Careers Network

Postgraduate Researchers

Postgraduate Researchers photo from postcard

Career Support for Researchers

The Careers Network provides support to postgraduate researchers. Whether your desired career is in academia or elsewhere in industry, in the commercial sector, charitable organisation or even if you would like to set up your own business; we are committed to supporting you with careers guidance, advice and information to enhance your career decision making and smooth employment transition.  

For information visit Access careers help and click on the PGR tab to see the full range of services available to postgraduate researchers and how to book an appointment.

Career Management

What career path are you likely to follow?

  • Progressive in a chosen occupation or organisation?
  • Several jobs simultaneously?
  • A diverse and varied career?

Whatever path you take you will need to know:

  • What it is that motivates you (what you want)
  • What job options are available (there are more than you think)
  • What is going on in the labour market (new jobs types being created daily)

 What do researchers do?

  • Read Vitae’s publications about what do researchers do after their PhD (you will need to log in to read this material, LU are Vitae members so you just need to register).
  • Watch case study videos of doctoral graduates working in a range of different roles

The first steps on your career path can be identified by:

Career Workshops for Researchers

Exploring Career Futures- In this workshop you will investigate your career drivers and how, once identified, these can assist your career choices and decision making.  We will use a range of tools and methods to encourage self–reflection and discussion and also consider how to use the information gained to inform job search strategies.  You will leave the workshop with a clearer idea of your career direction and will have identified some steps to move forward.

Dates:

Monday 9 October 2017, 2.00pm-3.30pm, Graduate House

Tuesday 6 March 2018, 10.00am-11.30am, Graduate House

 

Marketing your Research Skills - Do you recognise the value of your research skills to employers? Marketing yourself appropriately is essential in today’s job market. In this workshop we will recognise the value of self-knowledge to career management and increase your awareness of how to market yourself effectively at all stages of the application process. 

Dates: 

Monday 23 October 2017, 2.00pm-3.30pm, Graduate House

Tuesday 3 July 2018, 10.00am-11.30am, Graduate House

 

Making a start with your CV (Academic and Industry) - Competition for academic and industry sector jobs is ever increasing; therefore, making effective applications is essential. In this workshop you will be introduced to basic CV writing guidelines, plot your current or newly created CV against suggested criteria and start building an effective CV that will form part of your overall application.   As a result, you will have a better understanding of the requirements for making effective applications.

Dates: 

Monday 6 November 2017, 2.00pm-3.00pm, Graduate House

Tuesday 10 April 2018, 10.00am-11.00am, Graduate House

 

Tailoring your CV (Academic and Industry) - A standard CV is no longer sufficient to support your overall application for a job; employers want to see that you have used the job description to tailor your CV to meet their requirements; based on your skills, knowledge and experience.  In this workshop we will analyse an academic and/or industry/commercial sector job description and gain an understanding of how to ‘sell’ your skills and experience effectively in well-presented applications.  On completion you will be better placed to write applications that secure an invitation to interview.

Tuesday 14 November 2017, 2.00-3.00pm, Graduate House

Monday 23 April 2018, 2.00pm-3.00pm, Graduate House

 

Preparing to succeed at Interview - Interviews can be daunting occasions; however with appropriate and sufficient preparation you might even learn to enjoy them.  This is a very practical workshop from which you will increase your confidence and performance (and ultimately success) at interviews.  We will consider how best to prepare, the type of interview formats employers are using and practice in a safe environment; ready for the day you meet face to face with your prospective employer.

Dates: 

Monday 27 November 2017 2.00pm-3.30pm, Graduate House

Tuesday 15 May 2018  2.00pm-3.00pm, Graduate House

 

Networking made easy (in a careers context) - Networking works magically. Creating good networks is essential to finding job opportunities and identifying career options. People often lack confidence or ‘know how’ to network effectively. In this workshop we will investigate the benefits of networking, uncover your personal networks and learn an easy and accessible way for everyone to develop career networks.  As a result you will build your confidence and expertise to enable to you to develop your networks going forward.

Dates: 

Monday 15 Jan 2018 2.00pm-3.00pm, Graduate House

Tuesday 5 June 2018, 10.00am-11.00am, Graduate House

 

Networking Practical - Effective networking is the most effective way to identify hidden opportunities, including those related to your career.  The problem is people are usually reluctant to engage with others and develop contacts.  This workshop is a very practical event; you will learn how to write an effective elevator pitch, make initial contact with another person and gain confidence talking about your research in a way others can understand.  Afterwards you will be able to practice your new found skills in the ‘real’ world.

Dates:

Tuesday 13 February 2018  10.00am-11.00am, Graduate House

Monday 18 June 2018, 2.00pm-3.00pm, Graduate House

 

Book via the Graduate School website, where you will need to login in using your University username and password.

Applications and CVs

Before writing your application or CV

  • Check the application procedure to identify what is required - application form completion, CV attached, covering letter?
  • For on-line applications, check for any word count restrictions
  • Research the job role
  • Research the organisation
  • Refer to the Researcher Career Contacts database – is there an alumni researcher working in this role or organisation who could provide valuable information?
  • For each requirement, make some brief notes identifying how you match the requirement eg. “undertaken research - PhD/Researcher at LU “, “teamworking” – “PGR committee rep/research project team member”
  • Consider what you will say about criteria you do not 100% match
  • Recognise level of skill, experience or knowledge required eg. “ability to ….”, “experience of ….”, “substantial knowledge of …”

