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June 14, 2023, by pcxha8

Researcher Careers Week Reflections

By Hiba Azim, postgraduate researcher

Our Researcher Careers Week was a couple of weeks ago and attending the Networking Brunch was great, bringing together researchers and a wide variety of employers over coffee, croissants and nibbles.

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on my experience, I’ve made some interesting observations about why attending careers events can be so useful.

Costello Medical

The first stand that I stopped by was a medical communications company called Costello Medical. I spoke to one their colleagues, Katy, who talked me through their range of services from health economics to more creative communication projects. I picked up a great brochure which explained their different career paths in detail.

I noted that Hannah was full of pride and excitement when she talked about her workplace – which is a sure indication of a great employer. I made sure to ask her about her working patterns and if the company had work from home options. In a post-pandemic world this is a really crucial question for me, many researchers have high levels of flexibility in their work patterns and don’t want to give that up. Careers events such as this are a great place to ask these sorts of questions as the relaxed environment can make it easier for you to ask questions that you may not in an interview, for example, with the added bonus that the employer representatives will also be able to talk freely.

Porterhouse Medical

After the great chat I had at last year’s event, I couldn’t help but stop by at Porterhouse Medical’s stand. It was great to catch up with their employee representatives and they updated me with their current opportunities. Since I started following them on LinkedIn, I became aware of a subsection of their company called Porterhouse Insights. From the website I understood that they provided research insight services but this was the perfect chance to find out more. I asked their talent manager, Jan, if it would be possible to split an internship across the two different divisions. “Anything is possible at Porterhouse Medical!” A great response from Jan, illustrating the benefit of attending such events – I probably wouldn’t have thought to ask this during an application or interview but had no trouble during an organic conversation.

Reflections – which employers are you drawn to?

As I sat down to write this, I couldn’t help but notice that I was consistently drawn to employers and career opportunities that allowed me to communicate, collaborate and work in a healthcare-related industry. Coming to that realisation has acted as a giant red arrow pointing me in the direction that I should be going. This is probably the number one benefit of attending careers events no matter what – even if you have no idea what you want, or you (think) are certain about your next role or none of the employers interest you. Even in all three of those scenarios as you peruse the stands sipping on coffee and nibbling on your brownie, you’ll find that you’ll see a stand that makes you stop. Makes you think “oh, that could be interesting.” Maybe you even stop for a chat or to pick up a brochure. That’s your arrow, point out a direction that might just be the one for you.

If you attended this years Researcher Careers Week, ask yourself what were you drawn to? What’s involved in those types of roles? What about the employers that drew you in? Or maybe a good work-life balance, opportunities for progression, or the chance to continue building your technical skillset?

Reflecting on these questions can help you figure out what’s really important to you and then build your job search around those things to ensure you’re heading in the right direction.

If you’re still not sure about what direction you’re heading in, it always helps to get a professional opinion. Why not book in for a quick chat with the dedicated PGR Careers team to help you get started.

Posted in Choosing Your CareerPhD Students