Advice from a PhD turned uni hiring manager: Transitioning out of a PhD

Dr Chad McDonald completed his PhD in History at the University of Bristol in 2019. He’s now a Senior Academic and Study Skills Tutor at Manchester Metropolitan University. This role has seen him shortlist hundreds of applications and interview dozens of candidates. In this blog he reflects on his post-PhD career and offers advice for those looking to move into third-space roles in universities.

“As I was preparing to submit my thesis in the summer of 2019, I was also trying to plan for what would come next. This involved balancing my imminent thesis deadline against job hunting. Juggling these demands was tough!

One thing that made it easier, though, was that I’d planned for what I wanted to do next throughout my PhD. Here are some key points to consider during your PhD to support your job search (no matter how imminent it may be!)

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Top Tips for international students pursuing careers in the UK

In November, we held an ‘International Alumni Careers’ panel for international students seeking to find graduate jobs and to pursue careers in the UK.

We caught up with our five panellists to hear their top tips:

Anukriti Panda, MSc Public Health

Anukriti came to study at the University of Bristol from India and is now a Senior Clinical Research Practitioner at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London. Her advice to international students trying to find work in the UK is:

“Firstly, networking! Network with your friends, with your academic advisors, and most importantly with your alumni. We are all available on LinkedIn, just connect with us and then we can share our email addresses.”


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Developing career resilience as a graduate – how can you develop this increasingly important attribute?

Resilience is becoming an increasingly crucial attribute in the job market. Whether you’ve just started your career or are navigating the job application process, building career resilience is an essential skill that can set you apart from the competition and contribute to your long-term success.

In this blog post, we will explore the meaning and importance of career resilience, and most importantly, how you can develop and strengthen this valuable trait, both as you apply for jobs, and navigate workplace challenges.

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Internship stories: Working in business operations at INVISTA

Hi, my name is Harry and I am a final year Management with Innovation student at the University of Bristol. This course is a four-year integrated master’s degree, combining specialist core disciplines such as Management, Economics, Physics and many others, with Innovation, to tackle the growing needs of the 21st Century.

Over the summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to join INVISTA, a global manufacturer of fibers, polymers and chemical intermediates, and a subsidiary of Koch Industries. I worked as a Business Operations Intern, joining the wider EU Supply Chain team.

I engaged with the Careers Service at the University of Bristol several times in my third year, when I was looking at, and applying for internships. The service provided me with resources to help my application stand out and signposted internships, including the INVISTA summer programme that I recently completed.

During this internship, I worked in the relatively new Centre of Excellence (COE) team. This formed part of the wider Enablement team, where the focus is very much on innovation. I found the opportunity to be a part of this team exciting, as it allowed me to use the theory I had learned in my course and apply it in the real world to improve efficiency within selected Supply Chain processes.

From a more tangible perspective, I got the chance to experiment and use tools new to me, such as ChatGPT to automate a process, and worked with developers to enhance a current system of capturing customer information. Through the culture of Principled-Based Management™, I also had the opportunity to ‘fail’, and take it as a learning opportunity for when things don’t go to plan – as they so often do. Therefore, this role provided an opportunity for both personal and professional growth.

Following the conclusion of my internship, INVISTA kindly offered me a full-time position as a Business Operations Specialist beginning in 2024, following my graduation. I will be joining the Customer Experience team, where I will be the focal point for my customers to ensure they get the very best service we can provide. I am really looking forward to beginning my career at INVISTA and furthering my knowledge in supply chains and the manufacturing industry.

Whilst studying, I found taking part in activities such as representing the University in tennis and being part of the innovation society, (firstly as Kit Secretary before moving on to Equality Director) will help me develop skills for working life, through teamwork, leadership, and people-skills.

I think one of the key skills to work in this industry would be the drive to continually keep learning. However, there are some skills which would be more obvious to increase your chances of getting into this sector, like teamwork, customer service skills, and experience using software such as Salesforce, SAP, and PowerBi.