Whilst writing

  • Analyse the job description and person specification
  • Identify the key requirements
  • Start writing in the order of the requirements for the job (person spec, referring back to job description)
  • Provide evidence, not just statements eg. “Gained excellent oral communication skills from presenting at conferences”, or “received positive feedback from delegates when I explained complex technical information clearly” rather than “I have oral excellent communication skills”
  • Use STAR(R) to answer skills/competency based questions (further details available in our PDF The STAR(R) Technique for Researchers)
  • Make it easy for the reader to find the information they are seeking – eg. use their words, provide signposts, use clear headings
  • More general guidance for writing applications and CVs can be found in our leaflet 
  • If writing a CV, refer to the PDF below‌ - also available in the Make Applications section of our website
  • Double check against person and specification job description, has anything been missed?
  • Ask for feedback – from your Careers Adviser, friends or colleagues. Remember it is your application/CV everyone will have a different opinion, you can choose to use what suggestions are made or not
  • Proof read, proof read, proof read 

Academic applications

Guidance and examples are available on Vitae’s website 

Covering letters for academic jobs

Access useful guidance from jobs.ac.uk

Applications for industry/commercial sector

Follow the suggestions above, but also:

More useful information is available from Target jobs 

Interviews

Interview Preparation

  • For general advice on preparing for interviews see the information given in the Interviews section of our website. For further information for Researchers see below.
  • Book an appointment with the Careers Adviser for Researchers for an interview coaching session to practice before the interview.
  • Attend the Successful Interviews for Researchers workshop (see above)
  • Review specific information for researchers below
  • Make contact with a Researcher Career Contact in a similar role or organisation to ask for interview preparation tips

Whatever the context you should prepare:

  • Yourself - review your CV and your application form.
  • Your knowledge of the organisation – what are their strengths, how does their business fit with your background and expertise, who are their competitors?
  • Your knowledge of the position – what can you offer, what skills and experience do you have which make you a winning candidate.

Academic Interviews

  • Expect to meet academics from the department and at least one from another research field – find out all you can about those on the interview panel, the research team and the institution
  • Refer to the job description to identify key requirements – you will be asked questions about these. You can draft answers to skills based questions in advance using The STAR(R) Technique for Researchers
  • Questions will focus on your research to date, your teaching experience, what technical or specialist knowledge you have, your administrative ability, and how you see your research developing in the future
  • Increasingly academic roles request experience of sourcing funding, publications and conference attendance – prepare and practice answers to these questions so that you look comfortable answering them
  • You may be required to give a presentation on a set topic - bear in mind the audience and ensure the presentation is at an appropriate level of detail
  • In preparation, talk to lecturers in your department about their interview experiences and use this information to inform and improve your interview performance

Typical academic interview questions could include:

  • What interests you most about your research?
  • Describe how you typically approach a project?
  • What problems have arisen and how have you resolved these?
  • If you could change your research in any way, what would you change?
  • How would your supervisor evaluate your work?
  • What methodologies have you chosen and why?
  • To what extent is your research a team project?
  • Where does your research fit in with other work in this area?

Moving into industry/commercial sector

  • Telephone interviews are becoming more popular for initial screening
  • Second interviews may include assessment activities, eg. online tests, group exercise, presentation, as well as a panel interview
  • Refer to the job description to identify key requirements – you will be asked questions about these. You can draft answers to skills based questions in advance using The STAR(R) Technique for Researchers
  • Review your application and CV – this has resulted in your interview invitation, the panel will want to know more about what you have said on your application, do not be tempted to provide a lot of new information.
  • If you are asked to give a presentation, bear in mind the audience and ensure the presentation is at an appropriate level of detail
  • When moving sectors it is vitally important to have a good knowledge of the job roles, the organisations, their competitors and a reasonable level of commercial awareness.
  • You will need to provide convincing answers to questions about your reasons for wanting to move sectors and give examples explaining your transferable skills
  • Strengthen your answers by explaining how what you have to offer benefits the organisation

Questions you ask the panel

If you’ve done sufficient research you will have identified some questions, the answers to which will help you make up your mind about whether the job is for you, if you are offered it. Asking some questions of the panel shows interest and that you have done your research – always ask some questions.

You might want to ask:

  • about training once you are in the post. 
  • how the company/research unit sees itself developing.
  • how many other researchers/staff will be in your unit.
  • what sorts of opportunities there might be for secondment to other departments.
  • what would be the main tasks expected in the first six months.

 It is not appropriate to ask questions about holiday entitlement and benefits at this stage.

Researchers Inductions

Inductions aim to help you to understand what a doctorate at Loughborough University is all about, how it is regulated, and recognise some of the issues that you are likely to face over your research period.  We also cover the skills training requirement, with some suggestions for engaging with your own development including opportunities provided by the Doctoral College.  We share information about the support facilities you can access as research students, and some of the events and facilities provided by the Students' Union.  Inductions provide the opportunity for you to meet staff who are here to support you, to meet other students who are similarly at the start of their studies, and to start to build your own networks on campus.

Dates:

25 October

29 November

17 January

18 April

Book via the Graduate School website, where you will need to login in using your University username and password.  For further information http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/doctoral-college/training-events/induction/

 

Inspiring Women at LU (Athena Swan)

To support the University’s Athena SWAN endeavours, Loughborough’s Doctoral College is delighted to announce its first ‘Inspiring Women at Loughborough’ event - open to all Doctoral Researchers and Research Staff. Hear leading members of academic staff at Loughborough University share personal and inspirational accounts of their career journeys since being a Doctoral Researcher. During the event there will be the opportunity for you to ask questions, network with others and learn more about Athena SWAN.

11 October - 1.00-3.00pm

Book via the Graduate School website, where you will need to login in using your University username and password.   For further information http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/doctoral-college/training-events/inspiringwomen/

Employer Event for Researchers

Date

23 November

Book via the Graduate School website, where you will need to login in using your University username and password.

Research Conference

Date

7 December

Book via the Graduate School website, where you will need to login in using your University username and password.