Career Compass: How to set the direction of your professional development

12 November & 8 December 2021

Venue: University of Neuchâtel, with COVID certificate



This experiential workshop supports PhDs through the essential stages of designing their future careers. They will gain a deeper understanding of who they are, what matters to them, and how to translate their scientific prowess, high self-motivation and academic experience into a meaningful and rewarding career. As a result of this workshop, participants will walk away with a higher sense of self-awareness and clarity on what they want, they will feel more confident in their ability to make a change, more motivated to get into action, and clearer about how to do so.

While some young professionals have known exactly what they want to do in their professional life since their childhood, others have been less clear about this question. Others again, realize that they might have to consider alternative career paths. This is a workshop to “return to your base” and to build a career from “inside out”: what are my (sometimes silent) dreams deep motivators, what makes me unique and what are my values, what is the impact I have on others, what are my strength and skills - are questions that people need to explore if they wish to embark on a meaningful and rewarding career.


In this workshop, PhD students learn to build a career from “inside out”: starting from their dreams and motivations, the values they hold, their inner strengths and skills, they gain insights into what it is that makes them unique; they recognise the power of relationships and their unique impact on them; mobilise this new self-awareness to create a personal and professional vision for themselves; and apply powerful tools as they make their first practical steps on their career paths.

Under the guidance of an experienced Workshop Leader participants will work amongst other on the following topics:

  • Knowing yourself: To build a sound basis for a systematic career development, participants gain insights on what makes them unique and connect to what matters most to them.
  • Envisioning yourself: Participants create a concrete personal and professional vision for themselves.
  • Making an impact: After connecting to their inner motivational resources, participants will work on their impact.
  • Rebounding quickly: Participants will discover how to deal with challenges and setbacks.


The methods used in the workshop are highly interactive and participant driven. They combine personal work, experiential learning exercises, dialogue, facilitated work in groups of varying size, co-creation, and reflection.

Participants may be asked to read several texts, watch videos, or respond to a short survey in preparation of the course.

We create a uniquely open and trustful atmosphere in our workshops, where participants are encouraged to openly share their experiences, to learn from each other, and to support each other in a benevolent manner.

Learning proceeds on three levels: (1) We provide a theoretical overview. (2) Participants go through powerful experiences in individual and group exercises, which are discussed and debriefed together in a safe environment. (3) Finally, by reflecting together, participants draw lessons from the interaction process in the class, increasing self-awareness and learning about good practices.

Participants are encouraged to bring and share their own knowledge and experience. At the begininig of the workshop, we create a trustful and supportive atmosphere, in which participants will feel safe and comfortable to contribute what they already know about the subject.

At the end of the workshop, participants will design individual work plans to implement what they have learned and to keep developing their skills in the time after the event.

General information

Dates:  Friday 12 November & Wednesday 8 December 2021 (2 days)

Schedule: 09.00 - 17.00

Venue: University of Neuchâtel, Faculté des sciences, room TBA

Please note that a valid COVID certificate is required to attend the activity.

Credit points: 1.0 ECTS (Communication)

Evaluation: Active participation (both days)

Information: Please contact the doctoral program coordinators

Meals: no meals expenses reimbursement

Travel expenses: For participants of the Doctoral Program in Organismal biology. Please send original train tickets (half-fare, 2nd class) with the reimbursement form to the doctoral program coordinators. For more information see the travel expenses reimbursement section


  • This course is open to all Ph.D students. However, until 31 October 2021 priority is given to "Interuniversity doctoral program in Organismal Biology"  participants.
  • Post-docs are welcome if places are still available.
  • Minimum number of participants: 10, maximum: 16. 
  • This course is free, but the effective cost is approx. CHF 200.00 per person. Therefore, a waiting list will be prepared to ensure that there are no empty seats.

Registration: through the web only: OPEN HERE Please note that a valid COVID certificate is required to attend the activity.

Cancellation deadline: cancellation policy (CHF 100) if you cancel your registration after 31 October 2021.