Pathways: Career Support for Researchers

Next month, hundreds of researchers will be milling about the Renold Building, finding out about how to get on in a wide range of academic and non-academic careers. Some of them (the brave ones) will be practising their interview and assessment skills, whilst still more will be hot-footing it down to the Armitage Centre to talk to real employers of PhDs and getting careers and CV advice.

Will you be one of them?

Yes, it’s our annual call for Pathways, our cross-university careers event for researchers.
Booking is now open on our Pathways website.

What is Pathways?
Three separate days focusing on supporting PhDs and research staff in whatever career they want to follow. You can choose to go along to one, two or all three days, whatever suits your needs.

Day 1: Friday 10th June 2011, Renold Building, University of Manchester
We run 40+ career panels made up of current academics and former researchers, now in a range of careers, to help you understand what their careers involve, how to make the transition into your next career – and what mistakes to avoid.

The beauty of this format is that it’s really informal, and you get to hear from real people who’ve been in your position, talking candidly about their careers.

It can be very helpful talking to “employers”, but they all have a vested interest in making their work sound attractive. In this format, you may hear people talk about how much they disliked their previous (or even current) work, or disastrous choices they made, but you can also be confident that they’re not spinning you some corporate line when they say they love their job.

Day 2:  Monday 13th June 2011, Renold Building
NEW this year. We’re focusing on how to get you into the job you want : interviews and assessment. It won’t just be talks – you’ll get the chance to “have a go”.

Depending on the type of career you think you will want, you can opt to

  • hear from academic recruiters about interview panels (and maybe try some answers yourself)
  • do a 5 minute presentation of your research  as if you were applying for a job (very different from presenting at a conference)
  • try being an interviewee, interviewer and observer as you practice your interview skills in a safe environment
  • try a group exercise run by a big name recruiter
  • learn about how to get into medical communications careers
  • try psychometric tests

There won’t be the chance to try all of the above (that would take a two day workshop) but you should be able to prioritise and get some practical help for the kind of assessments you’re likely to encounter in your chosen career.

Day 3: Wednesday 15th June 2011, Armitage Centre
Once again, we’re running the PhD and Researcher Career Zone @ The Graduate Recruitment Fair. This is a dedicated room at our big recruitment fair, just for researchers.

We’ll have a small number of recruiters specifically interested in PhDs and researchers who can answer your questions about how employers view PhDs, some of the kinds of work they do, how PhDs can promote themselves.

We won’t kid you that your ideal employer will definitely be there offering you a job (though they might). Most employers who target PhDs only want one or two a year, so they don’t often come to recruitment fairs. However, there will also be over 70 employers to talk to in the main fair, many of whom will take applications from PhDs.

Who can come?
Any current University of Manchester PhD researcher or member of research staff. If you have recently completed your PhD (up to 3 years ago), you can still come along. If you are a member of research staff without a PhD, you’re very welcome to attend, but you should be aware that there will be a strong focus on what you can do with a PhD.

If you are a researcher at another institution, we’re also offering places for Day 1 and/or Day 2 at a modest cost – try talking to your institution first as some NW universities have paid for their researchers to attend the event in the past.

NB. Anyone from any institution can attend Day 3 at no charge, no booking required (so bring your friends).

As we’ve had up to 500 people attending on some days, it’s really important to book your place for Day 1 or Day 2 in advance. (Otherwise, there won’t be enough lunch to go round – did I mention there was a free lunch? Oh yes.)

Even though we’ve only recently opened booking, we’ve got over 100 people booked on already, so don’t miss out.

More information
I’ll be blogging with more detail on each day as the event approaches and more contributors confirm their attendance. If there’s anything you want to know, just drop me a comment on this post and I’ll answer either in the comments or in a new blog post.