Moving Up and Around Harvard

Are  you a new staff member interested in ways to move up and around at Harvard? Then this is the right place to start! Please use the menu below to quickly navigate to certain sections of the page. For a quick guide on  internal mobility, click here.


This Month’s Success Story: Noman Siddiqi

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Noman Siddiqi

Senior Lab Director
Immunology and Infectious Diseases



Noman Siddiqi started working at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a Postdoc Fellow in 2002. In 2006, he was thinking about leaving Academia to start his career within the industry. During his search, he was approached by his mentor who had asked him if he would consider assisting them with converting the lab into a service center. Noman really enjoyed research and was not familiar with the administrative end of the lab setting but decided to give it a try for at least a year. While he was in this role, some of Noman’s responsibilities included: compliance for the high containment lab, permits to operate the lab and regulations. He worked with a very supportive and talented team that he learned a great deal from especially with the administrative responsibilities.

After being in this role for about two years, Noman approached his mentor to seek advice on whether he should stay within his existing role or to restart his search for a role within the industry. Noman was surprised how much he enjoyed the administrative tasks but still wondered if he was making the right decision for his career. Noman continued to impress his department with all of his accomplishments and in return, they continued expanding his responsibilities that were more complex and critical to the operations of the lab. Because his role expanded, Noman decided to stay in the role.

Noman has taken advantage of several training opportunities and resources within Harvard including the Sponsored Programs Administration documents found on Eureka, Webinars, and trainings through Center for Workplace Development (CWD). Most recently Noman has taken the management trainings offered by CWD. In addition to the many courses available internally, his department has also been very supportive with external trainings including safety and laboratory compliance courses, conferences and workshops. Outside of education and coaching from his mentor, Noman believes he has been successful because of the team behind him and his family.

When asked about a risk he took during his career at the School, Noman stated that he took a chance staying in the Administrator role. He had little experience in this area and it took him further away from the bench work that he really enjoyed and was familiar with. As a Research Scientist, Noman never saw himself in an administrative position and was worried that he might not be successful. Through the years, he realized that he was still participating in the science that he really enjoyed but was also challenged with learning new things. Noman says that the balancing of both the science and the administration of the lab was difficult at times but having mentors and great support from the department really allowed him to succeed.

Noman’s advice on career development to the community? Noman believes that you should challenge yourself and never say no to a new opportunity until you have really thought it through. In the beginning of his career, Noman had a focus on research only and did not consider other opportunities out there. If he did not challenge himself and think outside the box, he would not be where he is today. Noman says that there are many opportunities at Harvard and it’s a wise idea to take advantage of the trainings, talk to the right people and not be afraid to try new things.

What does Noman enjoy most about the School? Noman enjoys the atmosphere and the people most at Harvard. Noman says he has had such a great experience working for the School of Public Health and interacting with staff, faculty and students. He enjoys everyone’s passion for public health and finds it to be a very enriching environment.

Resource to You
Interested in learning more about Noman and his work  or getting one on one advice from Noman himself? Contact him directly via email!

How About You?
Interested in telling us your success story?  Let us know by sending an email to

Archived Success Stories
Edward Martinez – Associate Director of Finance
Alex Garcia Rangel- Student Information Systems Manager
Li Su – Lab Director and Researcher
Jacquelyn Caglia – Assistant Director of Admin & Operations
Trina Weekes – Assistant Director of HRIS

Introduction to Career Movement
To start off there is one thing you should know: Career movement/progression is different for everyone.  There is no right answer, no shortcut and no guaranteed road map to your next role at Harvard.  Each job, department, field, and culture has it own set of written and unwritten rules to reaching the next level. Harvard is a very large and de-centralized organization, with over 30,000 employees and 100’s of departments varying in discipline, objectives and cultures. Knowing where to go and how to get there requires hard work, research, networking, and most of all, patience. While it may not be easy, there are some tools and resources to help you.

