Seven steps to manage your career transition as a PhD or postdoc
By: Lucia Smit
Find out which activities in your current job you prefer most. Which assignments provide you with plenty of energy? Which tasks do you always tackle first? What is your specific role in the team? In what type of assignments are these tasks and roles needed? Create a career options plan. Define at least three sectors and type of jobs that you could do in each of these sectors. Make a list of three conceivable organisations per sector. If you find this difficult contact a career counsellor.Start networking. Start to follow companies and groups and get connected to people who are performing the jobs that you are interested in. Ask for feedback on your profile. Label yourself. You need to stop talking about yourself as a PhD looking for work. Instead, you need to talk about yourself as a researcher, analyst, writer, management consultant etcetera looking for a career switch from academia into private industry, services, government etcetera. Use the labels of the jobs that you find appealing. Create a sound story. Whenever you meet new people you will have 20 seconds to introduce yourself. Tell them who you are, what you love to do, what you are good at and how others/society can benefit from your work. Get to know yourself. When hiring new staff, employers do not want to hire trouble. Show your future employer that you are aware of this and how you deal with this. Illustrate your soft skills. As a PhD your technical skills are obvious. Your soft skills are less obvious. STARR is a five‐step tool for illustrating your soft skills in a short story.