What others have done | The Careers Service What others have done – Oxford University Careers Service
Oxford logo
Be inspired ...

Spending time looking at and listening to what others have done following their PhD or postdoc can be a valuable source of inspiration. Although data on post-PhD or post-postdoc transitions isn’t collected as consistently as the post-bachelor degree data, some larger-scale insights on what researchers do next is available.

  • Two Vitae reports provide a useful overview of early career researcher development. The first (2009) report analyses data collected from PhD students at UK universities on their post-PhD employment. A more recent (2016) report details career progression of early career (postdoc) researchers.
  • The League of European Research Universities (LERU) report Maps of academic career paths in 9 European countries including the UK produced by the League of European Research Universities (LERU). These show the different research positions available in an institution, the levels of responsibility, how they are funded at each stage and how a researcher may progress from one level to the next.
Learn where researchers go next

Individual accounts of how other researchers have used their training to develop fulfilling career paths may inspire career thoughts if you are currently unsure what your next role might be.

  • Research-Careers.org, developed by early career researchers in Oxford and beyond, features a growing number of profiles of researchers who have transitioned out of academia.
  • Vitae’s website contains an expansive set of researcher career profiles including academic/research as well as non-academic roles.
  • The Royal Society’s website also contains some interesting researcher profiles; includes some transitions back into, as well as out of, academia.
See ‘Careers Conference for Researchers’ resources

In 2017 we held our first annual Careers Conference for Researchers, aimed at researchers looking to move beyond academia. The podcasts and videos below  contain interviews with former researchers who moved from a DPhil or research position into jobs that make the most of their research training and experience.

Watch video interviews with speakers filmed by postdocs at the 2018 Careers Conference for Researchers. These cover speakers’ experiences of transitioning from PhD or postdoc into a new field beyond academia, as well as the role that mentors have played in their career development.

You can also see the brochure for the 2018 conference here.

Build your networks in Oxford and beyond

Networks matter. We see this through our work with researchers, and the insight is backed up by an article in FEMS Microbiology Letters about PhD student and postdoc job-searching: “Making meaningful connections and building relationships can be more valuable than other job-related skills… to progress within many professions.” (Blackford, 2018)

While you are in Oxford, make the most of your opportunities to build cross-disciplinary links and get actively involved in groups where you can meet people with different experiences and perspectives. Students have ample opportunity to network through colleges, doctoral training groups and student societies. If you’re employed here, join the Oxford Research Staff Society (OxRSS) for a warm welcome, a wide variety of social and professional networking activities, and the opportunity to express your views through departmental voice reps. Most student societies are also open to early career researchers.

Signing up for divisional training events is a great way to meet others outside your direct field of study, exchange ideas about potential career moves, all in addition to strengthening your skills profile.

The university’s inter-disciplinary research centres, such as The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), the Oxford Martin School, the Global Priorities Institute or Oxford E-research Centre (and many more) provide excellent opportunities to connect with researchers beyond your discipline.

Tap into resources in your department to find out where alumni in your field now work. Ask your department administrator how you can get involved in alumni events and/or use the alumni database.

Joint the Oxford Alumni Community for access to about 10,000 alumni willing to answer industry-specific questions and/or be a mentor.

Search the Oxford Careers Network for people in areas of work you are interested in, or who studied in a similar area. All 1200 members are alumni who have agreed to respond to questions and give advice. If you feel timid about networking more widely, start with this pool of willing, experienced people.

Of all online communities, LinkedIn is the most useful for careers insights and building connections.

What you can learn from LinkedIn

The search function on LinkedIn is an excellent way to identify former DPhil students and researchers whose fields of study or interest overlap with yours, see where they now work and what their current roles entail. You can use this technique for any university or institution with which you have a strong affiliation.

Having identified individuals with interesting career paths, you can then explore their employers’ websites to learn more about what those organisations do, whether you would be a good fit, and any potential opportunities. See our Networking guidance for more tips on how to do this.

Remember: Be specific with your keywords when you search because the LinkedIn database is very large. Include ‘Oxford’ (or other institution), your college or your department to pinpoint people whose training and experience correspond to yours. If you then decide to get in touch with someone whose profile you have seen, having those things in common may also increase the likelihood that you receive a response.

This information was last updated on 13 December 2019.
Loading... Please wait
Recent blogs about What others have done

Non-technical roles available at Oxford University Racing

Posted on behalf of Oxford University Racing (OUR). Blogged by Mike Moss on 11/02/2020.

The science and engineering students at Oxford University Racing are working towards racing their first car at Silverstone on 22-26 July 2020. But, they need some non-technical help to get them there.

If you want to demonstrate your drive, leadership and management skills in an exciting context there are Operations Manager and Team Leader roles available for you. If you think you have the organisational and motivational skills to help lead OUR to racing success in the summer, then please contact Team Manager on linh.phamthi@oxforduniracing.com as soon as possible. Closing date is 19 February 2020.

