Career Tip: Develop the Essential Skills that Employers Are Looking For

Aug 27, 2018

Whether it’s building relationships across your workplace or acquiring cutting-edge new skills in the lab, develop the attributes that will help you gain visibility and advance your career. Hear from an ASCP pathologist and a laboratory professional about how they developed valuable qualities that helped them to progress in their careers.


“As a practicing pathologist for seven years, I have come to realize that (almost) all advice is good advice if you evaluate it, decide whether it works for you, and then either integrate into your being or set it aside. Sometimes, advice may seem obvious to you, but I assure you it isn’t obvious to everyone. And sometimes you will fail at following your own advice, and that’s okay—it happens to everyone. If you hit a bump, take a deep breath, phone a friend, etc., and move forward. Having collected plenty of advice myself along the way, my top piece of advice is that first impressions really do matter. Smile when you meet new people. Smile at random people at work and conferences. Even if you don’t know them, it’s always a good idea, trust me. I propose you even take it a step further and introduce yourself to everyone: staff, custodians, anyone you see on a regular basis and always show your appreciation for what they do. You really do catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar; kindness pays in dividends and you never know who is connected to whom.”

Nicole Riddle, MD, FASCP

Laboratory Professional

“I have attended graduate school, and this provided me theoretical and practical knowledge of newer technologies and the ability to design experiments and methods. Learning how an instrument works at a physico-chemical level gave me an advantage with internal troubleshooting as well as learning how to create and validate methods, which is vital to the laboratory. This skill is usually learned in graduate school, but can also be learned through training and development, and on the job. On the other hand, certifications from organizations, such as the ASCP Board of Certification, gave me a competitive edge in the job market within the laboratory profession. This also improved my chances of getting more job offers and even personal invitation letters from laboratories. In my opinion, to be successful in any career means you have the ability to step out of your comfort zone, be resourceful, have the ability to know the market (what’s out there), and know your strengths and areas for improvement. Keeping up with current trends is one thing, but flexibility and versatility is another.”

Christopher Lawrence De Jesus, C(ASCP)CM