We asked postgraduate student Zoe M. Harris to write a post to give students some advice for new and current PhD students. She has done just that and some of her gems of knowledge may be useful to undergraduates as well! Zoe’s advice will appear in a weekly series following on from last week’s post with tips on the PhD. Stay tuned for next week’s post with more general life tips.

After handing in my thesis and waiting to viva (this is an oral examination for those that don’t know!), I was applying for jobs and working as a research assistant writing papers from my PhD. I noticed that in my job interviews most of the examples I was using to show off my experience and competencies were from extra-curricular activities I was undertaking alongside my PhD. I was desperate to tell others to do this to help (and maybe even inspire…) the rest of the PG community at the University of Southampton. I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to email or tweet me to ask me anything! @Zoe_M_Harris or Z.M.Harris@soton.ac.uk

The Job Hunt

  1. Record your achievements

The PhD gives you so many skills and you will need to demonstrate these in interviews – as mentioned below. So If you only do one thing from this blog do this – record your achievements. Every time you give a seminar, wrote a grant, or attended a workshop

harris 4

  1. Do a skills assessment

If you know what your dream job is already, such as a postdoc, find an actual job advert. Highlight the skills they need and get them! If you aren’t sure, try to cover all bases. Check the civil service competency framework below for useful skills for any employment.

harris 5

  1. Sign up to mailing lists

Let the internet do the hard work for you. Find a few mailing lists and just sign up. Even if you don’t plan on getting a job anytime soon, you can see what’s out there and what skills you might need. Good generic lists are jobs.ac.uk, nature job alerts, guardian jobs, LinkedIn jobs. But try to seek out more catered ones for your field.

By Zoe M Harris

If you are a current University of Southampton student or alumni and you would like to write a guest blog for us, please email comms@susu.org. We would love to hear your story!