Career tips for PhDs

Career Tips

Most people think that your path will look like this: Ph.D. → postdoc →assistant  professor →assotiuate professor  →professor.  However,  less than 1% of PhDs complete this path. Many PhDs do a postdoc because they are not sure what else is available to them.

You should be asking your self the following questions:

  • What sector do you want to work in?Broadly speaking, the world of work can be broken down into 4 sectors. Each of these sectors has a different mission and as a result, their values will be different:
    • Academic (knowledge, freedom, focus/expertise, independence)
    • Industry (influence, ambition, fast pace, team work)
    • Non Profit (positive impact, variety, initiative, team work)
    • Government (planning, balance, security, structure)
  • What role (job) do you want to have?
  • Research & Development: these are the people who create the stuff.
  • Testing & compliance: these are the people who test it and make sure it is legal
  • Professional & Support Services: these are the people who build it and deliver it
  • Communications Sales & Marketing: these are the people who tell people about it
  • Policy: these are the people who think about and plan it
  • Administration: these are the people who run the place

Useful career guides 

Versatile PhD
This site provides excellent examples of the career paths taken by people with a Ph.D. in a wide variety of disciplines.

Beyond Academe
Written by a History PhD, this site is an excellent source of information on non-academic options, with a focus on arts and humanities


Once you have registered this site will try to match you to science related career options based on your answers to a series of questions on your interests and skills. For each suggested career option there are linked resources where you can learn more about that career path.

Cheeky scientist   

  • How to write the perfect industry resume
  • How to turn networking contacts into job referrals
  • How to create the perfect LinkedIn profile with our LinkedIn experts
  • How to be more confident in your interviewing and networking skills
  • What options you have outside of research
  • How to get recruiters and hiring managers to contact you
  • Where to find top unlisted jobs and how to choose the right job for you