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.
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.
Succeeding Outside the Academy: Career Paths beyond the Humanities, Social Sciences and STEM, edited by Joseph Fruscione and Kelly J Baker. A fantastic collection of inspiring and very practical essays, by seventeen PhDs who’ve left the academy and forged their own successful careers paths. Read my full book review for more details.
The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D Into a Job, by Karen Kelsky. In this ‘book of the blog’, Karen leads you through the entire fraught academic job application process, warts and all. There’s also an excellent section on the non-academic job search (entitled ‘Leaving the Cult’). 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.
Websites (in alphabetical order)
Beyond the Professoriate – An online community dedicated solely to helping researchers launch a new career outside of academia. Features career panels and seminars, on-demand videos, coaching, online forums and networking – a whole ecosystem to support you through your transition journey (membership required).
Beyond the Tenure Track – Fatimah Williams Castro’s website has loads of free resources to help you with your career transition, including videos, articles and success stories. You can also browse Fatimah’s range of paid-for products and courses, designed to support career explorers as well as active job seekers.
Career Path Writing Solutions – Heidi Scott Giusto’s blog has an excellent series of articles written ‘For PhDs in Transition’, which are well worth working your way through. Topics covered include translating your transferable skills, handling finances, LinkedIn strategies and conducting informational interviews with employers.
Cheeky Scientist – Training and support for STEM researchers on making the transition into an industry career (membership required). 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.
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.
Think Ahead Blog – This blog, from the Researcher Development team at the University of Sheffield, has more than fifty profiles written by researchers who’ve found careers outside of academia. Use the hashtag #sheffvista to generate a list of all of the personal profiles on the site, and read about all the fantastic career paths open to PhDs.
Turning Science – David Giltner’s site aims to help scientists and engineers make a successful transition from academia into industry. David shares the benefits of his 20 year-career in industry, through a range of free content (e.g. videos which answer common career questions), and paid-for content like his book Turning Science into Things People Need, and his Essential Skills for a Career in Industry online course.
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.
The Recovering Academic Podcast – An excellent source of information about the process of leaving academia, hosted by Amanda, Ian and Cleyde. Features an interview with me in Season 2, Episode 13: You are more than an academic.
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.