Recently on twitter there have been plenty of discussions about what skills scientists are supposed to have in order to land a job. I guess such discussions pop up every year around job season. At the AAS meeting in Austin there was a special session about this too. The advice you often hear is: it’s not just your publication list, you need ‘the full package’ and expand your skill set beyond writing scientific papers. This sounds like perfectly reasonable advice. Still, when you are applying for jobs, more often than not the first cuts in the applicant pool are based on the number of first-author refereed papers. The quality of the papers seems less relevant for the selection process than some people think it should be.
Let’s discuss what skills are important for a scientist, both in terms of what a good scientist should do, and in terms of how this (should) translate into applicant selection process. What is the right way to go if you are, or soon will be, on the job market?