HDR Career Conversations

Supporting research student career development and employability at UOW

November 7, 2019
by whitneys
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Leave your comfort zone & expand your horizons: Create an internship through the APR program

Introduction:  The Australian Postgraduate Research (APR) Internship program offers HDR students the opportunity to carry out a 3-5 month research internship with industry.  Advertised internships at the APR internship website tend to fall into STEM research categories.  However, the scheme is open to HDR students of all disciplines.  So how can research students from other disciplines take advantage of this great opportunity?  Here Amy Montgomery, a PhD student in Nursing, shares her (sometimes scary) experience of initiating an industry partnership and creating her own internship under the program – Well done Amy!

I started my PhD with ideas bigger than Ben Hur. I wanted to research and change everything in the world of Delirium Care. I think most PhD candidates can relate to me here. So, as all PhD journeys start, I spent time fine-tuning and condensing my idea.

 

Once my idea was developed, I tested it on a ward in a public hospital. The same public hospital I have work for my entire nursing career. The intervention worked and the results were positive!

THE END…well not quite. Continue Reading →

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September 2, 2019
by whitneys
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Solving real-life problems and learning from industry – UOW STEM Hackathon

Guest Post by Terence Vu

Introduction: Careers Central recently co-ordinated the inaugural UOW STEM Hackathon as part of the UOW STEM Careers Expo in early August.  Here Terence Vu, a PhD researcher in the Faculty of Engineering & Information Sciences, reflects on his participation, what he learned and how he developed his skills. 

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels (license)

The STEM Career Expo has been traditionally received by researchers like myself with much enthusiasm – a once-a-year event for students to meet up with representatives from various organizations from a wide range of industries and sectors. To know more about the companies and what to expect from the job –directly from the staff– is a rare opportunity. For the first time this year, I found another career learning opportunity to be excited about: the UOW STEM Hackathon.

Teams of UOW students came to UOW STEM Hackathon for a chance to solve real-life business problems. Continue Reading →

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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).

Continue Reading →

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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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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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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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September 4, 2018
by saryan
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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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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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April 5, 2018
by saryan
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Using social media to build your career community

ntroduction:  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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March 27, 2018
by saryan
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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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