Getting ahead with your career

With the start of a new academic year upon is it is a good time to be planning priorities and goals for the coming year. Do you know what you want the next year to look like? Have you got specific goals and achievements in mind?

If you are an Early Career Researcher then thinking about your career early is a smart move as this will mean that you have more time to develop the skills and experiences that you need, for your chosen pathway, over the course of your post-doctoral position, rather than leaving it till the end of your contract and having to make decisions in a rush!

So how do you get ahead? It makes sense to keep an open-mind to opportunities within and outside of academia, unless of course your mind is fully made up about the direction your career is going.

If you are interested in pursuing a career within academia see the Research Careers within Academia handout. This will give you an overview of further resources and training to take advantage of as well as a list of academic vacancy websites. A useful tool to aid focus is The Research Careers Tool. This is a newly developed tool to help researchers focus on those activities that will help further their research careers. You can find out more about the tool and download a copy from the Research Staff Hub webpages.

If you are interested in broadening your experience outside of academia read the handout Careers beyond Academia as this gives an excellent overview of resources to help make such a transition smoother. Also consider watching  the micro workshop Capitalise on your research skills to find a career path and the IAD Career Development Workshops on Changing Careers, these are excellent ways to highlight transferable skills and identify new job roles.

Regardless of your preferred direction the IAD has a huge wealth of resources that can help support your career planning. Top choices to be aware of include:

1:1 Career Development Consultations with a Careers Consultant. These are bookable through People and Money.

A programme of Career Development Workshops that are running throughout the year. For further information on what these workshops cover see the Courses & Events list on the IAD website. For more detail on the types of training offered through IAD see the Research Staff 22/23 brochure.

Guidance and resources on creating Academic and Non Academic CV’s can be found within the Career Management section of the IAD website.

Career Conversations with your PI is a guide intended to help you shape the discussion when preparing to discuss career related matters with your supervisor.


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 (5 mornings a week) and can be contacted at

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