Namely, average students take more than 8 years to earn a PhD, which means that they are around 33 by that time. In the meantime, your peers will already have several years of serious professional engagements and a lot of practical skills. So how do you deal with this issue?
PhD students have a natural right to dream of big careers in their fields of expertise. It sounds logical that employers prefer a highly qualified staff, they usually hire less educated but more experienced professionals.
Namely, average students take more than 8 years to earn a PhD. In the meantime, your peers will already have several years of serious professional engagements and a lot of practical skills. This article, will explain how to translate your thesis into a successful career.
5 Steps to Make a PhD Degree Your Comparative Advantage
Career planning for PhD students requires early preparations and strategic thinking, which definitely should not be the problem for you. Charlotte Bird, a career advisor at CareersBooster resumes service, recently noted: “Overeducated individuals have a full set of useful skills and they simply need to learn how to use it in everyday situations. Once they figure it out, nothing can stop them from building outstanding careers.” Let’s see what these skills are and how to prepare for the life after your PhD program.
Choose a practical topic
Before you choose a research topic, you should think about its practical value and how it can contribute to the specific industry. Try to find the thesis that can shine a new light on concrete issues and solve real-life problems. This way, you will dive deeper into everyday business and analyze it both in theory and practice.
A goal-oriented thesis will give you the opportunity not only to add a PhD degree to your resume but also to present tangible results of your research. If you are able to achieve this, you will prove that you can become a creative and proactive professional – and such employees are the scarcest workforce on the market. Therefore, find a way to combine theory and practice in your academic work and it will give you the best starting point to boost your career.
Grow your network
Networking is one of the crucial elements of career building. Recent surveys proved that it’s the primary means for finding jobs in more than 80% of cases. First of all, you have to establish good relations with your classmates. Some of them won’t climb that high on the academic ladder but they might become renowned experts by the time you finish the thesis.
Secondly, you should use your research to get acquainted with the key opinion leaders from the targeted niche. Try to establish a contact with them and explain what it is that you do. Ask for practical assistance or conduct an in-depth interview to improve your paper but also to establish good relations with these individuals. It will contribute to your PhD work but it might even help you to kickstart your career.
Collaborations are another great model to develop your professional skills and improve the chances of making a big breakthrough. While writing your PhD thesis, you are going to do a lot of research, analysis, and perhaps even experiments. This gives you the opportunity to work in close cooperation with your fellow scholars.
While doing so, you can learn how to behave as the member of a bigger team, which is extremely important in everyday business. Furthermore, some of these colleagues might have a more developed entrepreneurial instinct and you could end up working with them after graduation. Your collaborators also become part of the professional network. If you develop a strong relationship with them, you will probably support each other early on in your careers.
Become an influencer
The good thing about earning a PhD degree is that it makes you an expert even before you launch your career. You should use this fact to establish yourself as an online influencer. To put it simply, you can start publishing expert opinions on social networks such as LinkedIn and raise awareness among industry leaders. This is the best way to present yourself as a desirable employee in any given niche.
Additionally, it would be perfect if you could publish the most interesting parts of your thesis online. Doing so, you will make the followers interested in your work in general but you will also reveal how your college research is contributing to the real-life business. It takes a little bit of self-promotion but still – you totally deserved it!
Mix theory and practice
In case you can come up with a topic narrow enough, it would be perfect to apply for a few days of study visits to one of the companies where you could get a job eventually. You can explain your request stating that it would be great for your research to have a first-hand experience in the targeted industry.
You will really learn a lot this way, which is a benefit of its own. Besides that, it could be your chance to impress potential employers with broad knowledge, fresh ideas, or any other skill that you have. And with your academic experience, this shouldn’t be too big a problem.
It’s never easy for a PhD graduate to reconfigure the mindset and start thinking in a fully practical mode. But this is the simple reality of modern business, so it’s up to you to accept it and prepare for the job search on time. In this article, we revealed 5 easy steps that can help you in this mission. Don’t hesitate to use them and let us know if you have other valuable suggestions for your PhD colleagues.