Career management for postgraduate researchers

As a busy researcher with many competing demands on your time, it can be easy to put off thinking about your next steps. However, building your understanding of yourself, researching options and growing your network from early on in your research degree can help to put you in a stronger position when the time comes to make your next move. It is never too early to begin exploring options and thinking about your next steps.

Doing a self-audit

You will have numerous options available to you; however you should be aware that a PhD in itself is not a guarantee of higher level entry into employment. It is up to you to ensure that you gain relevant skills and experience, and that you can articulate these effectively to employers. A useful first step is to undertake a self-audit and examine your skills, experience, motivations, needs and values. This will put you in a better position to choose the career that is right for you, and will give you some ideas about how you might market yourself to employers.

Career planning courses and information

Career options

Planning for:


These self-guided online courses aim to encourage postgraduate researchers to explore the skills and motivations for a career either in or outside of academia:

  • PGR careers beyond academia - a one-stop e-guidance course to help you understand your work preferences and explore your options beyond academia

More career planning resources

One-to-one advice

  • For face to face careers advice, you can book an appointment with the PGR Careers Adviser.
  • It is also a good idea to talk to your supervisor(s) or other academics and colleagues as they may also be able to provide you with useful information or assist you with planning your career.
  • Use current contacts and resources like LinkedIn to connect with, and start to talk to, people working in areas that interest you. There is only so much you can learn about career options through desk research; in-depth career exploration is 'mixed-methods' research and should also include finding out more from people actually doing the jobs that you are considering.
students walking the path


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