HDR Career Conversations

Supporting research student career development and employability at UOW

February 8, 2018
by saryan
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Join the HDR Career Conversation

This is your space to share information, comment and ask questions, discuss and exchange experience related to career development or employability.  It’s a space focussed on HDR careers for the University of Wollongong (UOW) HDR community: HDR students and alumni, academic and professional staff, employers and the Careers Central team.  Blog topics will include alumni career experience, the HDR graduate market, key messages from HDR career related events and anything else career-related of interest to HDR students – all with the aim of supporting HDR students with their career development and employability.

What themes would you like to see covered on the blog?

Would you like to contribute?

Comment below or email directly sarah_ryan@uow.edu.au

I look forward to our HDR career conversations.

Sarah Ryan

HDR Careers Counsellor, University of Wollongong

This blog is provided by Graduate Career Development and Employability at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Regardless of your institution, we welcome all interested HDR (higher degree research) students and graduates, university staff, employers and alumni to subscribe, read and engage in our HDR career conversations.  However, some of the services, events and resources included in blog posts may be restricted to the UOW community.

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May 22, 2019
by whitneys
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Are you career ready?

Introduction:  UOW Higher Degree Researcher Amy Boyle first wrote on this topic as part of her online reflections for the zero credit point subject Career Ready Learning for Higher Degree Researchers CRLH900.  Her proactive and organised approach and examples of career development activities were too good not to share more widely, so I asked her to rewrite her experience as a piece for the blog.  Though we can’t all be so naturally organised, I am really impressed with the incremental approach Amy is taking to her career development activities and her ability to find opportunities as she progresses.  

Coming into a PhD, I think a lot of people are so focused on their research that they forgot to think about what comes after. Having a PhD doesn’t necessarily get you a job in your field, but with a little bit of planning you can increase the likelihood. Your supervisor’s main focus is your thesis work and they may not have the capacity to help with your career. Consequently, I participated in the HDR Careers workshops last year as part of the optional careers subject CRLH900: Career Ready Learning for Higher Degree Researchers. I was in the first year of my PhD and the learning acquired through these workshops was incredibly useful to rewire my thinking into approaching my PhD as an apprenticeship, rather than just another stage of study.

My participation in these workshops encouraged me to take initiative for my career development, develop long-term strategies and be cognizant of the changing workforce, specifically: Continue Reading →

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April 11, 2019
by saryan
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From PhD to Public Service: What can I expect?

Guest Post by Dr. Josip Matesic

Introduction: Following on from a recent post focusing on the public service recruitment process, Dr. Josip Matesic gives us an insight into what you can expect as a new PhD graduate in the public service and how to prepare for that.  

I have been working in the public service at the Department of Social Services for a little over two years now and enjoying it so I wanted to write today a bit about the differences you  can expect moving from working on a PhD or Masters to the public service. Now while everyone’s experience is different, I want to touch on some of the differences you may experience, and in particular the differences that I did not expect. Continue Reading →

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April 10, 2019
by saryan
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From PhD to Public Service: The Recruitment Process

Guest post by Dr. Katia Alferova

Introduction: Research on the career outcomes of research graduates show approximately 6% are working in the government sector after graduation*.  Public service recruiters recognise the added value that a Higher Degree Research graduate can bring and actively welcome applications.  Dr. Katia Alferova applied successfully for a government department role in 2018 – here she shares her experience of the recruitment process. 

Considering various opportunities to apply my skills and knowledge in practice, I was determined to find a job that would allow me to use my analytical capabilities and research experience while performing day-to-day professional duties.  This opportunity arrived with a position of a policy officer in the area directly connected to my research domain and the responsibility to provide advice to the government and inform its decision-making process. I would like to share my experience with those researchers and PhD graduates who are interested in careers with government agencies, with a focus on the recruitment process. Continue Reading →

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February 20, 2019
by saryan
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Confessions of an Early Career Researcher: lesson one – “showing up”

Guest post by Dr Rachel Loney-Howes, Lecturer, Criminology, School of Health and Society, University of Wollongong

16:03” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by marksdk

Introduction: In recent years, career development researchers have focused on the role of chance and luck in career development.  They’ve found that, although on reflection we have a tendency to ‘reframe’ our career success in terms of luck, there are certain behaviours and attitudes that contribute to taking advantage of ‘chance’ events.  Dr Rachel Loney-Howes a Lecturer from the School of  Health and Society here at UOW was ‘lucky’ enough to start an ongoing academic position 6 months after her PhD (yes – 6 months!) In this blog post, she talks about one of the behaviours that helped make that happen.

