DHHS, NIH News  
NIH Office of the Director (OD)

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Contact: Office of Education
Office of Intramural Research
Brenda Hanning

NIH Launches Virtual Career Center Web Site
New web site enables users to explore employment options and career development opportunities in the health sciences

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a new Virtual Career Center (http://www.training.nih.gov/careers/careercenter/index.html), developed by the intramural Office of Education (OE). It is designed to meet the needs of the NIH community as well as students and professionals in science and medicine, from the college level to postdoctoral and beyond. The Virtual Career Center is arranged into four major areas of interest for individuals seeking information on careers and employment: exploring career options, continuing education, employment options and opportunities, and the job search process. The site is highly selective, guiding users to a range of resources on the web.

“Whether you are at the very beginning, trying to define your interests or translate an academic major into a career," says Michael M. Gottesman, M.D., Deputy Director for Intramural Research, "or in the final stages of negotiating competing job offers, this website will put timely, helpful guidance at the tip of your mouse.”

The Virtual Career Center is comprehensive with 55 pages and 1,088 links. The site also allows for a quick focus on areas that meet the user’s particular needs. So whether a visitor to the site is contemplating a career in health sciences or already engaged in the field and looking for additional opportunities for funding and training, he will quickly and easily find useful information. The site was developed with the NIH community in mind, but the plethora of information found in the Virtual Career Center is also available to all who wish to visit the site.

“The range of career options open to young scientists is broad and continually evolving," says Brenda R. Hanning, Acting Director, NIH Office of Education. "Many of the jobs students will have in the future may not have been invented yet. Our site will work to keep pace with new avenues of opportunity.”

The “Exploring Career Options” section enables users to explore their interests through self-assessment mechanisms, discover careers and pathways, and learn important career skills such as writing grants and publishing articles. The section entitled “Continuing Your Education” provides information on admissions, application services, financial aid, loan repayment, grants, fellowships, education survival skills, and medical schools and other professional programs. Information on conducting employment searches and learning about opportunities available in industry, academe, and government are found in the “Employment Options and Opportunities” section. Last, important skills to be used for applying, interviewing, and negotiating for a position are found in the “Job Search Process” section. Realizing that each user will have specific needs and come from different backgrounds, each section can be searched independently and includes related links that will provide additional information on particular areas of interest to the user.

“The massive amounts of information about medical and science careers can be overwhelming to anyone — novice or expert," says Gottesman. "What makes the Virtual Career Center such a valuable resource is that we have the most up-to-date information available on one web site.”

Sources of information reviewed for inclusion in the OE’s Virtual Career Center included articles and postings from leading science magazines and journals, specialty associations, and government agencies. To develop the most efficient and useful website possible, the OE worked with Margaret F. Dikel, a librarian who has been studying the internet as a tool in employment and career exploration since 1993. For more information on career development, go to http://www.rileyguide.com.

The Office of Education (OE) administers a variety of programs and initiatives to recruit and develop individuals who participate in research training activities on the NIH's main campus in Bethesda, Maryland, as well as other facilities around the country. These activities range from internships at the pre-college level through postdoctoral, clinical fellowships, and continuing medical education. The OE is in the Office of Intramural Research, Office of Director, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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