Before you get started, you need to make sure your career ladder is leaning against the right wall. Have you stopped to consider what you really want? And whether there are any limitations on what you can realistically pursue?
There are three key factors you need to address:
- Yourself: what you want from life, as well as your capabilities, attributes, expertise, and potential
- Careers: what types of jobs and roles are available to you
- The Wider Picture: how the economy, political, social and technological climate impact on career opportunities
adapted from The Career-Wise Researcher (Vitae)
Career satisfaction lies at the intersection of your interest, skills, and opportunities.
This Career Priorities questionnaire from Vitae will help you think in more detail about what you need from a job. It’s an interactive PDF, so you just need to download and complete it on screen (or you can print it off).
There are a number of broad paths you can take with a PhD:
- Employee beyond academia
Take a look at this Widening Horizons chart to get an idea of the sectors you could try, both within and beyond your current research area. You can also download a template to experiment with your own ideas.
|Nearby||Still close||A little further||Away from research||Anything goes|
|Legal or patents||Any graduate-level job
|Government lab||Teaching in schools / colleges||HR/Personnel|
|Research Fellow||Museum/gallery||Scientific/public policy advisor||Private sector|
|Technical support||Research institute||Government desk researcher||Not-for-profit sector|
|Research staff – new contract||Lecturer||Research Council, charity, private company||Publishing||Self-employment|
|Administrator||Small or medium enterprise, research & development||Research Councils||Small or medium enterprise|
|Entrepreneur||Consultancy firm or independent consultant||Clinical advisor||Large organisation|
|Your own spin-off business||Pharmaceuticals||Service sector|
|Technical sales / marketing||Government|
|Consultancy||Start your own business|
|Narrow horizon – known and safe but secure||A little wider – but still university based||Still research but transferring research skills into another setting||Using knowledge and understanding, but not research||Using transferable skills rather than specific knowledge|
Follow these links to find out more about the different paths:
You might want to attend the workshop Where are my strengths? Identifying values and talents to make satisfying career choices. Check the events listings to find out when it’s next running.