This page will address common issues and topics and will speak only in generalities. For specific guidance, we hope you will reach out to one of our contacts listed at the end of the page.


Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering A New Job or Considering  Taking on New Responsibilities

In any career path you choose, it is critical that you ask yourself the following questions:
1.  What motivates you in your current role?
2.  Do you feel your role, what it provides you, and the lifestyle you live, is sustainable?
3.  Does your current role and the path it is taking you, provide you with the work/life balance you need?
4.  Does your work have meaning to you? Do you feel that have impact in positive way?
5.  Does this field/position challenge you?
6.  Does this position utilize your skills and strengths?

The answers to your questions will not point you in any specific direction but they will be key factors in your decision to moving up and around at Harvard. Remember, you spend much of your time at work.

Taking Your Existing Job to the Next Level

Feel like you are in the right job but looking to take on more or do more complicated tasks?  Here are some ideas for you:

  • Open up the lines of communication with your supervisor. Set up a time to meet and discuss your future. See if there are any projects or new tasks that you can take on that will expand your current responsibilities. Make sure these tasks are challenging and are more complex in nature.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make sure that you have the capacity to do more.  If you decide to take on new responsibilities, you will need to prove yourself and complete the tasks at the highest quality possible.  This will build credibility and confidence with your supervisor.
  • Find a mentor. Someone whose career path or current role is of interest to you. Find out what professional development opportunities they took advantage of. Ask them what worked and what did not work.

Have You Seen What is Available at the School and Harvard?
View current openings on the Harvard Employment website at

Apply directly through the website for any roles that you have an interest in and are qualified for. Make sure to submit a complete resume and cover letter. In order to formally be considered an applicant, you do need to apply online!

Trainings and Seminars Related to Professional Development
Harvard provides many workshops/seminars specifically geared towards career and professional development. For more information click here.  Here are some examples of courses that CWD provides:

  • Rock Bottom Basics of LinkedIn
  • Networking for Success
  • Informational Interviews 101
  • The Role of References
  • Career Roadmaps
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Your Strengths at Work
  • Creating Your Best Resume
  • Navigating Your Harvard Career

Other Resources Provided By Harvard
Job Function Guide - This guide is intended to provide you with an overview of the professions and sub-specialties that exist within the University. You can also find information regarding the number of employees in a given area.

Web Resources Training for Career Development at Harvard – Click here to go to the Captivate training that will walk you through all the resources can provide you regarding career planning and career transitions

Archived Sessions

Read or view previous career-related discussions.

Resumes from Scratch (WebEx, November 7, 2013) Devin Ryder, career management consultant, CWD. Resume Checklist

Transferable Skills (WebEx, September 27, 2011): Devin Ryder, career management consultant, CWD, and Laurie Stickels, career and case management program manager, CWD.(***There is a 1.5 minute audio break in the middle of the webinar***)

Transferable Skills: Devin Ryder, career management consultant, CWD, and Laurie Stickels, career and case management program manager, CWD. (HARVie Chat, June 29, 2011)

Your Career Questions; Concerns for 2011: Devin Ryder, career management consultant, CWD, and Laurie Stickels, career and case management program manager, CWD. (HARVie Chat, March 1, 2011)

Workplace Etiquette: Robin Abrahams, Boston Globe’s Miss Conduct and a research associate at HBS. (HARVie Chat, January 18, 2011)

Social Media in the Workplace: Nick Lamphere, multimedia developer, CWD. (HARVie chat, Jan. 11, 2011)

For Questions, Guidance or One on One Coaching? Contact an HR Partner or Recruiter.   Click Here to Find Your Designated HR Partner/Recruiter


Other Resources

The Employee Assistance Program
Need more help?  The Employee Assistance Program offers resources and tests for you to help you regarding a career transition.  Click here to get there!


Employee Referrals

Know someone who would be great for an open position at the School? Your referral would be greatly appreciated! Feel free to send us an email with the candidate’s resume along with details of an open position they are qualified for.  Email us directly  at .