So what are you going to do when you finish your PhD ?

I wonder how many of you will have that conversation with friends, family or colleagues over the Christmas vacation ?

Whether you’re working towards a career plan, facing a change of plan, or still not sure what you want to do, the Careers and Placements team at York is here to support you. The vacation could give you some time to research your options, and think about what you have to offer, and what’s important to you. Whatever stage you’re at in your PhD, the PGR Career Journey is a good starting point. 

Although many researchers continue into an academic career, we know from graduate destination data that over 50% choose other careers on completing their PhD, and that increases in time to about 70%. You can explore the career options within and outside academia by using resources on the YGRS careers web pages, including tools to help you reflect on your skills, strengths, values and motivations.  You could also use the Skills and Experience section to consider ways to obtain paid and voluntary work experience that could help you to test out different areas of work and develop your transferable skills. If you enjoy podcasts, why not try our ‘What do you actually do ?’ or King’s College London’s ‘Careers in your Ears’ podcast, and hear about jobs from people who actually do them – an ideal companion if you’ll be travelling over the vacation.

If you’re nearing the end of your PhD this could be a good time to update and re-position your CV for the type of work you’re hoping to apply for – the Applications and Interviews section will help with this. 

Maybe you’d like to attend some training ? During Spring and Summer terms we’ll be running workshops on topics including making the most of your PhD, career planning, and applications and interviews – check SkillsForge for details and sign up now.  If you’d prefer to do an online course, take a look at the free MOOC ‘Career Management for Early Career Academic Researchers’. With a suggested completion time of 12 hours over 4 weeks, this could be something to fit in during the vacation. Postgraduate researchers are also welcome to attend any of our central careers events, which you can find listed on Handshake. There are still a few events in December and we’re starting to list events for Spring term, including one from the Association for Project Management (APM). 

If what you’d really like is to talk to someone about your career plans, or to kickstart your thinking if you don’t have any ideas yet, then you can book a PGR Careers Advice appointment in Handshake. This is a half hour appointment with me, a qualified Careers Consultant, where you can discuss anything related to careers and employability – whether you’re at the very early stages of thinking about your options or you have a definite plan and need help to get there, including application or interview support. Careers advice is impartial, so I won’t make any assumptions about what your next step should be – my role is to guide you through the process of working that out for yourself. If you can’t find an appointment at a time to suit you, just get in touch with me at to set up a time. 

Whatever your plans for the vacation, I wish you a safe and happy Christmas and New Year. 

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