For many PhDs, switching careers is a pretty big change. Decades spent in education and now you want to take your passions and transferable skills outside of academia?! To make this leap, you’re going to need a decent run-up.
Much like how an athlete trains ahead of a race, if you’re aiming to land a new job in the next six months to a year, you need to be blocking out dedicated time in your weekly calendar for careers-related work. This can be tricky while you’re completing your PhD, but it’s vital for making a smooth transition. For instance, I started my own exit preparations around six months before my post-doc came to an end, enabling me to land a job outside academia before my funding ran out.
Think about it: if you were preparing for an exam, you wouldn’t leave everything to the last minute, or revise in the odd evening here and there, would you? You’d make a revision schedule and revise all of the material thoroughly ahead of the exam. That’s how we got here in the first place after all!
So put a recurring careers slot into your schedule or diary today. One hour twice a week is a good start for developing that powerful résumé and persuasive letter of application. You can ramp it up as you start to apply for jobs and get interviews. If you’re super-organised and already invest a chunk of your time in careers work, what hints and tips can you share, or is there something you’re stuck on? Let me know – leave a comment below.
P.S. On the subject of diaries – look out for my presentation on transferable skills at this year’s Beyond the Professoriate Virtual Conference. My slot is on the Professional Development Day – 14th May.
Further reading – getting started
Use these articles to explore the topic of post-PhD careers further:
- You can’t climb a ladder that’s run out of rungs, by Chris
- A PhD is a fixed-term job, not a passport to a professorship, by Chris
- The majority of PhDs are switching into careers outside academia, by Chris
- Why you need to start thinking about a career outside academia – today! by Chris
Use these articles to find out how and when to get started:
- Preparing for life after the PhD: retrain your brain, by Chris
- Planning a career change after your PhD? About time …, by Chris
- How to build up your career support network during your PhD, by Chris
- Use my Career Roadmap to kick-start your career planning, by Chris
- Get organised – create a Career Planner, by Chris
- ‘How do I balance studying with job hunting?’, by jobs.ac.uk