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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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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April 11, 2019
by saryan
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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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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 →

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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?

Continue Reading →

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July 26, 2018
by saryan
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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 →

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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 →

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May 8, 2018
by saryan
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Industry Research Internships – a valuable experience for PhD researchers

Introduction:  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 →

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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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