Careers beyond academia

  • Encourage exploration
  • Provide opportunities

“I love to encourage both my PhDs and also my postdocs to look beyond, because academia is perfectly fine and it’s a beautiful job and it’s fantastic to do. But if you are inclined to do something else I think that’s fantastic, too, and it is equally valuable.

Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores, Co-Director of Digital Humanities and Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities, Lancaster University.

You might feel unprepared to have a conversation with your postdocs around careers beyond academia. You might have an understanding of what is out there, but you might not have first-hand experience of what your postdoc can do beyond teaching and research.

Your role in this type of conversations is to guide your postdocs and encourage them in their own exploration.

“They're also encouraged to apply for as many opportunities as they want, that they see fit for progressing their career. If they want to do for example an internship somewhere else in a different sector that takes them away for a while, as long as they achieve their goals within their research, I'm quite happy for them to explore as many different avenues and as many different opportunities as possible.

Prof Raechelle D’sa, Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering, University of Liverpool.

Leaving the door open for your postdocs to:

  • trial opportunities and reflect on them,
  • or creating those opportunities yourself

Enables your postdocs to:

  • feel empowered in making their own professional and personal decisions, that align with their values and goals.

“I've been fortunate to have a lot of projects with industrial partners and I try to use these as opportunities for the PDRAs to learn more about what a career in the commercial sector looks like and recently I've managed to use grant funding to support some of my PDRAs to do product management training, for example.

Prof Rachel Williams, Professor of Ophthalmic Bioengineering, Department of Eye and Vision Science, University of Liverpool.

Accessing the Prosper resources around different careers can be a good source of information for both you and your postdoc.

The Explore section is the most appropriate place to be inspired by the vast array of options available. In particular, the Career Clusters showcase roles in different industries where the skillset and abilities of postdocs can shine.

In addition, the exploration strategies, such as Mapping your warm network or Expanding your knowledge of organisations, provide your postdoc with some practical tools to actively engage with their search for their next job.

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