Young Professionals’ Corner

Investing In Your Own Career

Anastasiya Voitsik
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Rutgers/Sanofi

Investing In Your Own Career

Anastasiya Voitsik
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Rutgers/Sanofi


hen you hear about investing, you may think about savings and stock accounts. But when it comes to investing in your career, the focus may shift to education, including degrees, didactic courses, certifications, and trainings. To ensure that I would be professionally competitive after graduation, I completed a biomedical research technician training program, obtained a dual doctorate and master’s degree, and received basic life support training. These opportunities certainly helped prepare me for my career. But other opportunities with lower or even no cost have invested just as much if not more into my life.

These daily tips can help you excel in your career and keep you on track toward reaching your goals without breaking your budget.

Create Useful Habits

Habits enable you to achieve a goal without an obvious a big change because you work toward achieving it steadily overtime. Some studies suggest that one can form a habit in just 21 days; others propose that it takes longer, about 66 days; the time will vary for each individual. Forming helpful habits may come more naturally to those who like to plan ahead compared to those who act impulsively. Regardless, it is good to introduce only one habit at a time.

It is important to identify which habits will be helpful for your career. Start by crafting long-term annual goals, and then begin each day by creating a to-do list that will help you get closer to achieving your goals. Reflect daily and track your progress to ensure you are moving in the right direction. Try to focus the first hour or two of your day on high-priority tasks; early morning hours tend to have fewer distractions and interruptions that appear as the day progresses. End your day with positive reinforcement by recording your “daily wins,” one of which (ideally) should relate to your big annual goal. This technique will help motivate you to accomplish at least a few important things each day. Remember to always leave time for reflection, to look for gaps and room for improvement.

I use a personal log journal that prompts me every night to spend time planning for the next day. This allows me to enjoy a good night’s sleep and gives me a head start in the morning. I also spend a significant amount of time on Friday tracking my accomplishments for the week. I send this log journal to my preceptor and keep it for my records to keep myself accountable.

Invest in Your Network

Start by attending local events. Even if they are not related to your profession, meeting new people can provide new and unexpected insights. There are many web platforms, such as or Ten Thousand Coffees, to help you find these local events. Another option is to attend Alumni Association Events organized by a local college or university, or charity events that take place in museums, auctions, or other venues. Remember to send a thank-you or follow-up note to someone who shared advice with you during a conversation. While the goal of networking is to meet new people, it is just as important to stay in touch with all your existing contacts.

Networking can help you find a mentor. Your mentor should be someone approachable and willing to guide you throughout your career. Make it a habit to check back with your mentor on a regular basis and don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek advice. Ask for day to day feedback (about a specific presentation, email, meeting, etc.) if you work together, as well as for big picture feedback after achieving major milestones.

Subscribe to Podcasts

Many knowledgeable people provide free and convenient advice that you can access at any time. Podcasts can allow you to learn new skills, acquire new ideas, prepare you for networking events, and much more.

Listen to Yourself

The ability to implement these changes is all in your hands. You can form new habits through focus and personal accountability. These tips are only first steps; be prepared for additional work and sometimes even sacrifice. Remember your end goal with every “next step,” and continuously reflect on your “previous steps” to identify recurring patterns and gaps. Take the time you need to listen to yourself, and you will discover factors that inspire you to move in the right direction every day.