I still can’t believe my luck. Six months after graduating from my PhD from La Trobe University in Melbourne, I was offered an ongoing position here at the University of Wollongong as lecturer in Criminology in the School of Health and Society. Six months. I was under the impression that I would be casually or contractually employed for at least three – maybe even five years – before I would be gainfully employed, as so many of my friends and colleagues were and currently are. At an HDR Panel for post-graduate research students in the School of Health and Society, which ran in October 2018, I was asked to speak about how I got so lucky. What was it about my experience as a post-graduate research student that made me a competitive candidate for my current role? And what pearls of wisdom could I share with emerging ECRs that might help them as they enter the academic job market. In this blogpost, I discuss some elements of that “luck” I encountered during my candidature as a PhD student – most of which came about because I literally “showed up.”[1];[2]  Continue Reading →

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January 9, 2019
by saryan
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You are getting a PhD, so what’s next?

Reflections from School of Health and Society Research Student Careers Event 

Introduction: As HDR Careers Counsellor I recently contributed to a career development event at the School of Health and Society (HAS) which included a panel discussion followed by some interactive career exercises. You guessed it – we asked for a volunteer to write a blog piece. Faysal Kabir Shuvo, a PhD researcher in HAS volunteered to share his learning from this event co-ordinated by the Head of Postgraduate Studies, Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng.

 

Dr. Iain Butterworth (far right) sharing his career story, pictured alongside Dr. Rachel Loney-Howes and some of the HAS research student audience.

The objective of this workshop was mainly to guide post-PhD career planning. The workshop was an excellent mix of professionals sharing their career journeys. Dr Iain Butterworth is the Head of professional services in the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Dr Rachel Loney-Howes, has recently been recruited as Lecturer in the School of Health and Society. And finally, we had Ms Sarah Ryan, our on-campus resource for all matters HDR careers. The workshop was nicely moderated by Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng, Head of Postgraduate Studies, School of Health and Society. Motivated by my participation in the Careers Central Career Ready Learning for Higher Degree Research (CRLH900) subject, I have started to explore a range of post-PhD career options. Therefore, personally, I was intrigued Continue Reading →

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November 27, 2018
by saryan
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Identifying the skills from your PhD that are relevant for your future career (whatever that may be)

Introduction: Identifying your skills may sound easy, but it takes time and often deep reflection.  Are you developing the ‘right’ skills for your future career?  Jo Khoo, a UOW PhD researcher at the Faculty of Business, has written a useful blog piece exploring research on which skills are most relevant to research intensive and other careers.    

Every PhD student is probably sick of hearing about, ‘transferable skills,’ those ill-defined skills that you have developed while conducting your research that you are meant to emphasise when applying for jobs. Even for someone like me, who spent almost 10 years working full-time before starting a PhD, it is difficult to clearly define and articulate the specific skills I have developed during my time as a PhD student that will transfer to a job after I finish my PhD.

As we all know, only a minority of us will end up in academic research positions and so it’s incumbent to think more broadly about our options, and have at least a Plan B option (not to mention, C, D and E)! I recently came across a paper reporting on the findings of a survey of more than 8,000 PhD graduates. Continue Reading →

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Be authentic and build your career network

November 20, 2018 by edgard | 2 Comments

PhD job search advice from UOW HDR graduates

Introduction: One of the highlights of my role is hearing graduates share their career stories.  It’s fascinating to hear how such divergent paths can share common themes. Careers Central collaborated with academics from the School of Medicine to run a PhD Careers panel and career discussion as part of the recent School of Medicine Research Forum.  UOW PhD researchers Lauren Houston and Gabrielle Phillips both volunteered to write about their reflections on listening to these three wonderful career stories. 

