CREATING A CAREER AFTER ACADEMIA: STRATEGIES TO BREAK INTO A NEW FIELD

Trainings I offer on this topic typically focus either on the more strategic side of orientation or on the more technical side of writing applications and preparing for interviews – although the latter can also contain many strategic aspects and both focus topics can be combined!

In the following I present an outline for each focus.

 

TRAINING FOCUS 1: STRATEGIES TO FIND ORIENTATION ON THE NON-ACADEMIC JOB MARKET

All my trainings can be booked both online and on-site and will be tailored to your needs.

TARGET GROUPS

PhD students and postdocs, cross-disciplinary or specifically for the humanities, the social sciences or natural sciences, or for individual subject groups. (For example, I have already given career strategy workshops for historians and molecular geneticists respectively.)

CONTENT AND GOALS

These trainings outline a strategic plan for the participants career orientation after academic research. The following elements can be part of this training:

  • identification of the participants’ concrete, individual challenges regarding their career development
  • identifying participants‘ needs, strengths, motivations and goals
  • mapping out possible professional roles which integrate the above mentioned aspects
  • getting to know possible strategies that can be used to test hypotheses about future job roles
  • testing and subsequent evaluating of some of these strategies
  • inspiration through real examples of career paths of people with PhDs with comparable subject backgrounds

METHODS

It is important to me that the participants of my workshops have many opportunities to exchange, discuss and work in different-sized groups, to give and receive peer feedback and to self-reflect. Therefore, my methodical focus lies on participant interaction as well as interaction with the trainer. At most 25% of my trainings consist of classical trainer input, i.e. the transmission of content and knowledge in the form of presentations.

In addition to this general didactic approach, I use different models and methods for my career orientation trainings, such as:

 

  • Possible Future Selves (D. Parfit)
  • Success Stories (R. Bolles)
  • Design Thinking (Clark, Osterwalder, Pigneur)
  • Test-and-learn model (H. Ibarra)

TRAINING FOCUS 2: APPLICATIONS AND JOB INTERVIEWS FOR THE NON-ACADEMIC JOB MARKET

All my trainings can be booked both online and on-site and will be tailored to your needs.

TARGET GROUPS

PhD students and postdocs, cross-disciplinary or specifically for the humanities, the social sciences or natural sciences, or for individual subject groups. (For example, I have already given an application and interview trainings to plasma physicists, and one for medical biologists and one for marine biologists are in the planning stages.)

PREREQUISITE

The career orientation should ideally be completed and participants have one to three target job fieds.

CONTENT AND GOALS

The main objective of this training is to identify and present the optimal match between the candidate’s profile and the requirements of the job or job field, both in the written application documents and the job interviews. Another aspect of this training is to make the entire application process more transparent and less frightening by presenting facts and figures about the job market for academics with a PhD. Strengthening the confidence of international, female and queer researchers on the German job market is of special importance to me.

METHODS

It is important to me that the participants of my workshops have many opportunities to exchange, discuss and work in different-sized groups, to give and receive peer feedback and to self-reflect. Therefore, my methodical focus lies on participant interaction as well as interaction with the trainer. At most 25% of my trainings consist of classical trainer input, i.e. the transmission of content and knowledge in the form of presentations.

Methodical elements of my application and job interview trainings can include:

  • trainer and peer feedback on the application documents before and/or after the improvement, as well as on presentations in interview simulations
  • learning from (partly anonymised) real-life example CVs and cover letters, matching the participants’ subject backgrounds
  • Target Job Deconstruction – an analytical approach, described in this book by Martin Yates, that helps to learn the “language” of the future job field to enable the candidate to “translate” their own skills for their future employee
  • Video feedback
  • Preparing and practicing self-presentations (with feedback)
  • Information and discussion about salary negotiations

FEEDBACK FROM PAST PARTICIPANTS

I met Ulrike during her postdoctoral workshop “discovering career paths beyond academia”. She skilfully applied design thinking methods, psychological tests, group, and individual work to help us explore the first steps into non-academic careers. My two days with Ulrike were full of learnings, and energising at the same time. I then contacted Ulrike to help me prepare a stellar cover letter for a job in a completely different industry. With Ulrike’s knowledge, and swift feedback my cover letter improved immensely. She also drew my attention back to my transferable skills, every time I focussed on my “transition gap”. Thank you! In short, I was invited for an interview and got the job.

Antje - Postdoc in Ornithology

Now: Project Manager Early Childhood Education at private foundation, Max-Planck-Society | On-site in Magdeburg

I liked the optimistic and constructive atmosphere during the workshop. The structure (3 days held at two-week intervals) was helpful and allowed for covering a wide range of topics that Ulrike prepared on demand from the group: self-presentation skills, interview training as well as strategies for career orientation. I particularly liked the variety of exercises and discussion formats. Very professional and helpful! Thank you!

Johnny - PhD in Sociology

Dahlem Research School | On-site in Berlin

Your workshop was really helpful and a very good opportunity to look back in myself, share opinions with people on similar career tracks, while having diverse backgrounds. It was a nice and new experience for me.

Hwan - Postdoc in Astrophysics

Max Planck-Society | On-site in Tübingen

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