PhD students or staff, are you considering your career opportunities? Here are three ways to make career progression happen:

1. Gain experience

Getting some experience alongside your PhD working, volunteering, or in an internship can have obvious benefits for now and your later career development. Managing your time to include additional activity may seem overwhelming but it really does offer return on investment. Do it!

Some work and internship opportunities are advertised on CareerHub, others will come to you by email, and others are worth seeking out yourself. LSE Careers can help you decide, plan and secure these experiences.

One current PhD student writes about an aspect of her additional experience:

I sit on the Member’s Panel of NEST (National Employment Savings Trust), the workplace pension set up by the government. Our remit is to provide an advisory role to the Trustees of NEST on the operation, development or amendment of the scheme from the perspective of scheme members and potential members. I applied for this deliberately as I saw it as a way to improve my industry contacts in a world related to my PhD, to provide potential links to people who might be interested in research, and to increase my knowledge of the field. It involves a meeting about 6 times a year, so it is very light work. I think my work with NEST has been really useful – I feel that it enhances my professional credibility, and I learn a lot from doing it. I really like to see the connection between my PhD and the ‘real’ world and it is not a huge drain on my time.

Opportunities for PhD students we’ve heard about recently include:

  • Part-time research assistant position at Ipsos Mori in London, working with an LSE PhD alumna – email for more details.
  • Arabic speaker with ethnographic research skills needed for one month in Saudi Arabia – email for more details.
  • British Library Internships – profiles of each of the 14 placements plus the application guidelines are available online (deadline 20 February).
  • For USA nationals the Summer Fellows Program, Congressional Budget Office offers a paid internship programme for graduate students in economics and public policy.
  • LSE advertises internships on CareerHub and has an annual Parliamentary Internships scheme open to PhD students

2. Learn about the labour market

LSE Careers is hosting a number of events which will increase your learning about the labour market, your career choices, and managing the process of developing a career during your PhD. Sign up for events such as:

  • Managing your career – 23 January 4-5pm. This interactive seminar is aimed at PhD students and research staff who are thinking about different career options and/or are unsure about which career path to take. It is a chance to reflect on what is important to you, so you can use this knowledge to inform and plan for your career decisions.
  • Careers in qualitative research in the International Development sector – 27 January, 9-10am. In this informal seminar Dwan Kaoukji (LSE PhD) will talk about her career as an international development qualitative researcher. Dwan is currently Senior Research Manager for Girl Effect and has also worked as a Qualitative Researcher for BBC Media Action (the BBC’s international development charity).
  • Working in international organisations, think tanks and government roles after a PhD – 1 February, 5:30-7pm. LSE PhD alumni share their career stories and experiences of finishing up and moving out of academia. Speakers are currently working in various roles in international organisations, think tanks and central government.
  • Using your time now effectively for your future – 20 February, 12:30-2pm. PhD students are constantly making decisions about how best to use their time. This seminar will help you to understand the range of skills, experience and contacts you can gain while doing your PhD, and help prepare you for your career after LSE
  • Interviews for academic posts – 1 March, 12:30-1:30pm. An introduction to interviews for academic jobs for PhD students and research staff, covering how to prepare and what to expect.
  • PhD mature students lunch – 6 March, 12:30-1:30pm. PhD students who have more than 10 years’ work experience have different needs, in terms of career progression and life after the PhD, from others. This informal lunch is a chance to meet some of your peers again. Catherine Reynolds, LSE careers consultant for PhD students, will facilitate a discussion about careers issues relevant for people in your situation.
  • Finding research fellowships and applying for post-doc funding – 6 March, 4-5pm. Develop your understanding of research fellowships in academia at this seminar, where you will learn the process involved in finding and applying successfully.

3. Nurture your network

People are the key to your learning about opportunities and ways to secure them. Now’s the time to improve your LinkedIn profile and connect with LSE alumni in organisations and roles of interest to you.

Some of the events we host give you a chance to make contacts. Start with the informal, weekly events:

  • Meet an Alum – coming up are sessions focused on environmental policy; government relations; international trade; data science; social innovation; real estate and more.
  • Breakfasts – coming up are health; media; international development; data; conflict and political risk and more.
  • Our International Development Programme (IDEP) runs from January to March.

You can also meet employers and their representatives at all our employer-led events. For example, Asia Development Bank; HSBC; EY; PWC; Ford; KPMG; Capco; and Save the Children are all here this term. There’s also our annual European Internships Fair in Brussels for people interested in opportunities with multi-national and local organisations.

4. Use LSE Careers

A discussion with a Careers Consultant can help you make sense of all this, and the issues above can be reviewed in complete confidentiality with our PhD Careers Consultant Catherine Reynolds at whatever stage you’re at in your PhD studies or early research career. Confidential one-to-one careers consultations are available every week, use this to plan your career strategy, make decisions about your future and gain feedback on applications and interviews.

We look forward to meeting you!