This is a sequel to the previous entry on advice by experience postdoctoral researchers. One researcher who I know well mentioned that it is important to establish a name for your self by getting results independently so that one’s work is not always identified as collaboration with the more famous scientist. He was of the view that this is one of the ways of establishing your credentials in the area. The comment makes sense as long as it does not prevent one from capitalizing on valuable collaborations.
Choosing suitable projects
One other advice I heard was that it is important to show yourself as completing projects and goals. It is useful to produce something new and have it tested and published rather than have a half baked promising idea. Therefore, it might be better to take on more short term but not necessarily lower impact projects.
Moreover, it is easy to notice that the more interactive postdocs do better in the research group by discussing and exchanging new ideas. They also have a knack of developing relations with the industry.
Another habit which is noticeable among successful postdocs is that they do not hesitate in taking advice from multiple sources whether it is for a draft paper, a job application or presentation. Therefore, it is helpful to know senior people who can provide mentoring and give honest and personal advice and feedback. These things are of course mutual. One should be approachable and ready to assist the senior researcher in peer reviewing, organization etc.