Start with the transferable skills you identify yourself as having. Then combine that with the area you did your PhD in. In both cases you might need to increase the level of abstraction. So, if your transferable skill is technical writing, maybe think about it as writing more broadly. If your PhD is in biochemistry, maybe think about it as medicine, biology or science.
Now make a list of sectors, industries and organisations that immediately come to mind as being in need of people with those (transferable) skills or working in those fields.
Like any list or documentation process, use a system that works for you. So, that could mean hand written, it could mean in a spreadsheet, it could mean in a Word Doc. It could even mean a mind map that helps link all of the different items in the list.
For the sectors and industries, take the time to identify various organisations who operate in the sector. Use google or other search engines to build out the list. Look for large and small organisations.
A Google research with
your skills will help identify
organisations that will employ you
For the transferable skills, do a job search and limit it to the industries and sectors you identified earlier. If there are too many listings, refine the transferable skills or sectors you searched in. If there are too few, broaden the skills or sectors.
Take a look at each of the ads and note down the organisations and skills they need. How do they relate to you and where you want to work? Add the useful items to your lists of skills and organisations. Of course, if any of the jobs stand out – apply!
With your growing list of organisations, take a look at their web-presence (i.e. website and social media). What do they do? Do they have job lists on the internet? Could you do that work? Could you see yourself doing that work? Take note of what you think is suitable and add that to you list.
You should now have a growing list of organisations you could work for. As well as jobs (specific and broader) that you could do/apply for. Your focus now should be on getting those jobs or working in those organisations. So, find out as much as you can about each. Contact the people that work there. Ask for coffee. Apply for (relevant) jobs. Refine your CV. Develop your skills.
Dr Richard Huysmans is the author of Connect the Docs: A Guide to getting industry partners for academics. He has helped more than 200 PhD students, early career researchers and established academics build their careers. He has provided strategic advice on partnering with industry, growing a career building new centres and institutes as well as establishing new programs. Richard is driven by the challenge of helping researchers be commercially smart. His clients appreciate his cut-through approach. He knows the sector and how to turn ideas into reality.
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