6th Annual Online Career Conference for Grad Students & PhDs

For the past five years, graduate students and PhDs from across the globe have gathered together online to participate in Beyond the Professoriate’s annual career conference. The 6th annual event is just around the corner: May 4th and 11th.

Beyond the Professoriate co-founder L. Maren Wood, PhD came up with the idea back in 2013. “I wanted to do something that could reach hundreds of graduate students and PhDs,” Maren said. “After we leave academia, we’re so scattered, and it can be very difficult to find the resources, tools, and mentoring you need to transition from an academic to professional career. The online format made the most sense. We could have PhDs who worked all over North America webinar-in to share their experiences and provide advice. It would make the conference accessible to grad students and PhDs across the globe, and affordable because nobody has to travel or buy fancy clothes.”

She reached out to Jennifer Polk, who she knew from their days as MA students in history at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada). After they earned their MAs, both Jen and Maren went on to earn PhDs in history, Maren at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Jen at the University of Toronto. After graduating, they both moved into career education and coaching, helping to support PhDs and graduate students during career transitions. Today they work together full-time on Beyond the Professoriate.

“When I left academia in 2011, there were not a lot of resources out there for people like me who had only ever wanted to be a professor, but due to the collapsed job market, couldn’t find a tenure track job. I felt isolated, depressed, and alone. And I didn’t want other people to feel like that,” said Maren. Jen agrees. “I didn’t necessarily want to work as a professor, but I also didn’t feel like I could do anything else. I now know that there are hundreds of PhDs that feel like we did. We want people to know they are not alone.”

“My favorite part about the conference,” said Jen, “is hearing PhDs talk about about how they got where they are today. It’s so fun and inspiring. Everyone’s story is a bit different. I myself leave the conference feeling energized and inspired, and I know our participants do too.”

The online conference consists of a series of one-hour live webinars that feature PhDs who now work in non-faculty careers. All sessions will be recorded and made available to stream following the live broadcasts. On the first day of the conference career educators will deliver one-hour “how to” webinars to teach graduate students and PhDs job search strategies. Topics this year will include how to deal with the emotional aspects of the job search, networking, resume writing, and how to leverage skills learned during graduate school to find new careers.

On the second day, participants will hear from 12 PhDs who work in a wide variety of exciting professional careers. Speakers earned PhDs in disciplines such as XYZ and work in non-profits, higher education administration, government agencies, and the business world. “We work hard to make sure we represent a variety of experiences and voices,” said L. Maren Wood, co-founder of Beyond the Professoriate and one of the hosts of the conference.

PhD student Ben Gold attended last year. He found that the conference “was an easy and convenient way to learn about a lot of professional development skills and careers I’d never even thought of before!” Marieke Krijnen, PhD, found inspiration to start her job search. “The biggest thing the conference has done for me is to make me feel more confident about my skills and abilities, and show me that I don’t have to be afraid of what comes next. In fact, it has shown me how exciting and fun this whole thing can be, instead of terrifying!”

Tickets are on sale now. Early bird tickets cost US $49 and late registration is $59. Every ticket holder can attend live online and access a 30-day replay between May 15th and June 15th. All of the recorded (video) sessions from the conference will be added to Beyond the Professoriate’s new e-learning platform, Aurora. Students at subscribing institutions can access the videos later this summer.

Register for the Conference! Get $10 off with code "FriendofBP" at checkout.

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