About me

Sarah Blackford is an internationally recognised career consultant with 25 years’ experience working in the field of Higher Education career development. Qualified with a master’s degree in career education and guidance in Higher Education (MA CIEGHE, Warwick University) and author of the book, ‘Career planning for research bioscientists‘, Sarah’s consultancy offers career guidance and coaching to students, researchers and academics looking for professional assistance with their careers, whether it’s planning for a career move, considering career options or improving professional performance.

A registered member of the Career Development Institute (CDI) and Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), all of her training is conducted within a professional and ethical code of practice.  Through individualized career guidance interviews (usually one-hour) in person or via Skype, or bespoke career development courses, usually ranging in length from 0.5 to 3 days, Sarah offers the opportunity for personal and professional reflection, career planning and management with the aim of helping people to move forward and take positive action. Training is conducted primarily in European universities and research institutes in discussion with the development manager or academic host, with all courses underpinned by recognised career theory.

Career development courses cover a range of topics (see ‘Career Services‘ for a full list) including the following:

  • Job-seeking strategies for non-academic careers including increasing familiarity with the non-academic career sector, understanding what employers want and what you have to offer as well as how to find and secure a position.
  • How to make informed decisions about your next career transition and career choice.
  • Enhancing self-awareness: professional and personal skills analysis; personality [I am a qualified MBTI practitioner (Steps I and II); work values; considering other career decision influences].
  • Effective networking, self-presentation and communication skills;
  • How to write a CV and cover letter for different types of jobs and roles.
  • Successful interview technique, including the purpose and types of interviews, how to respond to questions in an impactful way with plenty of opportunity for practice and peer learning.

Additional training topics include academic mobility, negotiation, time management and work: life balance and other “in-role” career development.

For more information and to discuss training opportunities contact me at: sarah@biosciencecareers.org

Background

Having started my career in research at York University, followed by five years in scientific publishing, I switched career paths into careers advisory work in Higher Education working as a careers adviser at Lancaster and Leeds University Career Services. Between 1998 and 2017, I worked as the head of education and  public affairs for a scientific learned society where I was responsible for education, policy, science communication and career development. Duuring this time, I built up a wealth of knowledge and expertise, delivering career workshops and offering coaching and guidance primarily to PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. Most of my work is carried out in universities and institutes in Europe with occasional trips further afield and, of course, Skype enables me to offer one-to-one careers advisory sessions worldwide.

Co-founder of the network Careers Advisers supporting Researchers in Europe (CARE), with Dr Barbara Janssens (DKFZ, Heidelberg) I’ve also published several research papers and am the author of the self-help book, ‘Career Planning for Research Bioscientists’. Much of my advice and resources are available on this blog and you can also view my profile on LinkedIn and Researchgate.

sarah@biosciencecareers.org

MY LOGO

My logo is the picture on the front cover of my book and is an image very kindly gifted to me by photographer, Tom Donald. This bird, flapping hard and just in the process of taking off, I thought represents a great metaphor for the work we put in to get our careers off the ground and flying !

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