HDR Career Conversations

Supporting research student career development and employability at UOW

May 22, 2019
by whitneys

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

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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June 27, 2018
by saryan
1 Comment

Beyond research: essential skills you learn in the PhD

Guest post by Dr. Katharina Freund

Introduction:  There are an increasing number of opportunities for Higher Degree Research graduates to use their skills and understanding of Higher Education and research to work across a range of professional units in Universities.  I’m delighted to have an input from Dr. Katharina Freund, UOW Digital Media and Communications PhD graduate and Senior Learning Designer at ANU to give us a thorough overview of how valuable her research skills and training have been to her career.  Over to you, Katie…


While I was completing my PhD study at UOW in Media & Communications, I was sure I was going to become an academic. Absolutely positive. I was working as a casual tutor at the time, and the course I was teaching in required me to join Twitter. It was through Twitter that I became exposed to many of the broader issues in higher education: an increasingly casualised workforce, limited research positions, precarious working conditions. I saw many friends and colleagues struggling to balance family life with contract work and publication deadlines. I read a lot of what is commonly called “quit lit”, and was inspired by alt-ac (or alternative academic) career paths. Very rapidly I realised that what I wanted, more than being a researcher, was job stability. And that I would have to look beyond the confines of academic positions to find it. Continue Reading →

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May 14, 2018
by saryan
1 Comment

Creating businesses that transform society

5 pieces of advice from inspiring entrepreneurs at the Global Summit of Women Youth Forum

Introduction: I was really happy to be asked to nominate some HDR students to attend the Global Summit of Women Youth Forum in Sydney recently.  UOW PhD researcher Amy Boyle was one of those nominated and here she gives us some of the key take home messages from the event, relevant to readers regardless of age or gender!

On the 27th of April, I travelled to the International Convention Centre in Sydney with four other students for the Global Summit of Women – Youth Forum. The Global Summit of Women is an annual conference that invites women from over 60 countries in the public, private and non-profit sectors to discuss business strategies that will expand women’s economic and career opportunities internationally. This year, the Youth Forum brought together four young entrepreneurs to share their advice on “Creating Businesses that Transform Society”.

Panel discussion “Creating Businesses that Transform Society”

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March 27, 2018
by saryan

When things line up… Securing your first academic post

Guest post by Dr. Travis Holland

Introduction:  There is no doubt the academic sector is increasingly competitive, or that its the sector many HDR students aspire to.  I loved Travis’ original blog post on LinkedIn describing how he managed to get things lined up in such a competitive academic sector.  I’ve known Travis as a project colleague, a contributor to our HDR conference and as a job-seeking HDR student.  As the latter, he struck me as clear and confident of the value he could add in a range of target sectors– an element essential to employability.  His advice will be useful to many students looking to get ‘things lined up’ for their future careers.


Source: Charles Sturt University

For most PhD students, the likelihood of landing an ongoing academic role is low, with increasing rates of casualisation, budgetary pressures on universities, and an oversupply of candidates. However, I managed to successfully land a role that I’m very excited to take up at a progressive, community-focused University before I had finalised my PhD.

There are a series of factors that converged to make the right role for me and to make me the right candidate for that position. Continue Reading →

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