Lauren’s reflections:

Completing a PhD can seem like a 24/7 endeavour. We are often busy rushing around trying to balance personal, family and work life all at once, forgetting to stop and ask ourselves why it is we are writing this very large book! A panel of three University of Wollongong (UOW), PhD graduates (Dr Danielle Camer, Senior Medical Writer for Swordfish Media; Dr Rhoda Ndanuko, The George Institute for Global Health; Dr Sheridan Gho, Co-founder and director, Cenofex) highlight that there are endless lessons and opportunities presented along this roller coaster of the PhD journey.

As each PhD journey is so different and unique it was emphasized by the panel members that within each journey there are actually many commonalities. Continue Reading →

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November 1, 2018
by saryan
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Exploring your research career – 15 minutes at a time

Introduction: Exploring your future career options can seem like just another item to add to your long list of research tasks – it might be tempting to procrastinate and put it to the bottom of the list. Corinne Green, a PhD researcher in Education and a current student of ‘Career Ready Learning for Higher Degree Research Students’, shows us it doesn’t have to be overly time consuming, by using research career podcasts, one of which she reviews below.  

 

How much time do you spend thinking about your future career? Maybe it is something that plagues your mind constantly, or something you would rather not think about, or perhaps something you have not yet considered. Whatever stage of your studies you are up to, it can be valuable to consider what is coming next and how you are going to get there.

Earlier this year the ‘15 Minutes to Develop Your Research Career’ podcast Continue Reading →

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September 25, 2018
by saryan
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The useful PhD: transferable skills for a range of sectors

Guest post by Dr. Colin Cortie

Introduction:  Communicating the value of your research qualification in sectors where it is not a common qualification can be a challenge.  Dr. Colin Cortie explains how he translated his PhD qualification by emphasising transferable skills in this useful post focussed on recognising your skills, addressing selection criteria and preparing for interview. 

Completing a PhD will give you a lot of skills, but are those skills useful outside of academia? Will they get you a job? I had to ask myself these tough questions when I finished my PhD and started looking for work outside of my academic field. At that point I wasn’t even entirely sure what my skills were outside of very specific lab-based techniques, and so I asked for help from the HDR careers counsellor and attended a careers session called ‘Get Shortlisted: Resume and Selection Criteria for HDR students’. As part of this training we looked at the Australian Qualifications Framework , and I was pleasantly surprised to see that people with PhDs have the “knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability and responsibility as an expert and leading practitioner or scholar”. That sounds impressive (and it is), but is it employable?

Continue Reading →

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September 4, 2018
by saryan
1 Comment

A Different Career Perspective: Impact, Invest and Jump!

Lessons from the iAccelerate IMPACT4 Change Social Entrepreneurship conference

Introduction:  I believe you can learn something from every person’s career experience, no matter how unrelated their career may seem.  This is especially so with entrepreneurs.  In the changing world of work we all need to take an entrepreneurial approach to our careers, looking for opportunities, testing the market and pivoting when things don’t go as expected.   In a recent edition of HDR Career News, we put out a call out for expressions of interest in attending the iAccelerate IMPACT4 Change conference for Social Enterpreneurs.  Zoe Richards had recently submitted her PhD, was looking for some career inspiration, so we sponsored her attendance and asked her to write a blog about her experience.  I think you’ll be interested in the parallels she draws between research and social entrepreneurship.

I don’t fancy myself a social entrepreneur, but I do believe that I have some things in common with those who do. That is wanting to effect meaningful change in some way or another however, at this point in time I’m not exactly sure what that is, or how I plan to do it. After submitting my doctoral dissertation, I have been faced with the same question from many people, “What’s next, Zoe?”, and to be frank for the majority of the time, I have don’t have an answer for them.

I saw attending the iAccelerate IMPACT4 Change conference as an opportunity to connect and network with like-minded people within the research, policy making and social entrepreneurial space, and perhaps a chance to magically uncover what it is I want to do with my career. Whilst, I didn’t walk away with a revolutionary idea of what I want to do with my life, the conference did shift my perspective on how I should approach the next chapter. I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few of these things with a wider audience. Continue Reading →

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