I would also encourage you to want to keep learning more about whatever it is you are doing. For example, before my internship, I had very little knowledge of supply chains, business operations or the manufacturing industry, before my internship, but I was given a chance to learn because I showed the drive and commitment to constantly and quickly learn or adapt.


INVISTA Careers

For more information about the INVISTA Summer Internship please visit our Koch Careers page. For other roles, please visit INVISTA – Koch Careers


Starting an internship soon?

Navigating your future: the true value of arts, humanities and social sciences degrees

Students of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) are often keenly aware of the positive characteristics of their degrees. 

Graduates of these disciplines are curious, creative, investigative and impactful, and AHSS degrees help us to understand ourselves, our society and our place in the world.

But what about their value in a career context? This is where unhelpful narratives about them being less ‘valuable’, come into play, such as that they lead to inferior job prospects. But there is so much evidence to challenge this. 

Here are five myths that research by The British Academy has helped to dispel: 

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How to succeed in a graduate programme: top tips from FDM.

Ready to start your first job? Graduate programmes are a popular choice for graduates, offering a great way to kickstart your professional journey.

These programmes are designed to prepare you for the job market, equipping you with the necessary skills and knowledge to stand out from the competition.

At FDM, we’ve been connecting people with technology for over 30 years. Our graduate programmes attract thousands of individuals each year, helping them discover exciting opportunities in business and tech.

But what skills are recruiters looking for in candidates? The FDM recruitment team spill the beans…

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Careers in Medicine

Welcome to the fascinating world of medicine. Where science and compassion interact to save lives and transform the human experience.

Panellist, Amber, speaks to students at the Careers Service about the Mature Medic Platform.

In March we welcomed a panel of 4 speakers for a panel event, who shared their experiences, as well as their top tips, to students interested in a career in medicine.  

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Science meets the arts in an IKEEP work placement

Electrical and Electronic Engineering student Tirenioluwa Omigbodun recently took on the challenge of an IKEEP placement with independent arts venue The Bristol Improv Theatre (BIT).

She was part of a student team looking at external factors impacting the theatre so they can adapt and attract new audiences. 

 

Tirenioluwa Omigbodun posing for a selfie in front of the window overlooking Wills Memorial Building on a sunny day in Bristol.

Tirenioluwa, can you tell us about your team placement with Bristol Improv Theatre?

The placement with the Bristol Improv Theatre was on looking at their external environment. The theatre was preparing their 2023/25 business plan and needed a glimpse of the socio-economic environment. We researched their audience profiles, trends within the industry and how the BIT impacts its environment.  

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Get Hired sponsor spotlight – meet Elizabeth from Davitt Jones Bould (DJB)

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Collin and I am the Business Manager at Davitt Jones Bould (DJB), real estate law specialists, and we are one of the sponsors of Get Hired this year.

After graduating from the University of Warwick in 2018 with first-class honours in English Literature, I embarked on the graduate job hunt. When looking for positions, I was very open-minded, seeking a position that would allow me to learn and grow in a commercial setting.

This is always my first tip to graduates now: with this mindset, you will invariably stumble upon opportunities that you weren’t even aware of at the time. This is exactly what I experienced when I secured my graduate position at Davitt Jones Bould (DJB).

DJB is a national law firm founded in 1999 which has become established as the largest specialist real estate firm in the UK. Unlike traditional law firms, at DJB we operate a twin-track model, separating commercial dealings from the legal practice.

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Top tips for networking with employers at careers fairs.

Get Hired, our flagship spring careers fair, is back! Taking place on Wednesday 3 May, from 12:30 pm to 4 pm at Bristol Beacon, it’s a great opportunity to network with a variety of employers.

But how do you network effectively? We chatted with James Darley, CEO of Transform Society, to get his networking top tips.

“It’s critical that you get the most out of this unique opportunity to meet employers face-to-face and build your professional network, but often students worry about these events and don’t know how to get the most out of them.

As part of the ‘Prepare to get hired’ event series (aiming to help you get the most out of Get Hired), I will be hosting a skill session based on professional networking where I’ll discuss what professional networking is, why you need to do it and how to do it.

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