Careers information and advice for PGRs

Career Planning

It is important to start planning ahead for your future career early on in your research journey. Whether you have a chosen career in mind or if you are still unsure, you need to be proactive in making yourself employable and preparing yourself for making the transition to a career within or beyond academia.  


What you can do throughout the duration of your research:

  1. Take advantage of opportunities to develop skills and gain experiences which complement your research degree (e.g. by completing your PhD training programme).
  2. Talk to as many people as possible who are employed in fields that might interest you. These conversations will help deepen your insight, challenge your ideas and enable you to articulate and define your thinking. You may also gain helpful advice and contacts for the future.
  3. Raise the profile of your research and practice, communicating your passion to different audiences (e.g. through the 3 Minute Thesis; Huddersfield's Graduate Conference).
  4. If your aim is to continue your research by becoming a lecturer, gain skills in supporting students (e.g. by acting as a Graduate Teaching Assistant; gaining HEA Associate status; mentoring students).
  5. If your aim is to undertake research outside of the university sector, develop links with specialised research institutes and companies (e.g. by joining professional bodies as a student member; attending trade conference; joining LinkedIn groups).
  6. If your aim is to work in a non-research role, consider how your research skills and domain knowledge, plus other interestsand work experience might transfer into new contexts (e.g. by using soem of our creative career decision making tools; adding new skills and experiences to your existing package; discussing your options with a Careers Consultant).
  7. If your aim is to become an entrepreneur, whether by freelancing, setting up your own business or commercialising your IP. Use the support available from the University's Enterprise Unit.

Careers and Employability Service

The University of Huddersfield’s Careers and Employability Centre is located on level four of the Student Central Building and provides comprehensive in-person and remote support for PGRs including:

  1. Careers Guidance appointments with qualified Careers Professionals to discuss career options and / or career planning
  2. Advice and checking of CVs, applications and personal statements
  3. Advice on preparing for interviews, assessment centres and mock interviews
  4. Workshops on career planning and job seeking, as well as employer events
  5. Online digital resources to explore opportunities and support you through the recruitment process.

To see what's on, book an appointment or ask a question.


Self-awareness: A key component of career planning for PGRs

Planning your career is like doing your PhD, both require research. The difference in this case is you are the object of investigation. Reflecting upon yourself is key to knowing what is important to you, what you are drawn towards and where you want to go in life. At the same time, this analysis also identifies the unique mix of knowledge, skills and insight that you have to offer future employers. Use the resources to listen to how others have made the journey from research degree into work and help to understand the options and issues that you are exploring: 

Early Career Blog 

Specialist careers advice for doctoral and post-doctoral  Careers beyond academia 
Jobs on Toast  Unlocking the value of your PhD 
Natural Science 

Postdoc or not?

University of Huddersfield Researcher Environment blog posts  Life after thesis and A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single PhD 
Vitae  Understanding yourself 
Vitae  What do doctoral graduates do? 
Vitae  What do researchers do? 
Vitae Pursuing an academic career

What employers look for, focusing on research careers beyond academia

Wellcome Trust Report

Wellcome Trust report on how PhD students choose careers

Development Opportunities for PGRs

There are many fantastic ways to develop your employability, gain new experiences and discover new thinsg about yourself.

Some of these will be applicable across the board (e.g volunteering, LinkedIn Learning, student roles with the SU). See the Opportunities Catalogue for more information.

Some of these will be ring-fenced for PGRs, see the graduate website for more details.

Using Vitae's Researcher Development Framework (RDF) for professional development

Once you have identified your strengths and areas for development at the beginning of your degree using the Skills Audit, create a plan to address the gaps. Vitae's RDF desribes knowledge, behaviour and attributes of successful researchers. The Getting Started In Research Lens is particualry relevant for PGRs.



Vitae provide a host of useful information about researcher careers, both within academia and beyond academia. The Vitae website features:

  1. Over 150 career narratives by individual researchers working in a variety of fields.
  2. Information about career development.
  3. Advice on a variety of subjects such as how to create an effective researcher CV and what to expect in academic job interviews.
  4. The chance to explore careers inside and beyond academia including what employers are looking for.
  5. Further information on research funding.
  6. An Employability Lens that links to Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (RDF).
  7. The University of Huddersfield Researcher Development Programme, whose workshops are bookable through SkillsForge, are mapped to the four RDF domains to make it easier to search for relevant training.

Networking for PGRs

It is important to build your profile and networks both face to face and online.

  1. PLOS Blogs: Twitter for academic purposes
  2. The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement
  3. Springer Nature: Promoting your research using LinkedIn
  4. blog: How to network effectively
  5. Use SkillsForge to book the RDP workshop entitled Managing Your Digial Academic Profile

PhD Entry Employment Programmes

For those who have, or are about to complete a doctoral degree, there are a small number of organisations with very competitive PhD entry employment programmes, which recruit annually.  These include: Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey (both management consultancy companies), Astra Zeneca and GlaxoSmithKline (pharmaceutical companies), British Petroleum, Microsoft Research, the Bank of England and JP Morgan (investment bank). 

Researchers in Schools

The educational charity - The Brilliant Club - runs several paid schemes for PhD and Master's students to undertake part-time work teaching, coaching and mentoring school pupils and prospective university students. These can be great ways to use your academic skills to energise young people and develop skills relevant to a range of educational roles.

Useful job sites

Useful job sites for both academic posts and roles outside academia requiring or benefiting from PGR/doctoral qualifications:


-Research Jobs Board

-The Research Professional Jobs website and the Research Professional Funding website (for postdoctoral and similar opportunities)

-The Times Higher Education UniJobs (global jobs in universities including academic, research related, management and professional services).

-ECM (recruitment consultants in various technology fields with a section dedicated to graduate/PhD roles). and (For masters’ graduates looking for doctoral opportunities).