Securing a position outside academia
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Securing A Position Outside Academia. June Kay Careers Development Consultant /careers [email protected] Content. Destinations Sources Vacancies CVs Application forms Interviews Assessment Centres Questions. What do PhDs Do?. Work in UK 69%

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Securing a position outside academia

Securing A Position Outside Academia

June Kay

Careers Development Consultant

[email protected]



  • Destinations

  • Sources Vacancies

  • CVs

  • Application forms

  • Interviews

  • Assessment Centres

  • Questions

What do phds do

What do PhDs Do?

  • Work in UK 69%

  • Work & study in UK 11%

  • Education Sector employment 50%

  • 36% Research all areas

  • 22% Research in HE

  • 13% Teaching in HE

    2006 Graduates, 6 months after graduation

Durham phd graduates 2012

Durham PhD Graduates 2012

Durham a h phd graduates 2012

Durham A&H PhD Graduates 2012

  • Army Section Commander

  • Youth & Family Coordinator, Christian Centre

  • Parish Priest, Church of England

  • Archivist, Durham University

  • Faculty Support Officer, Durham University

  • Secondary School Teacher, France

  • Curator, Historic Royal Palaces

  • Superior of a Monastery

  • Company Stage Manager

Durham ss phd graduates 2012

Durham SS PhD Graduates 2012

  • Chief Investment Officer, 3i

  • Freelance Researcher, Arab Centre for Research & Policy

  • Solicitor / Trainee Solicitor

  • Community Research Officer, Community Links

  • GP Doctor

  • School Head Teacher, Geography Teacher

  • Research Coordinator, Durham University

  • Consultant in Public Health, NHS

  • Managing Director, Food Manufacturer

  • Political Producer, Sky News

  • Project Conservator, Torbay Council

  • VLE Manager, Regional Healthcare Strategy

  • Consultant

  • Soil Mechanic Scientist, New Zealand

  • Freelance Archaeobotanist

  • Engineering Geologist

  • Web Literacies Lead, Mozilla

  • Volunteer Outreach Programme Coordinator, National Trust

  • Research Assistant, Our Food

  • Communities Assistant, Project Dirt

  • Freelance indexer & permissions negotiator

  • Project Manager, Rivers Trust

Durham science engineering phd graduates 2012

Durham Science & Engineering PhD Graduates 2012

  • Magician

  • Petrophysicist, Baker Hughes

  • Patent Attorney, various

  • R&D Engineer, BBC

  • Test Engineer, Bergstrom Europe

  • Process Technologist, Centre for Process Innovation

  • Geologist, Conoco Phillips

  • Commodities Consultant, CRU Group

  • Principal engineer, CSIR

  • Software Support Engineer

  • Research Engineer, Hua Wei Software

  • US Treasury Bond Trader Assistant, J P Morgan

  • Accountant, KPMG

  • Mechanical Engineer, Cummins Turbo Technologies

  • Research Geoscientist Geospatial Research Ltd (Durham Uni)

Durham science engineering phd graduates 20121

Durham Science & Engineering PhD Graduates 2012

  • Physics Teacher, Grammar School

  • Publishing Editor, Royal Society of Chemist

  • Exploration Geoscientist, Shell

  • Science Teacher, 6th Form College

  • Development Engineer, Geofire

  • Trainee Engineer, Dredging & Marine Contractors

  • Detector Development Engineer (Kromek)

  • Research Chemist (Lubrizol)

  • Company Director, self employed

  • Trial coordinator, NHS

  • Applications Scientist, Renishaw PLC

  • Manufacturing Laboratory Technologist, Rolls Royce

Read durham phd alumni case studies @

Read Durham PhD AlumniCase Studies @

  • duo

  • Postgraduate Training & Development

  • Careers

  • Alumni Case Studies

  • Sciences / Arts & Humanities / Social Sciences

Sources of vacancies

Sources of Vacancies

Websites e.g. prospects

Directories e.g. Times 100

Durham University Careers Fairs – October, February

Employer Presentations – something every day in Michaelmas

Press – National, local, specialist

Professional bodies e.g. British Psychological Society

Recruitment Agencies e.g. Kelly Scientific

Networking– face-to-face, social media

Speculative Applications !!!

Social media linkedin

Social Media - LinkedIn


  • Profile

  • Recommendations

  • Make Contacts

  • Join Groups

  • Researching employers

Www durham ac uk careers

E.G. Economic & Social Research Consultant, Research Chemist, Trainee Patent Attorney, Quantitative / Risk Analyst, Academic Publishing etc

What some employers say about phd s

What some employers say about PhD’s

“They have good learning skills, a commitment to the task and need only minimum supervision.”

“They are able to work on their own and have the benefit of logical thinking. Also their research field might be relevant.”

“Employers can benefit from their research skills and research experience but will have to invest in commercial training for these candidates.”

What some employers say about phd s1

What some employers say about PhD’s

“Try and gain some industrial consulting experience and prove that you can deal and liaise within a commercial environment.”

“Don’t over rely on academic achievement – stress transferable skills such as team working, report writing and leadership.”

Cvs for phd s

CVs for PhD’s

A CV and covering letter should include

evidence of relevant:

  • Knowledge – specific or general

  • Experience – tasks, processes, responsibilities

  • Skills – specialist and transferable / generic

  • Interest / Enthusiasm / Commitment

Cvs for phd s1

CVs for PhD’s

  • Structure – logical, clear

  • Presentation/layout – attractive / professional

  • Content – Relevant / Explicit

  • Length – 2 pages A4

  • Impact !!!!!

