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PhD student resources

How we can help you

Careers advice or guidance

Book an appointment for one-to-one careers guidance from your subject specific Careers Consultant. This can be by Skype, phone, email or face-to-face. For urgent queries you can book a 15 minute Quick Query slot - these can only be booked on the day.

Our Careers Consultants can help you:

  • Consider your career options, including careers inside and outside academia
  • Develop your CV, cover letters and application forms
  • Apply for part-time and full-time jobs
  • Prepare for interviews and assessment centres

Exclusive careers workshops for postgraduates

Careers consultants run workshops exclusively for postgraduates in The Graduate School. The workshops are advertised on the Graduate School’s website. Topics include ’How to make successful applications for positions in/outside academia‘ and ‘Improving your interviewing skills’ etc.

Careers events

A varied programme of events is run during the academic year including webinars, the 'Uncovered' Industry Insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups, and skills workshops. You can register online to attend an event.

Career planning

Starting points

  • Vitae National organisation focusing on the professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in universities and research institutes
  • Jobs.ac.uk Careers resources for PhDs and early career researchers: Career Planning for PhDs ebook; A Practical guide to Planning an Academic or Research Career; The Essential Guide to moving up the Academic Career Ladder 
Find out more
  • An Academic Career Information on what academics really do and how people typically enter academic careers
  • Beyond the PhD (2010) A career resource for arts and humanities researchers
  • Career Development Toolkit for Researchers Aimed at post-doctoral researchers who have gained one-two years’ experience in academic research
  •  Getting the first lecturing job (AGCAS, December 2014) Research identifying the key areas academics would look for when recruiting a new lecturer in their discipline; the findings also give practical advice for those preparing an application to this academic role
  • Impact of Doctoral Careers (2014) Looks at the role doctoral graduates play in UK businesses
  • Jobs on Toast Blog written to help postgrads and PhD students look at non-academic career options, and learn how to market themselves for a mainstream job
  • PhD Career Guide (US site) Podcasts about the career paths of former PhD students
  • PhDs at Work (US site) 'Week in the Life' explores bloggers' experiences by company, work sector and degree field
  • piirus.ac.uk Networking website for the research community, enabling researchers to identify and connect with collaborators across disciplines, countries and sectors
  • Prospects PhD study: Your PhD, What next?; Getting an academic job
  • Research Councils UK (RCUK) Case studies: Careers in Research - broad range of disciplines
  • Shinton Consulting Provides careers advice, information and professional development training to scientists, academic researchers, research students and academic staff. The website carries advice, profiles, case studies, information about careers in academia and beyond
  • TARGETpostgrad What can I do with my PhD? Academic jobs

What do PhD graduates do?

Data from the Higher Education Statistical Agency, summarised in 'Your PhD, what next?’, states that of the PhD graduates in employment six months after graduation, the most commonly held jobs for PhD graduates are: higher education teaching professionals; medical practitioners; and university researchers.

More detailed data about the destinations of PhD graduates can be found on the Vitae website in the section, “What do doctoral graduates do?”.

Your careers consultant can help you with whichever type of career you choose to pursue after your PhD.

Job applications and interviews

Sources of example CVs

Vitae.ac.uk has multiple examples of PhD and post-doctoral researcher CVs from different disciplines, for commercial and academic positions. (Note: You will need to register with an ac.uk address to access the examples on the website.) Look at these in particular:

  • Academic positions: Nabil Anwar’s academic CV
  • Commercial positions: Susan Weaver’s chronological CV

Jobs.ac.uk gives a range of CV templates and also ebooks with tips and examples on creating cover letters.
Prospects.ac.uk has several template CVs, including an example of an academic CV.

The PDC has example CVs for a range of particular industries and sectors. Check to see if there is a relevant CV if you’re applying for positions outside academia.

Application forms and personal statements

Application forms for positions within Higher Education, and many other roles within the public sector, often require a personal statement. It is important that you address each of the criteria listed in the person specification, providing evidence for each of the requirements. Further help in completing application forms can be found on the PDC website.

Job interviews

Sources for jobs