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Finding employment after a PhD Job seeking

The academic sector is very competitive – you need to be highly motivated and committed to be successful in gaining a post. There are few permanent research posts available so your application needs to be as strong as possible. To maximise your chances of success, here are some tips to get your started.

Keep in touch with academics in your field

Let them know you’re looking for a job. If you’re still completing your PhD, let them know when you’re due to finish. They may have a vacancy coming up, or they may be applying for funding that provides an opportunity in their research group. This kind of informal approach is very common in academia.

Update and share your academic CV

Make sure you've included full details of your research, publications and teaching. Share your CV with your referees to inform any reference they provide for you.

Research who to approach and contact them

Be clear about who you're approaching and how your knowledge and experience will fit in with the expertise of their department.

Tips for looking for non-academic jobs

You can of course apply for jobs outside your field of academic expertise: 70% of graduate jobs are open to applicants of any discipline. More than 50% of PhD graduates work outside the higher education sector after gaining their research degree.

If you want to work outside academia, refocus your applications and make your CV a shorter, ‘non-specialist’ document which highlights your transferable skills.

Useful links

  • Prospects: Your PhD, what next?

    Series of articles on the Prospects site to help you make your Doctorate work for you in the jobs market.

  • Vitae

    Supports the professional development of researchers with detailed careers advice.


    Academic and non-academic vacancies.

  • Jobs on Toast

    A blog with useful insights into how to plan your career outside academia and market yourself to potential employers.

Last updated 5 months ago