Are there any graduate schemes for people new to #scicomm jobs? What advice would you give them?

I've been asked about graduate schemes and other entry-level opportunities for those new to #scicomm. It's fairly rare to come across a job that doesn't ask for at least a year's experience and I have to admit that I know very little indeed about the whole world of graduate schemery. @LouisSH pointed me to Cancer Research UK's graduate scheme (I'm a bit redfaced that I'd worked in medical research charity science communication without ever coming across this!) and I wondered if there are any others?

What would you suggest to someone who's recently graduated but doesn't have the necessary experience, in a market which isn't exactly selecting for lack of experience?

I suppose a lot will depend on what field you want to go in. For me, I do mostly office-based types of science communication – I expect I could probably turn my hand to working in almost any type of office. Would a year of working in, say, an estate agents help someone if they were trying to get a job as a policy officer in a scientific learned society?

There are all sorts of useful transferable skills… working in teams, knowing how photocopier scanners work, learning the way a company 'speaks', all sorts of stuff …but I don't know if random sideways moves to get experience is the right thing to suggest to people. And of course this might be useless advice for someone hoping to work in the museums / science centres or science writing / journalism sectors.

Unpaid internships will probably still be with us for a little while longer – the only thing in their favour is that they offer pretty relevant experience but this is offset by the fact that they are a bit elitist: they don't pay people for the work they do and they exclude anyone who can't already afford to finance themselves for a few months. Paid internships are a better version of this of course.

The Naturejobs blog is apparently going to run a series on internships so keep an eye on them.

I had a look on Google and found a couple of pages with information about careers in science beyond research and development (R&D), which includes but isn't limited to, science communication: "Your job search strategy will obviously vary according to the role. Familiarise yourself with some of the major employers, and find out their usual patterns of recruitment or if they have a graduate scheme. However, there are not many graduate training schemes in many of these areas. In science communication and science policy, for example, your network of contacts and work experience will be the most useful. It is often worth making speculative applications."

See also:

Networking's always good advice – but what else?

Merry Christmas from @ScicommJobs 🙂


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