HDR Career Conversations

Supporting research student career development and employability at UOW

August 22, 2019
by whitneys
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Combining the job search, your PhD and a move overseas!

Guest Post by Dr. Jo Khoo

Introduction:  A question that can haunt many PhD students from the beginning of their candidature is, “what will I do after I’ve finished?”  Jo Khoo recently completed her PhD at the University of Wollongong, researching the private health insurance system in Australia and its role in supporting patients with chronic and complex needs.  All job searches can be daunting, but Jo’s had the added complexity that she was moving overseas!  Here, she shares her experience of planning her post-PhD career path and how she secured her current position as a Senior Analyst in Clinical Informatics at Clarify Health Solutions, a health data analytics company based in San Francisco.

For many people, the post-PhD job search can be almost as daunting as the process of thesis completion itself! It is intensely personal, as research has become part of the candidate’s identity, and as a result, the process can be really isolating, particularly if you are going into less familiar territory and looking for a job outside of academia (which is the reality for most PhD candidates).

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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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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?

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April 17, 2018
by saryan
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Interviews: learning from an active HDR job-seeker

“Interviews” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by David Davies

Introduction:  Recent experience gives us an up-to-date insight into current recruitment practice, so I was delighted when UOW PhD researcher Amy Carrad answered our call for contributors to share her experience of attending interviews.

I would like to share with you the diverse experiences of my first career-related job hunt.
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April 5, 2018
by saryan
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Using social media to build your career community

#CelebratingWomen project on Twitter

Introduction:  UOW PhD researcher Rachelle Balez‘ use of social media is a great example of building career community and research profile – needs no further introduction! 

We have all heard the phrase “it’s who you know, not what you know”, when it comes to landing jobs.

But if you are like me, the thought of networking can be very daunting and logistically challenging. Thankfully, social media has made modern networking much less confronting, and it can even be done from the comfort of your bed or couch! Continue Reading →

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