Exploring your motivation and skills

Find your Transferable Skills

Scientists who enter the job market should know their own skills and should be able to communicate them. Current practice, however, teaches us that scientists can present their research and their practical skills very well, but that they are less aware of the social, communication and directing skills they have.

Interestingly, most PhD’s have experience with completing their thesis, applying for grants, organizing conferences and directing other co-workers. You clearly possess a collection of skills you could see as your Transferable Skills; these are skills you can use in any situation and which make you valuable for the job market.

Target group

This workshop is meant for PhD’s who are considering the next step in their career. It is meant for participants who might find it difficult to describe their skills or wonder if they have the skills for a job outside academia.   


With use of some practical exercises this workshop will help you get a better view on your own specific skills. It will lead to a starting list which you can use to identify potential future career directions as well as an opportunity to present these skills with the use of examples.


Jessica Tummers

Find your purpose and strengths: your IKIGAI

In this workshop you make a start with finding out what your strengths are, what makes you smile, and combining this with what the world needs. This will allow you to find your next step.

 In a rapidly changing world, more and more people are looking for a way to combine their passion and talents in order to contribute to society. That is basically what ‘ikigai’ is. Ikigai is that place where your passion, mission, calling and career intersect. 

In this workshop you will make the first step in answering the following questions: What makes you tick?; What touches you?; What are you good at?; Which unique talents do you have and which can you further develop?; What can you do that is of use to others?; Is there something you can contribute to the world?; What change would you like to bring about in the world? In interactive, confronting and playfull excercises you will explore your Ikigai. Are you ready to let go, open up & explore your next step so you can start doing what you really love?

Dealing with stress & boosting self confidence

Many people encounter stress when they are working on their PhD project. For some this feeling of stress may continue over a longer period. This may lead to all kinds of negative side effects among which a feeling of incompetence and a decrease in self-confidence.

This workshop can be your start to reduce your feeling of stress. It will give you useful insights into your own behaviour. If you want to make a behavioural change, it can be very helpful to first look backwards to understand what explains your behaviour, so you can take steps to move forward again. During this workshop you will perform a deep learning exercises where you experience what drives your behaviour. In another exercise you will find out what blocks you from moving forward and experience how it feels to be free of stress. A couple of lively exercises will give you practical tools to boost your self-confidence, even at stressful moments. By practising and sharing experiences, ideas and stories you will learn from each other as well as the trainer.

Target group

This workshop is meant for PhD students who want to learn what drives them to feeling stressed, how to overcome this feeling and how to boost their self-confidence.


At the end of this workshop you will know:

  • how to stimulate a feeling of self confidence
  • what drives you to feeling stressed and how to overcome this
  • how to diminish the feeling of stress


Dr Louise Mennen worked for >10 years as a scientist. She noticed that besides increasing scientific skills, scientists also need to improve their soft skills. This is why she now trains and coaches scientists to stimulate their personal development and inspires them to become better leaders. Due to her large academic experience she is the perfect person to understand and help you with your personal challenges. See also: www.mennen-tc.com.

How to start to investigate your personal qualities

In this workshop there will be given a way to explore your core-qualities and to see these strengths in yourself work mostly in your favour and sometimes against you. Self-awareness is fundamental to being a future leader and/ or project manager. 


We will explore your strengths and weaknesses by:

  1. Exploring your values, cultural background and upbringing. 
  2. Discovering your personal view on your strengths and weaknesses. 
  3. Analyzing 4 or 5 personal successes with guidance of somebody else.

At the end of the workshop a fairly clear image of your personal qualities will emerge. The workshop gives you guidelines to continue to explore your core qualities and how to use this knowledge in a job interview.


Harry Linders is a career counselor since 1993 and he was involved in several projects on different levels regarding employability. His working experience is divers but PhD candidates are a regular part of his work since 1996.  In 2000 he became a registered career advisor in the CMI program. In 2007 he started his own bureau and now he has several assignments in training and advising people entering the working process or continuing their career. During this period he collected a fair knowledge about the actual labour market.