Interview with Lindsay Padilla of Academics Mean Business

I really enjoyed chatting with Lindsay Padilla in Episode 53 of the podcast Academics Mean Business (AMB). I’ve been a big fan of this podcast for a while now, so I was delighted to make my own appearance on the show. You can learn so much about entrepreneurship and leadership, from listening to Lindsay’s guests talk about their side-gigs and full-blown businesses.

In my interview we ranged across a number of topics, including my academic career, how I came to leave academia, and when and why I set up my blog Jobs on Toast. Lindsay even reveals the origins and meaning of the name Jobs on Toast (clue – it has something to do with baked beans)!

Towards the end of the interview we get into my plans for my next project, which is going to be around supporting people with their career progression more broadly. After nearly 10 years of focus on supporting PhDs, I’m looking to share the message of skills-based career advancement with a wider audience – more news soon!

You can listen to my interview with Lindsay here: AMB Episode 53: How the transferable skills you have gained while being a researcher are the skills you should sell.

I also enjoyed Lindsay’s wide-ranging interview with Gladys Ato in Episode 51. Gladys is someone who has so much rich practical experience and wisdom to share. I especially liked this insight about leadership: ‘Leadership is having a bigger vision for the audience, than the vision they have for themselves’.

If you’re interested in listening to other careers podcasts, do check out my article on the top 5 careers podcasts for researchers.

Exploring further study options and benefits – new video course

exploring further study options course - by chris humphrey

Do you know someone who’s thinking about further study, but is unsure about what to study, or how it could boost their career prospects? I recently recorded a video course to guide folks through their options, when considering a postgraduate diploma, Masters or PhD.

My course is called Exploring Further Study Options and Benefits and it’s available on Aimee Bateman’s fantastic website Careercake.com.

Continue reading “Exploring further study options and benefits – new video course”

Boost your job prospects by attending campus careers events for PhDs

Since 2009 I’ve had the pleasure of getting out on the road, sharing the story of my own career change with audiences of researchers and academics. I’ve made a successful transition from a PhD in Medieval Studies, into a career in business, project management and consultancy. I love telling my story and helping PhDs with their own career thinking.

Let’s face it, it’s easy to get closeted away just doing your research, and not put parallel effort into your career planning during your PhD. But sometimes you need to get out of the library or the lab and take advantage of ‘hire education’ events on campus. What are some of the benefits of attending? To my mind they’re invaluable for:

  • Raising your awareness of careers paths outside of higher education
  • Showing you how it was done – bringing career change to life
  • Picking up tips on the individual steps of the career change process
  • Helping you discuss non-academic career options with your peers and supervisors

Remember, once you’ve graduated, you’ll have to pay for any further career support you need. So look out for speakers appearing on campus, and make the time to attend while they’re still accessible to you.

If you haven’t attended a live careers event before, read the 3 case studies below to learn more about what goes on. These examples are all taken from events I’ve spoken at during 2017. Please do drop me a note if you’re interested in booking me to speak to researchers at your university.

 1. A careers workshop organised by your graduate school

On 8 February 2017 I was the guest of the Graduate School at Brunel University London, running a morning careers workshop for a mixed audience of PhDs and post-docs. In this workshop on ‘Opportunities and tools for researchers wishing to work outside of academia’, I covered the following topics in depth:

  • Identifying your transferable skills
  • Having a clear focus for your career change
  • How to communicate your value to employers outside academia
  • Tools and resources for career changers

I got a lovely email the next day from the organiser, who said that she’d bumped into some of the attendees that morning and they were still talking about the workshop! So look out for careers events organised by your university careers service or graduate school.

2. A careers talk organised by your professional association



On 3 February 2017 I was the guest of the Irish Association of Professional Historians at the National Library in Dublin, speaking to an audience of historians about career paths outside of academia. Afterwards I held a careers clinic where I helped 12 of the attendees improve their CVs. I was so impressed by the calibre of these folks, many of whom were pursuing PhDs as well as having full time jobs elsewhere. If you belong to a professional association, why not ask them to put on a live careers event for members?

3. A careers conference organised by researchers

On 16 March 2017 I was a guest speaker at the Researching our Futures conference, which was organised by a group of researchers at the University of Newcastle. The organisers deserve huge credit for their initiative and the excellent line up of speakers they assembled. My talk was on ‘Promoting your skills as a researcher’, covering identifying the transferable skills you’re acquired as a researcher, and translating these skills into language employers can understand. We did some practical exercises based on these themes during my session.

If you’d like to get hold of the slides for my talk on ‘How to translate your skills into language employers can understand’, you can sign up for my email newsletter and I’ll send you a link to download the slide deck.