After the PhD: Interview
with Doug Priest

Doug Priest has a PhD in Soviet History from Michigan State University. “By the time that I finished I had concluded that academic life wasn’t necessarily the direction I was going to go in anymore,” he says. Currently, he is the Digital Managing Editor at Townsquare Media. He manages online and digital content for five different entertainment brands.

How did he start his career transition – and how did he get the job he has now? He found his position as Digital Managing Editor as part of a broad job search he conducted when he decided to move closer to family after his degree. It took Dr. Priest about five to six months of job searching to find his current job. He credits his friends and network in the professional sector with helping him to refine his professional documents for a non-academic job application.

On a day to day basis, Doug manages multiple content contributors and helps clients create content for publication for Townsquare Media. His job mainly focuses on writing, editing, and collaborating with many different groups – but there are different tasks every week. Sometimes, he says, he even gets to be onsite at concerts to help produce video for online content! His ability to learn quickly, manage projects, and employ editorial expertise are just a few of the PhD skills that Doug uses in his day to day work. As a historian, he already had a lot of experience writing and developing content. The main difference? “The turn-around is very quick,” he says. Rather than focusing on a long-term, narrow project, Doug manages several different products with short timelines. The quick turn-around initially required him to hit the ground running when he started at Townsquare Media. But his favourite part of his job is the opportunity to learn more about working with different kinds of media. This position allows him to keep learning new things, an aspect of his current work which really energizes him.

What advice does Doug have for current PhDs looking to make the transition? “Trying to build a portfolio is really important,” he explains. “Show things that you’ve edited, that you’ve written, that you’ve created, so that you can prove to an employer what types of projects you have delivered.”

Watch Doug’s entire interview to hear his entire career transition story. Are you interested in sharing your post-PhD career story? Sign up to be interviewed by Beyond the Professoriate!

Connect with Doug on LinkedIn

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