Course Syllabus


Instructor: Joe Bucher, School of Medicine Career Center
Faculty Sponsor: Sheri Krams, Associate Professor of Surgery
Course web site:
Date and Location: Thursdays, 5:00-7:00pm, MSOB 303
January 14-February 25, 2016

Course Details

Overview –

The Career Exploration Opportunities (CEO) Program managed through the School of Medicine Career Center (SoMCC) highlights a broad range of areas outside of academia where scientists currently make significant contributions to research, business, policy, stewardship, and more.  This course offers career exploration tools and exercises to help trainees clarify academic and professional priorities. Trainees will be empowered to take charge of their career of choice options through hands-on experiences, which fit their skills, interests, and values. After completing this course, trainees will receive ongoing support from SoMCC Counselors.

Trainees will develop a job search plan, resume/cv, cover letter, learn networking skills, and develop skills related to interviewing.


Trainees who have completed this course will have the opportunity to:

  • Complete the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • Receive feedback and information on a resume/cv
  • Identify targets for informational interviews
  • Document career goals and timelines

Anticipated Learning Outcomes –

  • To assist School of Medicine (SoM) trainees better define and communicate their professional interests and goals;
  • To provide resources and techniques for seeking out and finding fields and organizations which best fit those goals;
  • To develop the materials and skills necessary to successfully transition to an internship or career in their chosen setting;
  • To assist SoM graduate students in developing a professional network including a mentor tailored to trainee interests.

Grading Rubric and Participant Requirements-

  • This seminar is offered for 1 credit to SoM graduate students, after they have passed their qualifying exams; TGR students and Postdocs may audit;
  • Participants are graded on a C/NC basis according to attendance, which is required for all sessions; participants will be permitted to miss one class and make up content through a one on one session with an SoMCC counselor;


Course Outline


Session 1 (January 14) –Transforming Experience into Future Opportunities Instructor: Joe Bucher, Assistant Director, School of Medicine Career Center

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Overview of course requirements and goals; introduction to Career of Choice Development Model;
  • Trainee best practices from CEO Program Alumni;
  • Creating goals for professional and academic success;
  • MBTI: Resources for exploring career of choice and internship possibilities.


Assignment: Start development of “Career Goals” poster outlining timeline for meeting goals in the areas of: Professional skills, academic skills, and career advancement.



Uncover your ideal job with informational interviews

The Truth About Myers-Briggs and Your Job Search


Session 2 (January 21) The value of your training: transferring your skills Instructors: Joe Bucher, Assistant Director, School of Medicine Career Center; Anett Gyurak, PhD, Facebook

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Opportunities to apply academic learning, learn new skills, and network with professionals;
  • Discussion of the importance of showing fit between personal skills, interests, and values and those with organizations/companies of choice;
  • Highlighting your skills via resume/cv.
  • Networking: Utilizing informational interviewing techniques.


  1. Complete “Career Goals” Poster, to be used in Session 3 on January 28th.
  2. Identification of 3 companies/organizations within career of choice and potential targets for informational interviews.


  1. The biggest mistakes I see on resumes and how to correct them, Part 2
  1. Developing transferable skills in science training 


Session 3 (January 28) – Fine-tuning academic and professional goals and plans. Instructor: Joe Bucher, Assistant Director, School of Medicine Career Center; Stanford Alumni and professionals matched to the interests of participants.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Exploration of the content (sector-specific, technical) and transferable skills most desired in various sectors and the way in which academic and professional trainings integrate with each other;

Due: Poster presentation outlining goals in the areas of: professional skills, academic skills, and career advancement.

Assignments for next week:

  1. Create a minimum of 3 questions for each informational interview target.
  2. Update your goals with feedback garnered from industry mentor.
  3. Update your most recent resume/cv and bring to session 4. Bring a specific job description if possible.


5 Ways to Shake Off Your Job Interview Anxiety

Optional video:

Your body language shapes who you are


Session 4 (February 4) Telling your story: Improvisation Techniques in Interviews and the Workplace

Instructors:  Joe Bucher, Assistant Director, Stanford School of Medicine Career Center; Annelies Ransome, Associate Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Stanford University.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Overview of interview scope and process within various fields;
  • Management communications strategies that will help you hone and sell your professional image;
  • Using the techniques of improvisation comedy to manage the surprises which may come up in interviews;
  • Overcoming interview fears and addressing ways to avoid common mistakes.

Due: 1.  Identification of 3 companies/organizations within career of choice or 3 potential targets for informational interviews with 3 informational interview questions.

2.Draft of your resume/cv (include a job description if applying for a specific job)


  1. Schedule at least one informational interview.
  2. Complete a draft of your most up to date cover letter.


“My Personal Formula for a Winning Resume”

“Why you can’t get the job, recruiting explained by the numbers” 


Session 5 (February 11) Negotiating and creating your professional network

Instructors: Joe Bucher, Assistant Director, School of Medicine Career Center, Polly Fordyce, Assistant Professor, Genetics, Stanford University.

  • Communicating career of choice interests and career/internship plans to advisors;
  • Developing strategies to communicate fit through interest statements and cover letters;
  • The role of mentors in developing your career goals; creating partnerships with them and laying the foundation for long-term relationships.


  1. Scheduled informational interview.
  2. Draft of cover letter.

Assignment: Incorporate feedback from CV/resume and cover letter.


Session 6 (February 18) – Branding: Telling your story

Instructors: Joe Bucher, Assistant Director, School of Medicine Career Center;

Jessica Kao, Senior Manager, Demand Generation and Marketing Operations, Guidespark

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Understanding and managing your personal “brand”;
  • Appropriate use and leveraging of online networking tools; how hiring managers use these tools;
  • The importance of developing extensive professional networks in a global economy, regardless of market conditions.


Assignment 1: Complete a one-to-one counseling session by March 4, 2016

Assignment 2: Complete program survey by March 4, 2016

Assignment 3 (optional): Begin to develop a LinkedIn profile and show it to a class partner for feedback; “LinkIn” with Joe.


SESSION 7 (February 25) –Individualized counseling sessions by appointment

Trainees will schedule a one-to-one career counseling meeting to discuss topics including but not limited to:

  • Discussion of future job/internship plans, deadlines, and strategy;
  • Individualized attention to all documentation related to taking a leave of absence in pursuit of an internship/job opportunity;
  • Clarification of skills, values, interests and personality preference in relation to internship pursuit;
  • Feedback on the search process including: documentation review, mock interview, or discussing future career plans with your PI/Advisor.

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