Career support for PhD students

Two specialist Careers Consultants, Gemma Garrett and Andrea Cox, provide careers support for PhD students and postdoctoral/early career researchers across all three faculties at QMUL.

One to Ones

Free, confidential one-to-one appointments are available to PhD students and postdoctoral researchers each week, from 11am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 2:30pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. These are held at The Careers and Enterprise Centre (WG3, near the Octagon in the Queens Building) and can be booked by telephone on 020 7882 8533, or in person at the Centre. You can discuss a range of issues, including:

  • Career options, planning and job hunting (whether you want a career in academia or elsewhere)
  • CV, covering letter and application advice
  • Interview preparation (including practice interviews).

To find out more, visit: www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/researchers/advice/index.html

Events

A range of alumni, employer, and student-led events are timetabled each academic year, including:

  • PhD alumni discussion panels and speed networking events
  • Employer-led events – talks from PhD employers. For example, employers at previous events have included PhD alumni discussing self-employment and a social enterprise called The Brilliant Club that arranges for PhD students to deliver tutorials in secondary schools.
  • Café Scientifique (hosted in collaboration with our Centre for Academic and Professional Development) – speakers are current PhD students talking about their research to non-specialist audiences. Volunteering to talk at these events is a great way to practise and develop your communication and public engagement skills.

Events are listed and available to book at: www.cpdbookings.qmul.ac.uk.

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PhDs & Postdocs – How to apply to a job in industry

Dr Tracy Bussoli, Careers Consultant

Part 2: How to apply to a job in industry

  • Make speculative applications

Not all biotechnology companies and contract research organisations have the resources to run formal recruitment processes in the way that large pharmaceutical companies do. It’s therefore worth approaching them even if they are not advertising a job!

Some of the careers sections on their websites will have contact details of where to send the applications, but others may not. If there are no contact details on their website, look at LinkedIn or do some online research to find an appropriate person to send your application to. Here is some information on how to make speculative applications

  • Target your applications

To work out which companies to apply to, explore the various sectors and organisations to see where your expertise and subject knowledge fits.  If you have immunology experience, you may want to look at biotechnology companies that specialise in immunotherapy. A good place to start searching biotechnology companies for various roles is GolgiCareers or on LinkedIn. Once you find a company that aligns with your research or could use your research techniques, put together a CV and cover letter and send it off.

  • How to improve your CV

You will need to think about using a CV format that allows you to highlight the most relevant skills to the particular job you’re applying for. We recommend that you keep a

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PhDs & Postdocs – How to find a job in industry

Part 1: How to find a job in industry

Dr Tracy Bussoli, Careers Consultant

If you’re thinking of finding a job in industry, you’ll need to be persistent and resilient as it may take time. As there isn’t always a straightforward way to find positions, here are my top tips on finding work in industry:

Explore all industry sectors and roles

Look at the range of functions and roles within pharmaceuticals, biotechnology companies and contract research organisations. See below for a list of:

Research and Development is the typical area that attracts PhDs and Postdocs; within this falls drug discovery, preclinical, clinical research and process development. Drug discovery and preclinical research jobs are the typical jobs for PhDs and Postdocs; job titles within this area usually contain the word ‘scientist’.

Other roles include business development managers, regulatory affairs specialists, medical scientific liaison (MSL) specialists, medical writers and life science consultants.

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Applying for a PhD in the Humanities and Social Sciences (2/2)

Joe Cronin, Application Adviser

In part 1 I outlined some things to consider when thinking about a PhD in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Today I’m going to focus on how to deal with the application process itself.

Your research proposal is just that – a proposal. For almost all applications to PhD programmes (and undoubtedly if you’re applying for a funded position), you will be expected to write a research proposal. This can be a daunting prospect for those who ‘only’ have a Master’s degree and now have to consider how they would plan three years of research. But remember that whoever looks at your proposal is also going to be aware of this. Research proposals are simply a means to show that you are capable of conducting a long-term research project. They are not rigid plans that you have to stick to (and few people do anyway). With that said, it does pay to do some research for your proposal, if only to make sure that you have some knowledge about the topic you’re proposing to study (if it’s related to your Master’s thesis then this is less of a concern), and, in particular, to make sure that no one else has done your project already. However, you don’t have to show a comprehensive knowledge of your topic, nor do you have to know what the findings of your research will be. After all, you haven’t started it yet!

Make sure you have access to a library. When writing your research proposal, it’s a good idea to make sure that you can access a decent amount of scholarly material relating to

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Considering a PhD in the Humanities & Social Sciences (1/2)

Joe Cronin, Application Adviser

There are currently more PhD scholarships available in Humanities and Social Science subjects in the UK than at any point in recent history. While this is undoubtedly a blessing for anyone considering embarking on doctoral study in these areas, there are some factors to bear in mind:

It’s more worthwhile than ever to try to find funding. Some students are in the fortunate position of being able to fund their own doctoral research (in 2016/17, annual fees for full-time research courses at QMUL will be £4,121 for home students, and £13,400 for overseas students). However, with the range of funding now available, try to find a suitable scholarship – even if you don’t feel your academic credentials are ‘exemplary’. Most PhD studentships will cover not only your course fees, but will also provide a maintenance allowance. Even if you are able to cover these costs yourself, a scholarship also adds prestige to your work (someone is actually paying you to study!) and will bolster your CV when it comes to applying for future positions. You can find plenty of PhD scholarships advertised on jobs.ac.uk (scroll to the bottom and click on ‘PhD’ in the

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Broaden your horizons: opportunities to gain skills and experiences outside your PhD (part 3)

Gemma Garrett, Careers Consultant

In the final part of this series, read on to hear more from our Broaden your horizons event last week, as part of QMULGradFest.

andrew hinesAndrew Hines, a third year SLLF postgraduate, spoke passionately about his teaching experience with The Brilliant Club, a charity that exists to widen access to highly-selective universities for school pupils from under-represented groups. The organisation employs PhD students and postdoc’s from all disciplines to teach.  Andrew’s role involves tutoring small groups of bright secondary school children from low economic backgrounds for two hour sessions at time. The experience enabled him to hone his communication skills by talking about his often niche and complex area of research in ways that could be understood by young, non-specialist audiences. Andrew gained an insight into what it’s like to teach to school pupils and developed his tutoring skills, whilst also earning some extra cash (all the positions are paid). As well as giving him an outlet from his PhD, Andrew’s involvement means he can now “sum up his PhD in three lines” – a valuable skill whatever his next career move.

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Broaden your horizons: opportunities to gain skills and experiences outside your PhD (part 2)

Gemma Garrett, Careers Consultant

In last Wednesday’s blog we introduced you to some of the PhD students who spoke at last week’s Broaden your horizons event. Read on to hear from more of our students and what they’re involved in …

hayleyHayley Peacock, a fourth year PhD student in Geography, is also a great example of how being open to doing new things can lead to further opportunities. Hayley’s involvement with The Brilliant Club led to her being invited to apply for the role of ‘Widening Participation Support Officer’ for the School of Geography’s Stepping Stones scheme. In this role she trained QMUL Geography undergraduates to deliver challenging 1:2 tutorial sessions to widening participation students from local schools. Hayley’s teaching experiences also gave her the confidence to coach in one of her other passions –

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