How to find a work after PhD?

You got your PhD diploma in your hand, but not a job. What then? As promised in our previous blog post, we’ll talk about how to find a job after getting your PhD.

If your dream career is within academia:

  1. Write a research plan and apply funding for your own postdoc project. There are several foundations and organizations giving out money for post docs. If you include an international research period to your application, your chances of getting the grant are better. Check the application deadlines!
  2. Apply for open postdoc positions (in Finland and abroad). Check www.mol.fi, open positions in LinkedIn and Twitter, plus open positions in the universities’ web sites.
  3. Contact your networks to ask, if they have anything available: Ask your supervisors and cooperation partners, let the people in social media know that you are looking for a job.
  4. Are there any openings (or possibilities for open applications) in research organizations outside universities? In Finland, these could include Geological Survey of Finland, Finnish Environment Institute, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Technical Research Centre of Finland.
  5. Network! If none of the previous options worked for you, widen your horizon. Go to courses, conferences and seminars. Do voluntary work in your field-related organizations. Join a mentoring program. Learn new and get to know new people. Don’t be shy, go and talk to people. Tell them who you are and that you are looking for a place to do your postdoc.
  6. Make sure that your skills are up-to-date, for example by using the following Research Development Framework.
Research Development Framework by www.vitae.ac.uk

 

If you would like to step outside the academia:

  1. Apply for open positions and send open applications to local government, central government and third sector.
  2. Look for the possibilities in the private sector. What kind of companies hire doctors from your field? Sell your expertise!
  3. Are there suitable vacancies abroad?
  4. Participate all kinds of job-seeking events and “improve your CV/job interview skills” – clinics. Join a mentoring program.
  5. Learn, how to sell your expertise to a company. They are not interested on your publication list or diploma – they are interested in what you have learned during your PhD studies and how can you apply the knowledge to practice.

 

What happened to me once I got my diploma?

I have always wanted to be somewhere in the middle – between the research, administration and private sector. Few months before I got my PhD diploma, I started job-hunting. I polished my CV and elevator pitch with my mentor, participated in an international job-hunting event (thanks SETAC Europe), sent five applications to government jobs, applied for one postdoc position and for two administration jobs in university, wrote a research plan (with international mobility) and applied money from five foundations. What was the result? Two job interviews, one job and one 6-month research grant.

 

Text by Kristiina Väänänen, pictures Pixabay (cc0)