Building experience and job hunting for PhDs

The academic job market is competitive and there are ways to give yourself the edge from the start of your PhD.

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It is important that you also devote time to your own professional development whilst doing your PhD.

If you are aiming towards an academic career this will involve the skills and experience required to continue a career in research and if your desire is to continue outside academia, your transferrable skills and experience will be important.

Engage in professional development activities

The Graduate School at Goldsmiths has a researcher development programme to enable you to develop key research techniques as well as skills in learning and teaching, also vital for an academic role.

The Researcher Development Hub developed through Research and knowledge exchange provides a Full Calendar of Training & Development Events for Researchers as well as key information on funding sources, news from the research councils and a training library.

Develop your network

This can lead to postdoctoral opportunities, research collaborations and conferences.

At Goldsmiths there is an Early Career Researcher Network, however, you can extend your network more widely by attending conferences, attending researcher development events (for example Vitae events) if you are considering areas outside of research.

LinkedIn can also be a useful source of contacts and intelligence about your field. Find out more about networking and using LinkedIn on our networking page.

Develop your transferable skills

You can do this this by presenting your research at Teaching and Learning or Research Symposia, writing about it informally in relevant blogs as well as working with your supervisor to publish.

Teamwork and public speaking can be developed by becoming a PhD student representative or joining a student society. You can gain recognition for these activities through The Gold Award.

Seek opportunities to teach undergraduate students either in lecture or seminar format.

Broaden your sector knowledge

Understanding the higher education sector as a whole will help you become a well-rounded academic and Times Higher Education and WonkHE are good sources of information.

Have a strategy for job hunting

Start to look for jobs prior to writing up.

Your academic networks can be an important element of your first job post PhD. Ask your supervisor or other academic contacts if they are aware of any opportunities in the pipeline and join relevan JISC mailing lists. Manchester’s guide to finding your ideal academic job has some good advice.

Job listings

Find funding opportunities

Look for postdoctoral fellowships to fund your next step in your early research career. Good sources include: has a database of funding from small to larger grants searchable by discipline. Also has a series of blogs with some great advice.

Vitae has excellent advice on applying for funding and links to to key funding sources.

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships are three-year Fellowship awards made to Early Career Scholars in all fields of the humanities and social sciences.

The Leverhulme Trus has Early Career Fellowships.

The Wellcome Trust has fellowships for researchers in the early stages of their careers

Max Weber fellowships cover the fields of political and social sciences, economics, law and history.

Junior Research Fellowships (JRFs) are awarded by the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge and based on evidence of research excellence. They are advertised at different times during the year and can be specific or open to a number of disciplines. Check the college website,, The Cambridge Reporter or the Oxford Gazette.

The UK Research Councils have various schemes. Most relevant for Goldsmiths are the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council. Computing researchers may also try the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowships support researchers at all stages of their career.

DiscoverPhDs are an online database of PhD projects and funding opportunities available to students across a wide range of UK universities.