PhD Students

Whether you are planning on going into academia, industry or elsewhere, there are various steps which you can take during your PhD to help secure your career of choice after graduation.

The Careers Service's Postgraduate pages are full of useful information for PhD students including online careers talks, 'How To' guides and more.

Meet with your Supervisor

Speak to your supervisor about your career aspirations or postdoctoral research plans. They may have access to contacts and resources which would be very useful to you.

Additionally, eProg monitors your progress through the annual 'expectation milestones' report and regular meetings with your supervisor. Make the most of this; it is an important and useful way of keeping on track. eProg also links to eScholar so you can add any papers you have published to your profile. eProg also hosts an extensive catalogue of skills training activity, where you can view and book courses hosted across the University. 

You can log in to eProg from MyManchester.

Make the most of Networking Opportunities

Many postdoctoral research positions are discovered by word of mouth, and careers events are ideal networking opportunities to meet face to face with employers and make useful contacts for the future. Although the stands may be focused more towards undergraduates, most employers do have more technical roles specifically for postgraduate students.

Many careers websites will only advertise for 'graduates' or 'experienced hire', but this doesn't mean they don't take on PhD students. The best way to find out about roles for PhD students is by talking to employers directly at fairs and events. Where a graduate may get a job as a 'Graduate Engineer', for example, a PhD holder may be invited to go straight into a professional role as an 'Engineer' and will typically be paid up to £10,000 pa more. There are also usually research roles available, specifically for PhD students.

Look into who is attending the fair in advance and research employers that interest you, so that you know who to speak to and what to ask at the fair.

Gain some Teaching Experience

Gaining teaching experience and making the most of outreach opportunities can give a significant boost to your CV. Employers often look for potential employees who can demonstrate that they can clearly and effectively communicate with others, and teaching is one way for PhD students to gain such valuable skills and experience. 

The School of Chemistry recruits postgraduate students as teaching assistants in undergraduate laboratories twice per year, and provides useful training.  Make sure that you complete the survey when it becomes available in May and October each year.

Explore your Academic Career Options

The Careers Service has an award winning Academic Careers website for postgraduate students. It contains all the information you might need, from deciding whether an academic career is right for you to searching for jobs, making applications and how to get through assessments and interviews.

Conduct Research on the Job Sector

You can find academic vacancies on websites like jobs.ac.uk and ecm selection. Many jobs and opportunities are not always widely advertised.  You should make the most of any networking events during your PhD and use such contacts to discover potential employment opportunities.

Use Social Media

Using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook is becoming more and more useful in making contacts and finding work. Maintaining a professional and active online identity is very important. There are lots of useful articles online, on things like making the most of your LinkedIn profile, such as this YouTube video from LinkedIn's own series- 'LinkedIn for UK Students: You Careers Starts Here'. Alternatively you can access CV and Linkedin Guide for more information.

There are many LinkedIn groups you can join who will advertise opportunities as they come up, such as the PhD Careers Outside of Academia group. You may also have made some useful connections on LinkedIn with people you have met at careers events, fairs or have been introduced to at university. Following them on social media is another good way of finding out about opportunities through word of mouth.

The Careers Service Twitter accounts are a great source of information for all students; you can follow@ManPGCareers on Twitter for information, advice and job vacancies specifically for postgraduate students.

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