HDR Career Conversations

Supporting research student career development and employability at UOW

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 →

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 →

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 →

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

r by an 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 →

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 →

July 26, 2018
by saryan
5 Comments

The Five Fs of Leadership

Guest Post by Dr. Alfred Chidembo

Introduction:  Alfred was one of the first students I met when I came to UOW in 2013.  He made an impact then, and he is certainly making an impact on many lives now:  through his Not-for-profit organization Aussie Books for Zim, and through his contributions to the UOW community.  He has delivered student leadership training through UOWx, hosted student teams as part of our student consultancy program Univative and participated on a panel at the HDR Shaping your Employability event late in 2017.  After his inspiring talk at that event, I asked him to share his leadership message through our HDR Careers Conversations blog… and here it is! 

Sometimes leadership is thrust upon you and you find yourself thrown into the deep end where you assess yourself and ask the question, “what have I got to give?” I had a deep look inside and realized that the cupboard was empty except for one quality that I knew I always had, just one: enthusiasm. It happened to me Continue Reading →

June 27, 2018
by saryan
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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 →

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”

Continue Reading →

May 8, 2018
by saryan
0 comments

Industry Research Internships – a valuable experience for PhD researchers

HisIntroduction:  The Australian Postgraduate Research internship scheme is driving university- industry collaboration by facilitating internships for PhD students in industry and public organisations.  Yue Ma, a UOW PhD researcher in statistics has recently completed an internship with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  Thanks Yue for describing your experience in applying for the internship, your experience during the internship and the learning you gained.

Each year the APR-internship program offers internship opportunities to PhD researchers. As a PhD student in statistics, I had an opportunity to take on one of the APR-internship projects which requires a collaborative research project with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). I benefited a lot from this six-month internship project and I would like to share my experience which could be valuable to other researchers considering participating. Continue Reading →

April 23, 2018
by saryan
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iUnivative student consultancy programme: A PhD student’s experience

Introduction: Since coming to UOW, iUnivative has been one of my ‘pet’ projects (I was lucky enough to co-ordinate it in 2014 and 2015).  I’ve seen the huge benefits it can give HDR students in recognising their high-level skills in a very different setting.  UOW PhD researcher Lisa Belfiore is a recent iUnivative ‘graduate’ – let’s hear about her incredible experience…

As a final-year PhD student, I’ve been thinking about what I would like to do career-wise after graduation. While my PhD is in science, I recognise that my knowledge and experience opens up many opportunities for me outside of academia, including in industry, government, consultancy and business related-roles. Participating in iUnivative provided me with some business and corporate knowledge, giving me a taste of what alternative career paths might look like, and showed me how I can apply my transferable skill set to a science career outside of academia. Continue Reading →

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