Taking a proactive approach to managing your career is important and it can be difficult to know where and how to begin. The following suggestions are based on the main aspects of career management and can help you to kick start your approach to developing a career in or outside academia.
Set career goals and objectives
Focussing on short and medium term goals may be more achievable and realistic. Attempting to find “the job for the rest of your working life” can be very daunting and be a barrier to taking action.
Short-term goals may include such actions as:
Medium-term goals may include:
Research career opportunities
Research staff can use the pages on academic careers and careers outside academia to begin their research. PhD students should use the information on options after your PhD
It is also useful to read about the career paths of other researchers, Vitae have been collecting and recording a collection of career profiles:
- What Do Researchers Do - career profiles of doctoral graduates is a collection of 40 career profiles and some 1000 first destination job titles of doctoral graduates
- There are more profiles on the Vitae Career Stories database
There are also opportunities to hear directly from employers about the opportunities they have or to attend careers talks and presentations. These are excellent ways of finding out more about specific opportunities or a career area you might be interested in.
The Graduate School and Graduate Centres programmes have a wide range of events to help you and these are targeted at the needs of researchers.
We also an extensive programme of employer events which runs during the autumn and spring terms each year. These events are run for all students so postgraduates are welcome to attend them.
Analyse your interests, professional skills and strengths
Whether you are considering changing your career direction or want to develop your academic career it is important to:
You can use this knowledge when deciding on your career direction and during recruitment and selection activities.
Research staff can use the role descriptions in the R&T Job Family document to start to analyse the skills they use in their current job.
The Researcher Development Framework will also help post dotctoral researchers and PhD students to identify and analyse the skills they have. The RDF will also help to identify areas for development.
In the analysing your skills section you will find an example which illustrates the way in which you can use your PhD to provide evidence of your skills.
There are many useful resources to help you to identify and analyse your interests, skills and strengths, for example:
Develop effective recruitment and selection skills
General help and advice can be found on the following pages:
You can also get individual feedback on written applications from the team.
CV and interview skills workshops for post doctoral researchers are offered by the Graduate Centres. The Research Training Programme offers similar workshops for PhD students.