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Navigating Career Options After Your PhD

Part of the Springer Texts in Education book series (SPTE)


In the final chapter of this book we look at life after the PhD. The first topic is letting it all sink in after the defense. We talk about the emptiness some people feel after finishing their PhD, how to deal with this, and how to answer the question of “What is next in life”. We also highlight the importance of celebrating the major achievement of getting your PhD, taking time to rest and reframe your thoughts, and then preparing for the next step in life. This discussion will bring us to the second topic: what are the options you have after your PhD? We look at preparing your resume, letter of purpose, and preparing for an interview – regardless of whether you are applying for a position inside or outside of academia. We will discuss how to highlight the skills you gained during the PhD, for example, to land a post-doc in a field that is only tangentially related to your PhD research, or to find a job in industry. The fourth topic discusses a career in academia, and how to win at it, combined with the fifth topic which contains tips for success in the industry. This chapter will close with the topic of getting an international perspective. We focus on exploring the international job market, academic nomadism, starting international collaborations, and the benefits and challenges working internationally brings.


  • Academia
  • Academic careers
  • Careers in industry
  • After the PhD
  • Resume
  • Job applications
  • International collaborations

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Further Reading and References

  1. Lantsoght, E. (2013). Post-defense reality check: What should you do after defending your PhD. PhD Talk.

  2. McKay, D. R. (2016). How often do people change careers?

  3. Lantsoght, E. (2014). What should you do after your PhD? PhD Talk.

  4. Gaten, G. (2015). Life after graduate school: What happens next? PhD Talk.

  5. Lantsoght, E. (2015). PhD Talk interview: Creating your career, post-PhD. PhD Talk.

  6. Lantsoght, E. (2015). Q & A: The PhD and the job market. PhD Talk.

  7. Todd, B. J. (2016). 80,000 hours: Find a fulfilling career that does good. Oxford: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Lantsoght, E. (2016). PhD Talk for AcademicTransfer: Career opportunities after the PhD. PhD Talk.

  9. Rath, T. (2007). Strengthsfinder 2.0. New York: Gallup Press.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Lantsoght, E. (2013). Getting a job, after the PhD. PhD Talk.

  11. Peterson, T. (2017). 100 top job interview questions—be prepared for the interview.

  12. Lantsoght, E. (2014). PhD Talk for AcademicTransfer: Leveraging your job seeking position by highlighting your academic skills. PhD Talk.

  13. Lantsoght, E. (2016). PhD Talk for AcademicTransfer: How to get the most out of career events. PhD Talk.

  14. Lantsoght, E. (2014). PhD Talk for AcademicTransfer: Navigating responsibilities as a young faculty member. PhD Talk.

  15. Lantsoght, E. (2015). PhD Talk for AcademicTransfer: How to transition from PhD student to independent scholar. PhD Talk.

  16. Barnacle, R., & Mewburn, I. (2010). Learning networks and the journey of ‘becoming doctor’. Studies in Higher Education, 35(4), 433–444.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  17. Lantsoght, E. (2013). Finding employment outside of academia. PhD Talk.

  18. Mac Fhearraigh, S. (2014). How you should prepare for a career outside of academia: 7 lucky tips for a smoother transition. PhD Talk.

  19. Humphrey, C. (2013). Preparing for life after the PhD: Re-train your brain. PhD Talk.

  20. Lantsoght, E. (2014). Q&A: Career and gender advice. PhD Talk.

  21. Lantsoght, E. (2016). Pregnancy and parental leave during the tenure track. PhD Talk.

  22. Marcotte, A. (2014). Best way for professors to get good student evaluations? Be male.

  23. HASTAC. (2015). Gender bias in academe: An annotated bibliography of important recent studies.

  24. Wagner, N., Rieger, M., & Voorvelt, K. (2016). Gender, ethnicity and teaching evaluations: Evidence from mixed teaching teams. Economics of Education Review, 54, 79–94.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  25. Lantsoght, E. (2016). PhD Talk for AcademicTransfer: Surviving and thriving in academia as a young female academic. PhD Talk.

  26. Mewburn, I., Cuthbert, D., & Tokareva, E. (2014). Experiencing the progress report: An analysis of gender and administration in doctoral candidature. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 36(2), 155–171.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  27. Laprise, J. (2014). An Expat scholar’s view from the Gulf. PhD Talk.

  28. Lantsoght, E. (2013). PhD Talk for AcademicTransfer: The curious case of the academic nomads. PhD Talk.

  29. Lantsoght, E. (2014). A nomad’s life: on working in two continents. PhD Talk.

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Lantsoght, E.O.L. (2018). Navigating Career Options After Your PhD. In: The A-Z of the PhD Trajectory. Springer Texts in Education. Springer, Cham.

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