Lesson 1: Introduction to the Professional Job Search

Our research shows that successful career transitions for PhDs happen in four stages. Based on this research, we have developed curriculum to help you move through this process with purpose and strategy.

Know Your Options will help you complete the first stage of discovering your values, motivators, and most marketable skills. The work you do in this course will help you build a metric – Your Optimal Career PathwayTM – which you will use to evaluate possible careers.

Many PhDs worry that work outside of academia won’t be as intellectually engaging and rewarding. By following the Beyond Prof curriculum, you will be able to identify a career that is right for you.

Watch the video below to learn more about the four-step process and how the resources in the Beyond Prof training platform can help you prepare for a nonacademic job search.

Course 1 overview page
At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:
  • Describe the different needs of academic and non-academic hiring committees and managers, and how these differences require different job search strategies.
  • Identify the 4 stages of the PhD job search process, and their corresponding goals.
  • Recognize the three factors that will help you determine your Optimal Career PathwayTM.

Optimal Career Pathway


Your Optimal Career PathwayTM will serve as a guide, or foundation, for building your career. It will be a metric you will use to evaluate career opportunities.

An Optimal Career PathwayTM is designed by considering:

  • what you do (your skills),
  • what motivates you (your values),
  • and how your skills and values align with what the world will pay you money to do (your most marketable skills).

As a highly educated person with a broad set of skills, there will be many opportunities for you in the professional workspace.

As you research and evaluate those opportunities, you will return to your Optimal Career PathwayTM to determine if these opportunities align with your values and skills.

This five-lesson course will help you recognize your Optimal Career PathwayTM and develop a plan for your professional job search.

In this course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Recognize the three factors that will help you determine your Optimal Career PathwayTM
  • Identify your interests, skills, motivations, and values
  • Write a draft of your PhD career transition story

Each lesson is accompanied by guiding questions and exercises to help you apply what you’ve learned.

We recommend that you download the form-fillable PDF workbook and type out (or write out!) your answers as you go.

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Beyond the Professoriate’s unique curriculum is designed by learning specialists and experts in career development. Workbooks help students apply what they are learning to their own job search.

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