Careers and Employability Service
Services for research staff and PhDs

Career management

Student studying 

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:

  • attending a career development workshop or seeing a careers adviser for an individual guidance discussion

Medium-term goals may include:

  • undertaking a training course related to a career area or function you wish to move into
  • using contacts and networks to find out more about the types of work you are interested in

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:

  • be aware of the professional skills you have
  • consider your interests and be clear about the strengths you have

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.



Careers and Employability Service

The University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679