10 steps to find a job after your PhD (part 1)

Pranav S. Kulkarni
16 feb ’23

I am currently on the last leg of my long and wonderful journey of pursuing a PhD in the Netherlands. Looking back, I can say that it has been a rollercoaster with some pleasant and some hard times. Looking forward, I now need to decide on what to do next, where to go and what sort of career I see myself in over the near future. Therefore, in this blog series I will share 10 preparation steps to find a job after your PhD. Let’s start with the first five:

Step 1: Decide what career to pursue after PhD

One of the most important things to tackle before looking for new job opportunities is to gather as much information as possible on what is out there. By this, I mean looking for which job roles will suit your interests, skills and overall life choices.

I have started doing this by talking to my supervisors, peers and PhD holders who came before me. If you would like to continue doing research in the Netherlands, the Career Navigator is a great tool (provided by AcademicTransfer) to explore research career paths in and outside academia. In this interactive career journey map you will find job descriptions, required skills, and other researcher’s experiences.

AcademicTransfer also regularly hosts Q&A sessions with researchers in different sectors. They share their experiences and career journeys. Check their events agenda for the next Q&A session.

Step 2: Update your CV

It is time to dust off the good ole’ CV that has been shoved in the back of the closet for the last few years. Updating your CV includes adding the PhD related work experience, updating the publication list, adding soft skills that you acquired throughout your PhD journey and making the CV overall presentable.

Don’t forget to upload your updated CV to your AcademicTransfer account as well. You can choose to share it with Dutch employers, so they can spot you for new positions.

Step 3: Passively look for opportunities

By this, I mean start creating alerts and subscribing to mailing lists to get an idea of the job market out there which you are suitable for. I did this by subscribing to certain keyword alerts on AcademicTransfer, Academic Positions and LinkedIn. I also have a CV and profile created on Indeed which I am in the process of optimizing. Keeping an eye out does not mean actively applying but simply observing what is out there, where it is, what are the responsibilities and how much it pays.

Would you like to get some job inspiration? Upload your CV into the CV Match and see which current and expired jobs on AcademicTransfer fit your profile. It gives you an idea of possible employers and positions.

Step 4: Reach out in your network

Whether it is an academic position or a private sector job, there is nothing better than activating your network and signalling to your peers that you will pretty soon be actively looking for a job. Talk to your conference contacts and get out the rolodex of all the interesting people who you met throughout your PhD journey. You can also ask your supervisors to reach out to their network and put the feelers out there.

Step 5: Write a draft of your statement of intent

In most jobs, you have to apply by drafting a statement which lays out your interests, achievements, work history and future vision. This may come in the form of a cover letter, a statement of purpose, a letter of intent or any other combination of such words. Essentially, it is a statement of your purpose and drafting a rough outline of such a statement will not only make the next steps easier but also bring clarity to your mind regarding what you are really looking for in terms of your future career.

These steps are only the beginning of your preparation. Next week I will share five more!

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