The non-academic career path is anything but an exception or an alternative! Research continues to show that at least two-thirds of PhDs immediately or eventually decide to leave the path to professorship or senior university researcher posts – no matter the disciplinary background, and for a wide variety of reasons. They go on to do a wide array of activities: there’s no typical non-academic career, no matter the scientific discipline.
The conversation about those alternatives has only recently begun however, and that makes it difficult for many doctoral candidates and postdocs to understand where they might look if they decide to try something else. Additionally, there are very few "typical" paths and "PhD entry positions", which complicates things further. The good news is that this is a career transition many PhDs have made, and there is plenty of support available!
In considering or planning your transition, you’ll need to think about a few essential points:
- In addition to your scientific expertise, what are the skills, interests and motivations that will guide your choices?
- What are the roles and domains you’d like to know more about? Are there any received clichés holding you back?
- What experience or training can you gain before your UNIL contract ends that will further develop your skills and interests?
- How will you present yourself to potential employers? What about your CV and motivation letter? How will you talk about yourself and your motivations in an interview?