Many who have completed their PhD or Postdoctoral years are looking for work outside the sphere of university research. Finding employment beyond academia comes with its own challenges and different (informal) rules may apply.
- Where do you find employment opportunities for PhD graduates?
- How do you translate your academic skills and research experience into a successful application?
- What are pitfalls when interviewing for a job? How do you thrive in company culture?
- How do you leverage your ideas and research into your own start-up or enterprise?
Arqus aims to support early-stage researchers in navigating the options and the transition process to a successful career outside academia.
Pursuing a career in academia is not the only option after getting a PhD degree. There are a variety of career pathways available to PhD graduates who are interested in pursuing careers outside academia. Here are some examples:
- Industry: Many industries hire PhDs for research and development positions. These can include pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, engineering, and technology companies, among others.
- Government: Many government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy, hire PhDs for research and policy positions.
- Consulting: Consulting firms often hire PhDs as subject matter experts in fields such as healthcare, finance, and technology.
- Science communication: PhDs can work as science journalists, writers, editors, and communicators, helping to translate complex scientific concepts for the general public.
- Non-profit and advocacy organisations: Many non-profit and advocacy organisations require research and policy expertise, making them a potential career option for PhDs.
- Entrepreneurship: Some PhDs choose to start their own businesses, either as consultants or by creating their own products or services.
- Education: PhDs can work as educators in non-academic settings, such as in museums, science centres, or educational software companies. They can also opt to become active in the lower education levels such as High School or primary school, where they could work as teachers.
Overall, the key to finding a career outside academia as a PhD student is to explore your interests, skills, and experiences and to be open to different career paths. Networking, gaining relevant skills and experience, and seeking out mentorship and career guidance can also be helpful in making the transition to a non-academic career.
Since university-trained researchers are increasingly sought after in the labour market outside academia, Arqus also puts an emphasis on offers regarding entrepreneurial skills, strategies for redesigning a research career for the non-university labour market, and networking with companies.
Arqus PhD Week for Careers Outside Academia
The Arqus Career Week is an annual 4-5 day programme intended to support PhD and postdoctoral researchers in their exploration and pursuit of career paths beyond university research. The programme offers input and workshops, led by a group of career experts from international backgrounds, to help participants recognize their labour market skills and give insight into application and hiring processes as well as company cultures outside of academia.
The format is a combination of expert input and participatory approaches, focused on discussion and self-exploration. Topics include:
- How to become aware of your skills for the general job market and how to translate your academic skills into non-academic contexts
- How to create a convincing CV
- How to fruitfully use the digital sphere in the job search
- How to navigate the recruitment process, including job interview dos and don’ts
- How to successfully transition from academic culture to the business world
- How to make use of entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial techniques for your career development
The Career Week also provides the opportunity to meet and exchange with other early-stage researchers, successful PhD graduates, as well as professionals in career development from different countries and disciplines.
A Look at Past Career Weeks
- The Granada PhD Week gives doctoral candidates and early-stage researchers a boost to take off in the non-academic professional field. (May 2023).
- A look back at the Arqus PhD Week for Careers Outside Academia in Lyon! (May 2022)
- The Arqus PhD Week for careers outside academia: Starting up new careers. (October 2021)
Arqus Linking Local Ecosystems
For more information on Knowledge Commercialization and Start-Up Incubation within Arqus, see Linking Local Ecosystems.
Industry and Business Mentoring Offers
Some Arqus Universities offer mentoring programmes to get in touch with partners from business and industry, you can learn more here.
Resources for the Job Search
- DocPro. A website helping PhD holders to recognize their full qualification profile, helpful for rounding out applications.
- CV Clinics
- Find your doc. Italian startup that matches needs of companies with PhD’s competences.
- Bandi. Platform to explore Italian postdoc opportunities in Academia.
- Professor Positions. Worldwide platform to explore opportunities in Academia.
- Postdoc Jobs. Worldwide platform to explore postdoc opportunities.
- My Science. Platform to explore PHD opportunities.