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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.

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