Career Advice for Postgraduates

There are a few steps you can take to get yourself started in your career development planning.

Make the best use of Careers & Enterprise. Advice is available on moving on or changing your career path, options with your subject, researching employers, enterprise, work experience or job-hunting opportunities, our employability standard, the Salford Advantage Award as well as details of the latest careers news and related events.

Analyse yourself and skills

Before you begin to explore career options available to you, it is useful to review your qualifications, skills and experiences you have accumulated in and outside of academia to date.

For PhD researchers the Researcher Development Framework developed by Vitae gives a detailed analytical tool for self-reflection. The training and support offered at Salford is guided by this framework.

Research employers and job opportunities

Keep up to date with the latest information on employers recruiting taught and research postgraduates, research companies and read about the latest labour market trends.  In addition, find details of upcoming careers events and fairs:

Meet employers and find vacancies for the latest paid work and voluntary opportunities.


The Salford Postgraduate & Staff Research Training (SPoRT) programme is designed to help postgraduates develop the skills needed for effective research and transferrable skills to enhance your employability, whether you are planning a career in academia or elsewhere in the public or private sectors. It is open to all postgraduate researchers, academic and research staff.

Find a masterclass or event to develop your skills career development training events

Additional workshops delivered by Skills for Learning

Brush up on CVs, applications and interviews

Having undertaken a skills audit and researched opportunities, you may wish to start your job search. Information is available on how to create postgraduate CVs as well as guidance on CVs in general, applications, online tests and psychometric tests as well as tips on how to prepare for interviews in or outside of academia.

Find out about self-employment and enterprise

We can help you if you are keen to work as a freelancer or on a self-employed basis. We provide activities aimed at nurturing enterprise and innovation. The Innovation Forum, Origin, can help you to develop your business idea, in particular the logistics and the financial, legal and administrative aspects of your business as well as provide you with tips on how best to promote your business.

Careers advice for Masters students

Career planning for all students and graduates is of paramount importance but timing can be especially crucial for taught postgraduates, especially if your course is only for a year!

Careers advice for Masters students

Knowing yourself

A logical starting point for career planning is to consider your reasons for undertaking a postgraduate qualification in the first place, the subsequent skills and attributes you have accumulated and the options available to you. The Graduate Prospects website can help you with this. The Prospects Guide: Your Masters…what next? is a great place for taught postgraduates to look for career insights relevant to you.

Researching employers is an integral part of the job search process. One of the complaints employers have is that jobseekers they interview or meet at careers events do not know enough about the company, their values, their competitors, new developments, new markets they are expanding into etc. Do your homework on this as this may help in selling yourself better.

Stand out from the crowd, research your options, think about what skills you have to offer and research the company or Institution you would ideally like to be working for.

Knowing your options

The Graduate Prospects website is a useful resource to explore job options linked both closely and laterally to your course of study. The occupational database allows you to research specific job roles, entry requirements, career development opportunities and typical employers.

Many Masters students also consider a PhD. In addition to Graduate Prospects pages on Further study you can use and to seek out opportunities.

There may also be specific information sources for certain postgraduate programmes, for example MBAs have a whole host of careers resources available to them. Examples include Top MBA as well as information from AMBA which accredits the Salford MBA.

Careers advice for PhD researchers

We provide information, advice and guidance specifically intended to meet the career management needs of our postgraduate researchers.

Careers advice for PhD researchers

Useful careers books for PhD researchers

Careers & Enterprise have the following books for reference.

  • How to Get a PhD (by Estelle M. Philips and Derek S. Pugh) - A handbook for students and their supervisors.  
  • Moving on in Your Career (by Lynda Ali and Barbara Graham) - A guide for academic researchers and postgraduates. Also available as an e book via the University Library Catalogue  
  • A PhD is Not Enough! (by Peter J Feibelman) - A guide to survival in science.  
  • What do researchers do? First Destinations for doctoral graduates" and "What do researchers do? Career profiles of doctoral researchers" (Vitae)  

The following books are available from the Library:

  • The Academic Career (by Lorraine Blaxter)  
  • How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (by R. A. Day)  
  • Managing your Academic Career (by D. Royce Sadler)  

Useful careers eBooks and vlogs for PhD research

  • Career Planning for PhDs -
  • How to Apply for an Academic Job -
  • PhD vlogs: Get a real insight into life as a PhD student - This September and October, have invited 5 PhD students at various stages of their PhD and locations to film themselves and share their videos. The vlogs, or video blogs, will cover everything from starting a PhD, moving abroad to do a PhD, finding funding opportunities to viva preparation and finding your first academic job.  
  • Digital Identity Health Checks for Academics -There are many benefits of having an online profile as an academic and this guide from Piirus will step you through what you can do to find out how to assess your current digital footprint and get tips for improving your digital identity.  

