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 by Taylor & Francis (prolific publishers across a range of disciplines) and Vitae (a non-profit focused on supporting the professional development of researchers) was suggested as a useful resource to explore research careers. The various episodes of this short podcast have helped me to think realistically about my future career in research.
Episode 1: Public engagement in research
This episode begins at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference, speaking with delegates about why they do public engagement. The hosts then speak with Lucy Robinson from the Natural History Museum about citizen science. They also speak with finalists from the UK 3 Minute Thesis competition. A range of reasons for public engagement are given, along with practical tips that you can implement to communicate well with diverse audiences. Ultimately, they emphasise the value of you knowing why your research is important.
Episode 2: Alternative career paths
In this episode, Claire (from Taylor & Francis) and Marie (from Vitae) look into the careers that researchers move into after their PhD. They speak with experts in career development and those who have recently transitioned into the workforce, giving a balanced view of the challenges and opportunities. They chat about job satisfaction outside of academia, the valuable skills you develop through research, and how you can take control of your career.
Episode 3: Academic mentoring
As well as establishing the value of academic mentors to help you navigate challenges and provide unbiased advice, this episode gives practical tips to promote a positive and productive relationship between mentor and mentee. Claire and Marie recommend getting to know one another before making a commitment, and regularly setting and re-evaluating the expectations of the relationship. They also showcase alternative ways to get mentoring support, such as through some journals.
Episode 4: Overcoming imposter syndrome
This episode again draws on the expertise of the delegates of the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference, candidly discussing the notion and impact of the imposter syndrome. One suggested it is part and parcel of being a researcher, because researching reminds you of what you don’t yet know. Others provided ways to become friends with imposter syndrome, such as talking honestly with peers about your experiences. Be aware, say Claire and Marie, but not alarmed.
Episode 5: Getting published for the first time
The Vitae Researcher Development International Conference features in this episode too as Claire and Marie chat with academics, researchers, and editors about the process of publication. They give top tips for successful submission, such as making use of the author guidelines for the journal, as well as shedding light on the peer review process. They also discuss ‘impact’, and how you can track the attention your work receives.
Episode 6: The unspoken challenges of research life
In this episode, Claire and Marie consider the impact of a range of challenges that researchers face, including those related to gender, ethnic minorities, disabilities, parental leave, and intersectionality. They address the actions that can be taken both at an institutional level, and by individuals, to promote equality and diversity.
These podcast episodes have been published every couple of months since late 2016, although it is unclear whether there are more episodes planned. Regardless, these six episodes alone have given me a whole lot to mull over already! And at just 15 minutes each in length, they are readily accessible on my morning commute.
How are you investing in your future career?
Corinne Green is currently halfway through her PhD in teacher education. She is exploring what motivates teachers to be involved in the training of new teachers through school-university partnerships. She is also beginning to consider what life post-PhD might look like, with the help of her supervisors Dr Sharon Tindall-Ford and Dr Michelle Eady.
Follow Corinne on Twitter: @DrCorinneGreen or connect on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/corinneagreen
Since Corinne submitting the post above, a new episode of the podcast has been added: ‘Open Research’. So, it seems this might be an evolving resource!
At UOW, Career Ready Learning of Higher Degree Researchers (CRLH900) is an elective zero credit point subject for HDR students that aims to engage you further in the process of informed decision making for your future career.
At UOW, download the ‘What do HDR graduates do?’ list of resources to find career inspiration for your future
What other useful resources have you found that helped you research your future options? Please share them with your peers in the comments below.