We’re often asked what career options there are for PhDs. The short answer is there are many options! The longer answer is that ultimately your career options will depend on many factors including your: degree, skills, core competencies, past experiences, geographic location, and values.
But one common challenge PhDs face during the job search is imagining where they could work and build meaningful careers. This comes from a lack of exposure to different careers, and it also stems from untested negative assumptions about “nonacademic,” “nonfaculty” work beyond the professoriate.
One of the first steps you’ll have to take is broadening your knowledge of what jobs are out there–in other words, take the EXPLORATION part of career exploration seriously. Put your research skills to work and start reading job ads; find people in your network (family, friends, colleagues) and ask them about their jobs; connect with alumni from your department or school (we guarantee you a large portion will be in non-faculty careers); talk to neighbors, strangers, people on campus about their jobs. You might be surprised to learn what a “digital marketer” really does, or what student recruitment and administration really entails. This is all about learning, and can be an exciting time to discover what people’s backgrounds and careers are (see Emily Bell’s video below and how she got excited envisioning herself in different careers).
So, where to start first in figuring out what you can do with your PhD? Read the below, watch the videos, and let’s get started.