About half of LSE PhD students work outside academia after their studies. For some, the transition is smooth, for others the journey is longer and involves some rejections from employers. A well prepared CV or application form increases your chances of success, but how do you market yourself in another sector?
Employers tell us they expect written applications to be tailored to their role and organisation. Our PhD careers consultant Catherine Reynolds explains what this means for you:
‘Tailoring’ is probably more difficult than you realise, I think it means having a good long think about what you have been doing during the past few years and considering these experiences from the point of view of your next selection committee. They are looking for a good match with their role and organisation, so make it easy for them to see how you meet their requirements. You’ll have to re-write your CV to explain the fit between you, the role and the organisation in language recognisable to the selector. You might have developed an academic CV that includes sections and sub heading irrelevant for your next role. Change it now! Be a thorough, ruthless editor of your own CV.
Rhetoric matters. You might want to think about connections between your PhD experience and the tasks the employer requires. Think about these in the employer’s terms and adopt the appropriate language. A simple version of this process appears on the careers page of Find a PhD.
Below are a few examples. Have some fun thinking up more!
There are many ways to describe your PhD experiences, some will help you get to the interview stage. It’s your story and you can tell it many ways. When you are telling it for career purposes, the time pressed selector is a critical audience looking for quick solutions. Don’t give them reasons to put you in their ‘maybe’ pile. Get yourself in to the ‘we’ve got to meet this person’ pile.
We can help you learn to do this – there’s guidance on our website and we run seminars for PhD students and research staff on CVs and cover letters for jobs outside academia for which slides are online. Seminars and events run throughout the year and you can use one-to-one careers appointments for feedback on your CV, covering letter, interview preparation, whatever sector you want to work in. This service is for PhD students, PhD alumni and research staff on fixed term contracts. I look forward to working with you!