Career support

Ultimately, not every PhD candidate can find a place in science at the end of their doctoral journey. However, the self-evidence with which this is written here is not a common good. Many PhD candidates start a doctoral journey with the idea of having definitively chosen science. Supervisors too are often unaware of the career prospects of the starting PhD candidate. Concretely, this means that more attention must be paid to the period after the doctorate and the possibilities of the PhD candidate both within and outside science during the recruitment of PhD candidates and also during the doctoral phase. For example, if a PhD candidate wants to have a good chance of securing grants after the doctorate, a conscious choice can be made to gain international experience during the doctoral journey.

In addition to increasing the chances of securing a position within academia, a PhD candidate can also prepare for a potential career outside of science during their doctoral phase. For example, contacts could be made with the business sector or the government during the doctoral journey through a dual doctoral program, an internship, or a mentor. Another important aspect for the smooth transition of PhD candidates to the business world is a broad education for PhD candidates. Instead of offering solely research-oriented education, it is important to also equip PhD candidates with so-called transferable skills. These are skills that are valuable outside of science as well, such as management and presentation skills. In this way, young PhD candidates are better prepared for a career outside of science and are more attractive to the business world. For concrete assistance in thinking about and finding a job outside of science, universities can set up job market bureaus, or give the existing bureaus for students the task of also helping PhD candidates with this

Final words

Your career is YOUR career. Although PNN believes that the employer should be active in guiding PhD candidates to a subsequent job, there is also a clear task for the PhD candidates themselves. Inquire in time about the possibilities that your supervisor(s), advisor(s), or colleague(s) see regarding a follow-up career in science. Also talk about what you can do yourself to increase that chance and inquire about the facilities that your employer provides in this regard. The instruments outlined above are available, but there may be more. Also, make career advice a central focus as soon as you are halfway through your doctoral journey. Experience shows that the last year is too busy to get career advice and guidance. Use your third year for this purpose. Also, focus explicitly on the external labor market, as 8 out of 10 PhD candidates eventually end up outside the academic research field.

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