Find resources

Check out my recommendations below for books, websites and podcasts to help with your job search. Also remember to ask your university’s career service for assistance – many universities will allow you to continue using their careers service for several years after graduation.

Books

How to Find a Career With Your Humanities Degree in 126 Days, by James Mulvey. James lays out a schedule to help you massively improve your employability for jobs outside academia in only 4 months. Despite the title this e-book should be mandatory reading for all PhDs 6 months before completion! Read my full book review for more details.

Black Hole Focus: How Intelligent People Can Create a Powerful Purpose for Their Lives, by Isaiah Hankel (founder of Cheeky Scientist). A brilliant, no-nonsense guide to finding a renewed sense of purpose after your PhD. Packed with case studies, exercises and advice to support your transition into a new career.

Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions (2011 edition), by Martin John Yate, is a best-seller and rightly so. The secret to a great interview lies in your preparation and how you put your value across to the employer. This book will boost your confidence by giving you model answers to deal with those tricky interview questions!

Websites (in alphabetical order)

Beyond The PhD – This site from the University of Reading features profiles of PhD students who have gone into both academic and non-academic careers.

Cheeky Scientist – Training and support for STEM researchers on making the transition into an industry career. There are free resources on the site which are of interest to all researchers, including a series of videos and a regular blog.

From PhD To Life – Jen Polk’s wonderful site captures her experience and career progress after completing her PhD. Browse the inspiring interviews with people who’ve made the transition into a fulfilling career outside academia (including one from yours truly!).

Glassdoor – There are many different job sites out there, but what I like about glassdoor is the way you can read comments posted by employees working INSIDE organisations – this helps you to decide whether that’s a place you’d want to work.

GradSquare – Just enter your skills and educational background and get live jobs that match your profile. Or contact recruiters directly and let them find you a job. There’s also an excellent podcast series, GradSquare Radio, which includes an interview with me!

Hortensii – A site from a new group dedicated to improving the situation for PhDs without permanent academic jobs. Notable for the results of a very detailed survey into the difficulties facing PhDs when it comes to securing academic employment, and the request for help with solutions from inside and outside the academic community.

Lilli Research Group – Has a great Resources page and an excellent set of Tips for the Job Seeker. LRG founder Maren Wood also offers a bootcamp for post-academic jobseekers – please mention Jobs on Toast if you decide to sign up!

PhDs At Work – Michelle Erickson takes the PhD interview format to a whole new level with her ‘week-in-the-life’ approach. PhDs working in corporate and non-profit sectors give accounts of what they do in their day jobs, showing how skills learned in the PhD are put to use outside of academia. Professional photography and cool site navigation make this site a real pleasure to use. My favourite part is the way that each contributor’s dissertation title is listed too! Sign up by email to get a post every day of the week, when a new interview is posted.

Sell Out Your Soul – Billed as ‘A Career Guide for Lost Humanities Majors’, this witty and irreverent blog from James Mulvey has tons of useful and inspiring material for anyone with a humanities degree who is looking for work.

Versatile PhD – The Versatile PhD, founded by Paula Chambers, is a US website which aims to help humanities and social science graduate students and PhDs identify, prepare for and excel in non-academic careers. You can join for free and get access to a range of information including career profiles of doctorates.

Vitae – Vitae is a UK organisation dedicated to helping the careers of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education. Browse its website for useful information about career paths for PhDs both inside and outside academia.

Podcasts

The Recovering Academic Podcast – An excellent source of information about the process of leaving academia, hosted by Amanda, Ian and Cleyde. Episode 11 is all about using Twitter and is highly recommended!

PhD Career Stories – Has a great mix of personal stories along with hints and tips for your career search. If you only listen to one episode, listen to Episode 1 by Tina Persson – an energetic and inspiring story of a scientist changing careers and becoming a recruiter.

15 minutes to develop your research career – A new podcast from Vitae. Episode 2 explores the career paths of PhDs and is definitely worth listening to for advice and inspiration.

Read my note about affiliate links on the Jobs on Toast website.