I have written about the importance of Career Planning in a previous post. This process is something that all researchers considering a career change need to work through. It begins with some serious self-reflection. What do you want from your career? What does your ideal next step look like? What skills do you want to be using daily? You then need to think about your non-negotiable parameters. What can you simply not change? For some, this might be location, for others it might mean that a certain level of remuneration must be maintained. Next you need to consider which employers you are most interested in and start to make contacts in your new area of interest.
With this in mind we now have some brand new resources available on the IAD website to help those exploring career direction and alternative roles. We have a suite of ‘Career Conversations’ with staff who started their career as researchers but now currently work in a range of roles across the university. In these videos they describe their career transitions and highlight their motivations for moving into different roles. They also discuss how they identified the necessary skills and experience to secure their current roles. These online conversations are a great way to gain an insight into different types of roles within the University where the skills background of a researcher is an advantage.
It is useful to hear about career transitions that other people have made. Understanding their motivations and how they made it happen can give you an insight into what you need to do to kick start a potential change. Although the individuals in these videos may not have followed the same path that you are hoping to take you can still learn valuable information and pick up tips on what action to take that yields good results.
We appreciate that researchers are very often short on time so with that in mind we have also produced a series of 4 micro workshops, which are intended to allow quick access to key career-related topics. The workshops developed have more of a focus on issues for those considering moving beyond academia.
The micro workshops include:
Creating CVs for careers beyond Academia
Benchmarking (benchmarking yourself against the competition / market relevant to your career stage)
Capitalise on your Research Skills to find a Career Path
Career Values & Drivers
For those of you intending to have a 1:1 career development consultation, to discuss your individual circumstances further, it will be extremely beneficial to listen to these resources ahead of the discussion. These workshops highlight further key sources of information and exercises to complete which will help to shape your thinking before meeting with me and therefore, allowing you to gain more out of the discussion.
For those of you wanting to undertake a Career Conversation with your PI or Supervisor we have also produced a short guide which includes information and questions to consider when preparing for a career conversation with your PI / Supervisor.
We will also shortly have available a new resource for those considering ‘Alternative Career Pathways outside of Academia’. This guide will cover popular areas that researchers have gone on to work in (it is aimed as a guide and not an extensive and exhaustive list of all options available to researchers) so keep an eye on the Career Management section of the IAD website for more details!
This blog was written by Eleanor Hennige. Eleanor is the IAD’s Research Staff Careers Consultant, supporting fixed-term research staff at the University with their career planning and options. In addition to running our 1:1 appointments, she also delivers our suite of career workshops, career discussion groups and works with Schools/Research Staff Societies on career specific events and workshops. Eleanor works on a part-time basis (4 mornings a week) and can be contacted at ResearchStaff.Careers@ed.ac.uk