May 13, 2016, by Joe Ward

The Graduate Jobs Fair – it’s for PhDs too!

By Clare Jones, Senior Careers Adviser (Research Staff and PhDs)

Discover what a career outside academia has to offer and how your specialist knowledge and skills can be applied in a range of areas.

Whether you are at the beginning, or nearing the end of your PhD, visiting the Graduate Jobs Fair is an opportunity for you to research career opportunities outside academia. Over half of PhDs move on from academia immediately after they complete their research degree and while some may continue in areas related to their research or academic subject, others may make a change and enter a career in a different sector.

Even if you currently have academia as your Plan A, researching Plan B is a good idea. Visit the Graduate Jobs Fair to research other options and can speak to companies and their representatives directly.

How can I prepare and who will be there?

Before you come to the fair it is a good idea to research the companies and organisations attending. It is worth visiting the fair even if there is only one company or organisation you want to talk to. If you’ve got a busy day ahead and can only spend limited time at the event, do some preparatory research.

Spend a bit of time looking though the companies attending, check out their websites to find out a bit more about them. For example, GSK and PwC have great opportunities if you’re looking for a career  in the global scientific or financial services sectors.

Knowing something about the organisations you want to speak to is a good approach. It will help you to have more informed discussions with the company representatives.

What do you have to offer?

At the fair, be prepared to talk about your background, including your research, but remember that you may be talking to non-specialists. Some companies may be interested in specialist skills and techniques that you have used, whereas with others you may need to concentrate on the generic skills you have gained, for example, being creative and innovative.  These conversations can help you and the company explore how your knowledge and skills may fit with the opportunities they have to offer.

Remember that you will probably meet a representative from the graduate recruitment team, so you may want to check if there is anyone else in the company you should contact for more specialist roles or vacancies. Some companies, for example, have a research and development recruitment team.

For more information on your options and the support offered through our teams, please visit our PhD and research staff website. The Graduate Jobs Fair is taking place on Monday 8 June between 12-4pm at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University Park. 


Posted in Careers AdviceEarly Career ResearchersGraduate Vacancies