Selection of useful websites for PhD researchers

  • – the definitive website for academic careers and for employers targeting researchers from outside academia.  
  • Vitae - Are a one stop resource for information and advice on a broad range of doctoral issues. Site includes specific information on careers , and on personal development . You can also download a number of career publications for researchers, eg., What do Researchers do?  
  • Graduate Prospects - Is an extremely comprehensive website for UK graduates and postgraduates. It includes detailed information about different kinds of occupations, advice on job search and advertises graduate vacancies. You will also find specific information for PhD students
  • PhD Jobs - This is a commercial website that caters for recently qualified postgraduates. Candidates can apply online for opportunities that interest them (inside and outside academia) and register with the site in order to be kept informed of relevant vacancies. The website also includes some information about CVs, covering letters and interviews.  
  • Social Research Association - A forum for people working in a diverse range of settings and in different subject specialities related to social research. It includes a “careers in research” section.  
  • Higher Education Academy -Site with useful resources for all academic disciplines – also organises numerous professional development activities.  
  • Intute - Intute is a free online service providing access to web resources for education and research. All material is evaluated and selected by a network of subject specialists to create the database; one example of how it can be used for careers is by searching for recruitment agencies in specialist fields. Intute is divided up between – Arts and Humanities, Social Science, Health and Life Sciences and Science and Technology.  
  • Premia -Online resources for research students with disabilities.  
  • Universities UK - Representative body for all UK Universities.  
  • - Job vacancies for academics and researchers, worldwide.  
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education -The US version of the Times Higher Education. Click on “jobs” – in addition to US academic job vacancies there are also sections of information on job search skills.  
  • The Times Higher Education -The Times Higher Education site includes articles and job vacancies in Higher Education.  
  • Research Councils - Main group of funders for academic research in the UK.  
  • Academic Career Toolkit - Manchester University webpages providing information on becoming an academic. Explores the question is academia for you?  

Researching sectors and employers for PhDs

The following sources of information will give you more detailed insights into researching PhD employers:

  • Palgrave Macmillan - Is a useful place to start if you are interested in academic publishing. Palgrave Macmillan are global academic publishers.  
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) - KTPs offer graduates with a good degree, the chance to work for a successful SME, managing and delivering a project which is key to the business’ long term strategic development. The placements take place for duration of 12 to 36 months, and many of the graduates are employed by the company in senior roles at the end of the scheme.  
  • Association of Independent Research and Technology Organisations - Seeks to encourage technology transfer and exploitation by helping to develop and support government and private sector initiatives. Website includes a member’s directory.  
  • MrWeb -Useful for information on market research online. Also includes industry news and job vacancies.  
  • EuroBrussels - European affairs jobs in Law, Economics and Politics, in Brussels, EU institutions and international organisations.  
  • Oultwood Local Government Website Index - Searchable by country, this is a website made up of databases of local government, government papers and documents, and general research information.  
  • Research Councils UK -Portal for research and information in the UK.  
  • Shared Services Centre: - This website is a portal to all the Research Councils in the UK. Users can search for jobs within any council, by job role, location and salary bands.  
  • Biotechnology Yes - Innovative competition to raise awareness of bioscience among PhDs and contract research staff. The "Careers" section has a list of relevant companies and Research Councils.  
  • European Industrial Research Management Association -Club of companies that undertake research and employ researchers in Europe. EIRMA exists so that companies can improve the management and organisation of their R&D and innovation activities.  
  • EuroScienceJobs -Job vacancies in EU institutions and agencies and international organisations such as CERN, WHO and FAO. Also career guides.  
  • Max-Planck Gesellschaft -Society for the Advancement of Science – a non-profit organisation that promotes and supports research.  
  • Sanger Centre Laboratory - Genome research institute mostly funded by the Wellcome Trust. Includes a list of contact details for biotechnology companies. Job vacancies and postdoctoral positions.  
  • European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) - Organisation that aims to support medical writers in Europe with training and career development. Also includes a jobs vacancy database.  
  • Pharmiweb - Pharmaceutical jobs vacancy site across Europe.  
  • PR Week -Includes job section along with company listings and news and events.  
  • Intute: Social Sciences - Previously SOSIG, Social Sciences Information Gateway. Information and resources for social scientists. Also has virtual training suite to assist with job search.  
  • EURAXESS - An initiative to encourage the mobility of researchers within Europe.  
  • National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) - Information about and links to GB think tanks in the UK.  
  • National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) - Includes a world directory of think tanks, research organisations and public policy.  
  • Professional Associations - General website that links to relevant bodies.  
  • Trade Unions - Has a comprehensive list of trade unions in the UK.  
  • Trovit - allows for a simultaneous and comprehensive search from thousand of job portals.  
  • NatureNet - Useful as it provides links to the websites of several wildlife and environmental protection agencies.  
  • Impact of Doctoral Careers: Research Councils UK report on the role doctoral graduates play on UK business

Please note that the above websites are only examples of the many websites available. Inclusion in this listing is not endorsement from the University of Salford.