There is life after your PhD. Getting your defence over with is not enough to prepare you for it. Maybe the most important step you should take is deciding whether you are aiming for a career in academia or in business/government. If you need help taking this decision, you may join PhACE, Utrecht University's PhD Activating Career Event, in the third year of your PhD.
Advertise your work
Advertising your work while preparing your PhD is important in all cases, but particularly if you want to stay in academia. Academic employers are mostly interested in your publications and teaching, others in your transferable skills like presenting, English writing, editing, problem-solving, dealing with criticism, your ability to work independently, data collection skills etc.
Any employer is interested in:
- your website, so make sure it is suitable for (among other things) this purpose
- your network and networking skills
- your software and programming skills
For help targeting the non-academic labour market, use the Utrecht University Work2Work career counseling for PhD candidates.
If you are hesitant about your chances in academia you should consult your supervisor for an honest evaluation of your relative strengths. Your supervisor's recommendation is a vital part of your application, so it is important to know their view.
Examples of post-PhD employments
If you want to stay in academia, a common first step is to apply for a postdoc project. Many postdoc schemes are intended to force you to go abroad or to come to some country from abroad. They differ as to whether you apply to work in an already established project, or you bring your own research proposal.
Postdoc positions may be advertised as vacancies in larger projects, as is the case in NWO VICI projects or Graduiertenkollegs in Germany (predefined topic).
Check the NWO website for deadlines and conditions for opportunities in the Rubicon and VENI schemes for beginning postdocs. For information about research funding opportunities, you can consult the Faculty of Humanities' Research Support Office.
You should seriously consider applying for any suitable teaching position that becomes available at this or other universities. Don't despair, though, if you need to work your way through one or two postdoc positions before you get hired, because they may turn out an extremely useful experience and are often crucial for allowing you to develop your own direction in research.
Here is a short list of recent non-academic follow-up employments by PhD graduates from UiL OTS:
- Lecturer at college/HBO
- Computer programming job
- University administrative
- Natural language processing firm
- Management consultancy
- Research project assistant