Consider your options after postgraduate study; here you will find information on routes both in and outside of academia.
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, setting up a business, work experience or job-hunting opportunities, 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 the experience you have accumulated both in and outside of academia to date. What employers want has links to online skills assessments.
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. You can find details of upcoming careers events, fairs, paid work and voluntary opportunities on Advantage.
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.
Brush up on CVs, applications and interviews
Having undertaken a skills audit and researched opportunities, you may wish to start your job search. Guidance is available on CVs, applications, psychometric tests and assessment centres, as well as tips on how to prepare for interviews in or outside of academia.
Find out about self-employment
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 innovation and ideas. Launch can help you to develop your business plan, 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!
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 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.
Know your options
The 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.
There may also be specific information sources for certain postgraduate programmes, for example MBAs have a whole host of careers resources available to them, for example Top MBA and Online/Distance Learners: Masters.
Careers advice for PhD researchers
We provide information, advice and guidance specifically intended to meet the career management needs of our postgraduate researchers.
Academia isn't the only route for you once you've finished your PhD. You might consider going into private industry or completing further research. There is lots of useful advice in the Prospects section on Your PhD - What Next? and on Target which provides comprehensive information about career pathways and options for PhDs and graduates.
There are many dedicated job websites that advertise opportunities, including:
- Jobs.ac.uk - the most comprehensive website for academic jobs in the UK.
- Findapost.com - postdoctoral research positions.
- Times Higher Education Jobs - jobs in the higher education sector.
- UK Research and Innovation - UK Research and Innovation has been created as a result of the Higher Education and Research Act (HERA) with the UK's seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England coming together. Includes links to fellowships and funding opportunities
- Research Professional Jobs - adverts for both academic and non-academic jobs
Networking and using professional, work or educational contacts is a common way to find a job in academia. Being known in your field and letting contacts know that you are looking for a job can put you in a strong position to find out about hidden vacancies and job opportunities before they are advertised.
You will find useful contacts through:
- Your department: many academics circulate information about postdoctoral research positions, fellowships or lectureships to their colleagues at other universities.
- Your supervisor: who is likely to put you in touch with their network of contacts and will be aware of grant proposals. Your supervisor may also have contacts outside of academia.
- Your connections in other universities: keep in touch with contacts you make when attending conferences and collaborating on research projects
Useful links on other websites:
- Vitae - information and resources for the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers
- AGCAS has a report with advice on getting your first lecturing post
Jobs outside academia
A PhD is recognised by employers across a range of sectors as a sign that you will bring a distinctive skill set to their organisation. There are also opportunities where your subject-specific skills and knowledge will be in demand. Do not, however, limit yourself to applying for jobs that specifically require a PhD. Unless a PhD is a prerequisite for the job, employers won't necessarily mention it in their advertisements.
There are various job sites that can be used to find employment:
- PhD Jobs - job vacancies for doctoral graduates
- Times Higher Education-Jobs - for academic and non-academic jobs in higher education.
- Jobs.ac.uk - includes non-academic higher education jobs.
- Job websites of major newspapers
Other sources for finding job vacancies include:
- Specialist recruitment agencies: you can search for relevant ones at Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and Agency Central
Useful links on other websites:
- Vitae: Doctoral Careers Outside Higher Education - suggests more areas of work that may be of interest to PhD graduates outside of academia
- Vitae: what employers look for - insight into the experiences, attitudes and recruitment practices of employers in relation to doctoral graduates
Useful websites for PhD researcher
In addition to this, you'll find some useful resources below, whether you're considering an academic or non-academic role.
- 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.
- Advance HE - Site with useful resources for all academic disciplines – also organises numerous professional development activities.
- Universities UK - Representative body for all UK Universities.
- 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.
- Research Councils - Main group of funders for academic research in the UK.
Listen to our Postgraduate Options and Funding Explained LinkedIn Learning Pathway for more information.
Speak to a careers adviser
Our Careers Advisers are on hand to help. Book an appointment on Advantage or by calling 0161 295 0023 (option 5).
Appointments are available for current students and graduates of the University of Salford only.