A couple of weeks ago, we took a look at James van Wyck’s tips for Ph.D. candidates, one of which stated, “You need, need, need to have multiple plans. Identify a few careers that align with your skill sets and cultivate opportunities and contacts that would help secure these jobs.” This week, Thomas Malgadi conveyed a similar sentiment in his piece, “The Backup Plan.”
At the beginning of his piece, Malgadi states, “Ph.D.s would never invest precious grant money and time in a project whose success is tied to the implementation of a single research method. Nor should they invest in a job search that is too narrow.” Malgadi offers a variety of steps students can take to create a “backup plan.”
Here are a few of the points Malgadi highlights, but be sure to read through the full article for the complete rundown of tips!
- Consider the actual job market and hiring trends in addition to examining the qualifications required for a position. This can be done through conversations with those in the field or by searching online.
- Think about whether certain factors such as location and pay will affect your search—if so, you may need to modify your search to meet these other criteria.
- Establish when you’d like to and need to secure a job and don’t lose sight (literally) of these goals. Keep them posted where you’ll see them and make sure to give yourself sufficient time to achieve them.
- When considering your first and second choice career plans, don’t forget to build skills that will help you become a viable candidate for your second choice path, too.
- You can select a post-grad opportunity that will allow you to build skills in order to transition into a new role. “A career should be viewed as a series of stepping-stones rather than large leaps,” Malgadi writes.
- It’s ok to think beyond the obvious in terms of a career—many people wish they had explored a backup option sooner rather than later, because these ended up being lasting careers!