What PhD students have to offer employers

A colleague and I ran a careers workshop with some PhD students last week.  We discussed what skills the students had developed as part of their PhD programme.  One of the workshop participants took a photo of the list the students came up with to share on twitter so I thought I’d post it here.

I’m hoping that you’ll be able to relate to many of the skills listed and feel you have a lot to offer employers as a result of your PhD studies – whether you want to stay in academic research or move into another career area.

PhD skills

Other skills the PhD students felt they had developed (but which didn’t fit onto the flip chart paper!) also included:

  • cross-cultural communication
  • attention to detail
  • initiative
  • creativity
  • self-discipline

Did the students miss any skills?  Please comment below to add any you feel you have developed throughout your PhD that aren’t on the list.

Do remember that employers often want to have evidence for the skills you claim!  So it’s useful to spend some time thinking of specific examples of times when you have demonstrated these skills as you’ll need that information for job applications and interviews.

This entry was posted in Skills development, The worth of a PhD and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What PhD students have to offer employers

  1. Alyssa Alcorn says:

    For PhD students involved in tutoring, demonstrating, and TA work (or perhaps helping newer PhDs in their research group), I would also suggest “teaching” and/or “mentorship” as important skills. These certainly draw on the patience, flexibility, and communication to different audiences all listed above, but they are so much more than this! For some careers these are directly applicable skills, but I think in all careers that a person who knows how to constructively teach or mentor others is a valuable asset in the long term.

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