3 common mistakes PhDs make when starting their job search, by Beyond Prof
June 15, 2022
As we look to the summer months and fall ahead, our office wants to ensure that graduate students and postdocs are always thinking ahead to their next career opportunity. Here are some resources that can help you in your career exploration and job search.
Free Webinar by Beyond the Professoriate
June 15th 12 P.M. ET: 3 common mistakes PhDs make when starting their job search
Over the past five years, the Beyond Prof team has interviewed hundreds of PhDs about how to make a successful career transition. Through this research, we’ve learned what makes, and breaks, a non-academic job search.
In this webinar, the Beyond Prof Team will share with you these results. After attending this webinar, you’ll be able to:
- Identify common mistakes PhDs make when applying for nonacademic jobs.
- Apply proven strategies so that you can avoid making these mistakes.
- Recognize the most critical piece of a nonacademic job search.
- Identify resources in Aurora that can help you in your job search.
This webinar is sponsored by the Global Higher Education division of ETS®.
Registration link: https://institutions.beyondprof.com/aurora-webinar-3-common-mistakes-phds-make-when-starting-their-job-search/
Start career exploration early
Graduate students often ask “when should I start thinking about career options?”. The answer is, the sooner the better! It’s never too early to start.
It takes on average 6 months to land a nonacademic job and that’s after you have decided on a career pathway that’s right for you. It can take time to build your network, hone your resume writing skills, and master the art of the interview. Sometimes companies hire quickly, but often times a job search will take around 3 months to complete, from the time the job is posted through to making an offer to a top candidate.
Then there’s the career exploration component. What kind of job will suit you? What companies or employers align with your values? Where will you thrive?
Through networking, you’ll be able to gather important information about the nature of nonacademic careers, the professional workforce, and the types of career pathways that are available to someone with your skills, education, and training.
You should plan on spending several months conducting research prior to starting your job search.
What this means is that for those of you who plan to graduate over the summer, now is a great time to start thinking about career options and building your network of professionals who can help you build your career.
For those of you who are a few years from graduating, exploring career options now can help you be strategic in how you’re spending your time during your PhD or postdoc. If you know, for example, that leadership skills will be important to your nonacademic career, you can attend workshops on campus, earn certifications, and volunteer for campus committees, to help you develop and apply leadership skills while earning your degree.
The months leading up to graduation can be busy as you finish your dissertation and other projects. This is why it’s important to spend time learning proven job search strategies NOW. That way, you’ll be able to balance the competing demands of your program and job searching in the final months before you graduate.
What if I’m going on the academic job market?
The same thing applies for students and postdocs who are planning on applying for academic careers. Preparing application documents can take many months, so the sooner you begin learning HOW to write research, teaching, and diversity statements, the better prepared you’ll be for the job market either this coming Fall or in subsequent years.
You’ll also be able to make strategic decisions. For example, if you are not teaching, you might be able to take workshops through your teaching and learning center to develop a teaching portfolio. You can also seek out guest lecture opportunities on campus.
Students who are interested in faculty careers should also explore other options because today’s academic job market is more competitive than ever. Spend time in graduate school thinking through other career pathways, networking, and building skills that can set you up for career success in and beyond the professoriate.
Many of the skills necessary to be successful in a professional career are also necessary for academic career success: writing and communication, leadership and mentorship, project management, and research ethics.
Prepare yourself for a range of career outcomes so that you can confidently apply for jobs knowing that you have many options.