Action words for cvs

Action words for CVs

Negotiated Devised

Promoted Identified

Generated Led Delivered









Cvs for phd s2

What would you include under:

Personal details

PhD research

Other education

Work experience

Publications and Conferences

Additional skills and achievements


Who will be your references?

CVs for PhD’s

Cvs for phd s3

CVs for PhD’s

You should have a different type of CV for

posts outside of academia

Many same skills and experience

Different Focus / Language

Commercial application

Cvs for phd s4

CVs for PhD’s

Reverse chronological - Similar to academic CV

May omit:

  • Publications

  • Conferences

    Must emphasise more:

  • Non academic work experience

  • Commercial Applications / Equivalents

  • Transferable skills

Other types of cv targeted

Other types of CV- Targeted

  • Useful if you know what the employer is looking for

  • Highlights on Page 1 the key skills and qualities you possess which are relevant to the post (skills profile) and where you have obtained these

  • Therefore ‘mirrors’ the advert

  • Then follows on with a standard reverse chronological CV

Page one might start like this

Page one might start like this…

Communication: Excellent oral and written skills required for planning preparing and leading seminars with undergraduate students. Several conference papers presented and well received by a wide academic audience. Active listening and diplomacy as demonstrated through voluntary work on student helpline for 3 years.

Team Working: Demonstrated when rowing for university where I proved my commitment to succeed and encouraged others to also do so, as part of a successful multi-disciplinary research group and whilst working in a pressured retail environment part-time for 4 years.

Project & Time Management: Successfully planned the most effective use of my time and resources to complete my research project ahead of schedule whilst submitting papers for publication, supervising undergraduate students research and renovating my new home.

Computer literacy: Confident user of a wide variety of packages including Microsoft Word, Access, Excel, SPSS and C++. Designed, developed and updated the International Students Society website. Easily adapt to specialist employer software e.g. stock control in retail

Examples researcher skills cvs

Examples Researcher Skills CVs


    • Researchers

    • Careers

    • Marketing Yourself

    • Creating Effective CVs

    • Skills-based CVs

  • Arts & Humanities or Science & Social Science

  • Application forms

    Application forms

    • Same general principles as CVs

    • Competency Based

    • More specific examples

    • Statement in Support of Application

    Securing a position outside academia

    Tell us about a time when you have worked effectively as part of a team. What was your role and what did you contribute to the team? What did you learn for the future?

    • S - In July 2011 I participated in the residential GRAD school Course, Communication Skills + More , run by Durham university. At the start of the 4 day course I was allocated to a group of 9 researchers from all faculties whom I had never met before.

    • T –On day 3 all teams participated in a 3 hour environmental impact simulation, where the remit was to represent your own interests in negotiation with other stakeholders. As representatives of the chemical company we had to consider the financial implications, adverse publicity and legal obligations.



    • A –I felt that my strength would lie in preparation of financial figures for use in press statement and negotiations. I told the rest of my team this and asked the other members which skills they felt they could bring to the team. I lead a discussion on allocation of roles and division of tasks then identified priority actions. Since some elements could not be started until others were completed I suggested a system whereby the strongest member for a particular task led a subgroup of two or three members, who could all contribute ideas and assist with practical tasks.



    • R –All team members engaged with the task and developed an insight into an area of communication they felt was new to them. The team spirit was high throughout and individual members gained new skills and confidence. We managed to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with all but one of the other parties involved, but this one group managed to raise this very successfully at the final “press conference”. In future I would suggest the team allocate time to practice for media interview, rather than relying on knowing their facts.

    Competency question

    Competency Question

    Give me an example of a time when you challenged the established way of doing things and what was the outcome?

    Covering letters

    Covering letters

    • Explain who you are

    • Say why you want the post

    • Give examples of your suitability

    • Explain why you want to work in that organisation

    • Provide other general information

    • Say when you are available for interview

    Tough interview questions


    Why do you want to work for…?

    What is it about the position that you most like?

    Take me through a task that you have completed from beginning to end?

    Was it successful? Why?

    What were the main obstacles that you had to overcome?

    What would you describe as your greatest strength?

    What would you say is your major weakness?

    What would you say is your greatest achievement and why?

    Give me an example of when you have worked in a team and tell me what role you

    took on?

    What are the current issues facing…?

    Prepare and present


    • Be yourself

    • Give interesting examples to questions that they ask

    • Be willing to expand on any responses that you make

    • Don’t be thrown by the unexpected question

    • Stay calm

    • Buy time to think

    • Remain positive throughout

    • Show them that you are right for the position and for them!

    • At the end of the interview think about what impression you want to leave with them:

      ‘If you can’t think of good questions [to ask them]

      don’t ask stupid ones.’ Ian Jackson BT

    Your interpersonal skills reactions


    What impression are you hoping to create?

    Dress code:

    • formal/informal

    • ‘company culture’

    • Body Language

    • handshake

    • eye contact

    • mannerisms

    • open/close posture

    • Smile

      What approach are the interviewers adopting?

    • style of questions

    • pace of interview

    • body language inc. note taking

    • friendly/business like

    Making an impact dvd

    Making An Impact – DVD

    Www durham ac uk careers1

    Assessment centres


    • group discussions

    • case studies

    • in - tray exercises

    • role play

    • presentations

    • aptitude / psychometric tests, eg:

      • logical thinking

      • verbal reasoning

      • numerical

      • spatial awareness

    • personality - preferred styles of behavior

    • panel interviews

    Useful websites

    Useful Websites

    • Support & Vacancies

    • Researcher Development

    • Information & Vacancies

    • Arts & Humanities

    • www.thepaperboy.comoverseas job search

    • Find recruitment agencies

    • a postdoc within Industry

    Any questions

    Any Questions?

    Contact June

    [email protected]

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