Collaboration Workshops for DPhils and Early Career Researchers

Posted on behalf of Social Sciences Division. Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 05/02/2020.

This series of 3 stand-alone workshops for all DPhil students and Early Career Researchers runs throughout Hilary term and are a must if you are either exploring the idea for the first time or have made steps already but would like to know more. All three workshops will take place at the Social Sciences Divisional Offices, Hayes House, 75 George St, Oxford.

What is ‘collaborating’?

10 February, 14:30-16:00  |  Researchers collaborate with all sorts of people and organisations – third-sector, social enterprises, businesses, the list goes on! It can be a rewarding experience, potentially enhancing your research and leading to greater impact. Whether you’ve previously thought about collaborating or not, come along to this workshop to learn about a new side of academia, and how it could enhance your development and future employability. Find out more on the Social Sciences Division website.

What type of collaboration works for you?

14 February, 14:30-16:00  |  This workshop is for DPhil students and Early Career Researchers who want to develop a collaboration with a business or another non-academic organisation but are unsure about what the collaboration might be about/what type of collaboration would suit their needs the most. Find out more on the Social Sciences Division website.

Identifying potential collaborators

16 March, 14:30-16:00  |  Finding the right partner, understanding why they might see value in the collaboration, and convincing them why they should work with you or use your research to improve their services, products, or processes are challenges! Come along to think them through and start laying the foundations. Find out more on the Social Sciences Division website.

China Job Fairs 2020

Blogged by Julia Hilton on 21/01/2020.

With more than 1,000 Chinese students currently studying at Oxford and a significant Chinese alumni group, the Oxford Careers Service is committed to supporting Chinese students and alumni with their job search. We know that navigating the job market in China alongside studying in the UK is extremely challenging. Whilst we see many Chinese students keen to stay to work in the UK, we are fully aware of the need to identify opportunities back in China too. For these reasons we are offering a series of China Careers events in 2020 exclusively for Chinese students, research staff and alumni to attend. The Careers Service is working closely with the Oxford University Chinese Students and Scholars Association and the Oxford University Chinese Society to raise awareness of these China focused events. We are grateful to both groups for their support and hard work.

Warwick China Fair 2020

WHEN: Saturday 22 February, 10:00-15:00
WHERE: Oculus building, University of Warwick


Organised by Warwick, plus partner Universities (including Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Bristol, Bath, Oxford, Lancaster and Aston Universities), it will enable you to meet both UK and China recruiters with graduate roles in China.

The event includes a panel presentation about the current Chinese job market; a session on visas; plus a series of employer presentations.

Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong Careers Fairs 2020

Organised by the London School of Economics (LSE) in collaboration with partner institutions (University of Oxford, Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, Columbia University and University of Chicago) to bring you Careers Fairs in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in August 2020. Full details will be updated on our China Careers pages as soon as we have them later this spring.

If you are fluent in Mandarin and would like to gain some social media marketing experience, we are also offering a China Fairs 2020 Marketing Assistant micro-internship at the Careers Service at the end of Hilary term. To find out more and apply visit CareerConnnect.

Finance Careers: Women’s PhD Mentorship Program

Posted on behalf of Morgan Stanley. Blogged by Julia Hilton on 13/01/2020.

Morgan Stanley are inviting current PhD students to apply for this great opportunity to participate in a one-year mentorship program, which will educate you on the financial services industry and how your degree could apply to a career within Quantitative Finance!

Selected mentees will attend two program events throughout the year, and will be paired with a mentor within the Morgan Stanley Quantitative Finance division. Event sessions include speed networking, job shadowing, mock interviews, and programming tutorials! Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity for mentorship and networking.

Applicants must be:

  • pursuing a PhD in a field such as Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, or related Quantitative field.
  • completing degree in December 2020 or later.

Selected mentees will be notified in early February. Questions on this program should be directed to Agata.Bartnik@morganstanley.com

To register your interest please visit the following Morgan Stanely web page.


AstraZeneca Postdoctoral Programme

Posted on behalf of AstraZeneca . Blogged by Claire Chesworth on 13/11/2019.

AstraZeneca will be advertising approximately 40 new postdoctoral positions in February which are available for anyone completing their PhD in 2020. More details about their programme can be found on the AstraZeneca postdoc careers website.

You might also be interested in attending their Postdoctoral Programme Open Day in Cambridge on 31 January although there are only 30 places available so please register as soon as possible if you are interested. Register for AstraZeneca Postdoctoral Open Day here >>

This page displays current related blog posts. If none display, you can still stay up-to-date with our newsletter sent regularly to all Oxford students.

Older posts can be found in our archive of past blogs.