together a professional portfolio, and navigate the interview and negotiation process.

Advance application in the Foundations program is required, and all participants must be able to attend all sessions in full in order to be eligible to participate. Some pre-work will be required.


program SESSIONS


Session #1: Starting With You: Clarifying Your Key Strengths, Values and Skills and your Personalized Development Framework

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 CliftonStrengths assessment is required in advance of the workshop, and additional information will be provided upon acceptance to the pilot program.


Pre-work is required for this session, and will be distributed by the PDFO in advance of the workshop date. The pre-work will be due by Friday, August 31, 2018.


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.

Session #2: 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 session is comprised of three webinars and culminates in a 30-minute individual coaching session for each participant. Participants must attend webinar #1 and one of webinar #2 or webinar #3 in order to be eligible to attend. Participants may attend all three webinars. 

Webinar #1: Self-Branding and Preparing Work Search Documents (MANDATORY)

Compiling professional work search documents is an essential step in your career journey. As a highly-educated Postdoctoral Fellow, although you have extensive experience writing academic/technical documents, you may have limited experience writing work search documents. Effectively communicating your expertise and value to potential employers can be a difficult task, even for the most seasoned writers. This webinar will help you refine strategies for presenting yourself well in traditional work search documents (e.g., resume/CV, cover letters), as well as in professional profiles, bios, funding proposals, and social media.

Length: 90 minutes

Pre-Work Requirements: Gather samples of where your “brand” is presented including resumes, CVs, professional bios, websites, social media, etc.

Webinar #2: Crafting Compelling Resumes for Non-Academic, Industry Positions 

The resume remains a commonly requested document during the application process, used by employers to assess your fit for a specific position and the overall organization. Unlike an academic CV, the expectation is that your professional resume will be customized for the industry, employer, and specific position for which you are applying. Compelling, targeted resumes quickly and concisely express your value and expertise; generic resumes get lost in the shuffle. This webinar will dive deeper into crafting compelling resumes for industry positions. Leave equipped to effectively communicate relevant accomplishments, customize your resume for a specific position or sector, and maintain a “master” resume for future use. 

Length: 90 minutes

Pre-Work Requirements: Search online for 1-2 samples of resumes, identifying what appeals to you and what doesn’t. Begin to think about what content you’d like to include in your resume. If you currently have a resume, please ensure you have a copy available to reference throughout the webinar.

WEBINAR #3: Composing Your CV for Academic Positions 

Your Academic CV, or “life story,” is a running list of all your academic accomplishments including education, licenses, fellowships, grants, professional service, presentations, publications, courses developed and taught, theses supervised, and other relevant data. Having an accurate, up-to-date CV prepared will enable you to quickly apply for academic positions. Over time, your CV will continue to grow in length and complexity; however, subtle organizational/design elements can support readability. This webinar will discuss the essential considerations for your CV and also review the Canadian Common CV system. Participants should leave this session feeling better equipped to build and maintain their CVs.

Length: 90 minutes

Pre-Work Requirements: Search online for 1-2 samples of CVs, identifying what appeals to you and what doesn’t. Begin to think about what content you’d like to include in your CV.  If you currently have a CV or Canadian Common CV (CCV), please ensure you have a copy available to reference throughout the webinar.

In-Person Session: Individual Coaching

This practical, hands-on session for Postdoctoral Fellows will build on the webinar series to provide targeted coaching for crafting professional resumes, compiling academic CVs, and/or developing other relevant work search documents (e.g., cover letters, social media profiles, bios). This is a working session requiring you to come prepared with your “master” resume, targeted resume, CV, and/or bios or profiles, and at least one specific job description or posting in mind. 

Length: Scheduled individual ½ hour sessions

Pre-Work Requirements: Pull together your “master” resume, targeted resume, CV, and/or bios or profiles, and identify at least one job description, posting, or advertisement that interests you. Come to the session with 2-3 specific questions or areas to focus on with the coach.


Dr. Roberta Neault, President, Life Strategies Ltd.

Dr. 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.

Cassie Taylor

Cassie Taylor has 10 years of experience within the career development sector, playing a wide variety of roles. As the Manager of Life Strategies Ltd., an organization specializing in career development, Cassie oversees consulting, training, assessment, and coaching services for diverse clients including individuals and organizations. For the past few years, Cassie has been assisting Post-Doctoral fellows at UBC with preparing and targeting their resumes, CVs, cover letters, bios, and social media profiles through professional development workshops hosted by the PDFO.

Session #3: 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.

Pre-work is required for this session, and will be distributed by the PDFO in advance of the workshop date. The pre-work will be due by Monday, October 29, 2018.


Dene Rossouw, Principal & Learning Coach,

Dene Rossouw

Dene Rossouw is the principal and learning 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.


eligibility requirements

  • All participants must be available to attend all sessions in full.
  • All applicants must hold a current UBC postdoctoral fellowship appointment at the time of application and for the entire duration of the Foundations program.
  • Postdocs who have repeatedly missed PDFO workshops without notice/cancellation may be considered ineligible to attend.


Dates for the next session of Foundations of Career Planning are as follows:

  • Session #1: Starting With You: Clarifying Your Key Strengths, Values and Skills and your Personalized Development Framework   
    • Friday, September 14, 2018, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM 
  • Session #2: Compiling Professional Work Search Documents: Resumes, CVs, Cover Letters, Bios, and Profiles
    • Webinar #1: Self-Branding and Preparing Work Search Documents  
      • Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
    • Webinar #2: Crafting Compelling Resumes for Non-Academic Industry Positions
      • Thursday, October 11, 2018, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM 
    • Webinar #3: Composing Your CV for Academic Positions
      • Thursday, October 11, 2018, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
    • Individual Coaching
      • Thursday, October 18, 2018, 30-minute appointments 
  • Session #3: The Best Candidate Wins: Interview to Job Negotiation Strategies
    • Wednesday, October 31, 2018, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 


Application in the fall 2018 run of the Foundations of Career Planning Program is required, and the application period is now closed. We expect to notify all applicants of whether they have been accepted to the program by late July/early August 2018.

Space in the Foundations program is limited, and completing the application form does not guarantee a seat in the program. 


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