Careers Service

Intermediate year(s)

Employability framework

Improving your career prospects

The intermediate years of your PhD can be a time for making breakthroughs - and for wondering if it will ever end...

During the tough times, occasionally take some time out to focus on yourself, and remind yourself that there is life after a PhD.

This is the time to:

  • really lay the foundations for your post-PhD career;
  • establish contacts who may be the key to your next job;
  • add achievements and experiences which will impress future interviewers;
  • gain personal insights into the kind of life you want in the future.

Use this framework to assess your progress so far, and plan your actions for next year, to help ensure that you emerge from your PhD with a strong foundation for whatever career comes next:

  • Explore - explore where your strengths lie; explore possible future careers; Pathways - Career Options for Researchers.
  • Connect - who can you call on to help you through your PhD; your support network; start to establish your academic reputation; connect to help your career beyond your PhD (mentors, developing your professional profile, careers events).
  • Reflect - make sense of what you've done and plan for next year.
  • Communicate - get your message across; communicate to other researchers; communicate to non-academic audiences; start to build your CV; applications for teaching roles during your PhD; applications for part-time jobs.
  • Persevere - the challenges of being part of an elite group; reflect on your triumphs - and disasters; enlist the support of others; ask for feedback; persevere with networking; overcome Imposter Syndrome.