Guest post: Deciding who to work for after the PhD

When you start looking for a job outside of academia, the sheer range of opportunities can be bewildering. So I wrote a guest post on the theme of ‘Deciding who to work for: finding employment outside academia’ for the awesome website How to Leave Academia. The post outlines the three main areas where you can look for work – business, charity and government.

Unfortunately, How to Leave Academia can’t be accessed at the moment, so I’ve published an updated version of the post under the new title of Take control of your career by switching into a job outside academia. Enjoy!

Further reading – choosing your profession

Life after the PhD: 8 inspiring post-PhD interview websites, by Chris
Your job options after a PhD – in a diagram, by Chris
How to search for your ideal job outside academia, by Chris
How to research your target job sector, by Chris
How to find jobs advertised at PhDs, by Chris
How to get help and advice when applying for jobs outside academia, by Chris
‘But I don’t really know what I want to do!’, by Chris
Project Management as a career path for PhDs, by Chris

Guest post: Preparing for life after the PhD – re-train your brain

In this guest post for PhD Talk, I explain the importance of changing your mindset in the last few months of your PhD. In order to embrace the full range of career opportunities open to you, both inside and outside of academia, you need to shift your mindset from ‘making do’ to ‘making a living’.

Read Preparing for life after the PhD over at PhD Talk.

Further reading – getting started

Why you need to start thinking about a career outside academia – today! by Chris
Use my Career Roadmap to kick-start your career planning, by Chris
Get organised – create a Career Planner, by Chris
Deciding when to quit the academic job search, Part 1, by Chris
Deciding when to quit the academic job search, Part 2, by Chris

Use my Career Roadmap to kick-start your career planning

In my experience the main challenge that PhD students face when it comes to exploring their non-academic career options is knowing where to actually start! Having spent many years in university, it can be daunting to think of working in industry or in public service. PhDs typically ask themselves: what sort of job am I good for, having spent so long studying? Where are mainstream jobs advertised? How do I successfully put myself across at interview?

While the answers to these questions will vary from person to person, I believe that all PhDs will benefit from following a clear roadmap to get their career search started. The Career Roadmap set out below is based on my own experience and reflects the steps I took when starting to look for work outside of academia:

1. In the first step of the Roadmap, Discover your potential, the purpose is to explore your dreams and personal goals, and find out what motivates you in life.
2. In the second step, Choose your profession, the purpose is to identify a non-academic career area that fits with the passions, ambitions and goals you have identified.
3. In the third step, Market yourself, the purpose is to develop the materials and the network you’ll need for applications in your chosen profession(s).
4. In the fourth step, Get an offer, the purpose is to apply for advertised and unadvertised roles, to secure one or more job offers.

This approach will help you to overcome the difficulty of knowing where to start, and it provides you with structure and direction for managing your non-academic career planning and job search. In future posts I’ll map out each of the 4 steps of the Career Roadmap in more detail, sharing my experiences and linking to helpful resources.

Take action now: Have you created your personal Career Planner yet? See my post on getting organised to find out why you need one!