"So what are you going to do next?"
It’s a question I’m sure you've been asked many times, and one you probably ask yourself periodically. Maybe you already have an answer, perhaps you’re planning to stay in academia and pursue a postdoc position or perhaps you’re planning to start your own company. Or maybe the mere utterance of such a question causes your heart to pound and your brain to go into meltdown! The latter definitely described me a year ago when I was no longer sure about what I wanted to do after my PhD. Luckily for all of us who fall into the “I’m not sure” category (or the “I’m keeping all my options open” category, to put it more diplomatically), the UofG has a wide range of events that can help us decide and plan for the next step in our careers. Here are a few that I’ve attended over the past year that you may also find helpful.
Career networking events – Having attended both the MVLS ‘Careers in Life Sciences’ event and the Science and Engineering SCOPE event this past year, I cannot recommend these events enough! These speed networking style events offer an opportunity to talk with previous PhD students who have gone on to have very varied and very successful careers outside of academia. Not only do these events provide a great opportunity to learn more about potential careers and get helpful advice first-hand, they’re also a great for networking and often have time set aside in the day especially for that! SCOPE was recently held this past week so if you’ve missed it this time then keep an eye out for it next year! The MVLS graduate school will be organising another ‘Careers in Life Sciences’ event on 20th March 2018 which you’ll be able to sign up for closer to the time.
PGR Careers Opportunities Series – Presently, these are organised by the MVLS graduate school in which invited speakers talk about their experiences and career paths following their PhD. These talks are a great way to learn about how different individuals dealt with the time after their PhD and approached job hunting. Having attended most of the talks in this series so far, it’s been reassuring to learn that there is no single strategy for succeeding after your PhD but rather there are many different approaches in which it all works out. These talks are typically advertised by email from the MVLS graduate school so keep an eye on your inbox if you want to attend the next one!
Recruitment fairs – There are several recruitment fairs throughout the year in which potential graduate employers from all areas of the job market come and pitch why you should work for them. While these events may not be postgraduate specific, it’s a great way to see a range of potential careers and get advice and guidance. Some of these fairs have already occurred for the 2017 academic year but will be returning in 2018. However, there are still the 'Careers and Internship fair' and the 'Science fair' to look forward to in February. They're usually advertised in advance on the Careers Service website and through emails, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out if this is something you’d like to attend.
Research Ventures – This great two-day course explores the initial steps of starting up your own business. It highlights the support available to you and gives you the opportunity to meet and question a range of experts and PhD entrepreneurs and learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. You don’t need to have a solid business plan and the business know-how of Lord Sugar to attend as the course is open to all students, even those who are just curious about potentially starting a business. Furthermore, all of the principles taught in the course are easily applicable and beneficial to any career path you wish to pursue, so it’s definitely worth checking out! The course will run in the coming year on June 18-19th and you can sign up on MyGlasgow.
Careers Service - Here at the UofG we are very lucky to have a careers adviser dealing specifically with helping early career researchers such as PhD students with anything from job hunting advice to CV writing and interview strategies. So if you are struggling with writing an impactful CV or worried about an upcoming interview, make an appointment with the Careers Service and they will be more than happy to help you and offer advice.
If there’s a careers event that you’ve attended or know of that I’ve missed, please mention it in the comments below or tweet us at @UofGPGRBlog so others can learn about it too. Also, if there is a careers event that you would like to attend which is not currently being offered, let us know about it or ask the Careers Service and your Graduate School. They might know about something similar or consider organising an event if enough students would find it helpful.