What We Learned Day 1 of The Conference

On May 4th, we kicked off Beyond the Professoriate’s 6th annual online conference, focusing on strategies for career success and de-mystifying the non-academic job search.

So, what did we learn? Here are some highlights from the day:

“You have a degree, but you are not your degree.”– Hillary Hutchinson, PhD.

If only we had more time to go through the many insights Hillary shared in “Moving On: Dealing with the Emotional Aspects of Leaving Academia.” Hillary went through the emotional stages that accompany transitioning out of academia including the grief, anger, and negative-self talk that can occur for many PhDs. She provided prompts and worksheets to help PhDs re-frame graduate school as a positive experience, and reminded us that it is natural to resist change and fear the unknown. Her panel started the conference off with a great reminder to us all: it is not shameful to want a different life, and you are not alone in this journey.

“Networking does work, but maybe in the ways you don’t expect. The more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll develop that narrative that makes you come alive in people’s minds.” – Joseph Barber, PhD.

In “How to Network for Career Success,” Joseph shed light on what can be an uncomfortable part of career development: networking. But, as Joseph said, networking doesn’t have to be about awkward encounters. Networking actually encompasses a wide-range of activities such as learning more about your current network (talk to friends and family!), connecting with people online, and having strategic, structured 1:1 conversations with people about their work. Joseph also covered how to use informational interviews, how to ask for these interviews (with some clever LinkedIn strategy), and how to network in a way that will make people want to talk to you!

“Shifting careers doesn’t mean you’re in one thing for the rest of your life.” – Stephanie Warner, PhD. Researching career options can be daunting, but what if we thought about it as career exploration instead? Stephanie’s presentation outlined great strategies to help PhDs leverage their curiosity into networking with new people, learning about new career fields, and re-evaluating the many transferable skills they already have. In “Leveraging Your Graduate Education & Experience to Research Career Options” Stephanie walked us through how to identify what our personal values are, what skills we have to offer as PhDs, how to articulate these skills, and how to align our passions and talents to find a career we truly enjoy. Careful self-assessment and being open to new opportunities can lead us down career paths we may have never thought about!

“Think about your audience” and remember that “your cover letter and resume are just one piece of the puzzle.” – Clarence Anthony, Jr., PhD.

In his session, “Break It Down: How to Effectively Present Your Strengths and Skills in Resumes & Cover Letters,” Clarence walked us through the steps of developing an effective non-academic resume. One of the most important aspects of this is thinking about your audience, and creating a resume that appropriately addresses what EMPLOYERS need (hint, this may mean leaving items off your resume). Clarence also provided tips—such as using the S.T.A.R. method—to help expound on transferable skills and make your experiences more marketable.

Our presenters and participants were amazing. We ended the day with clear action steps (including starting an accountability thread for networking in our online Community), and the confidence to begin a job search.

We can’t wait for Day 2 of our conference on May 11th where we’ll delve into a variety of career fields. See you there!


Miss Day 1? Register today and you'll get to watch the entire conference on-demand during a 30 day replay.

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