Ph.D. Employability: Struggles and Solutions


What happens when jobs in academia are scarce, and few of the descriptions of jobs outside academia seem like a fit? How can graduates find the right job for them, whether it’s inside academia or far afield? This episode explores:

  • Ways to explain your skills and expertise so an employer sees you as a good match for them.
  • Tips for reframing how graduate students talk about themselves and their research.
  • How advisors can encourage graduates to explore a wider range of jobs.
  • A discussion of the book chapter “Beyond the Data: Navigating the Struggles of Post-PhD Employability,” in The Sage Handbook of Graduate Employability.

Our guest is: Dr. Holly Prescott, who is a career guidance practitioner specializing in working with postgraduate researchers (graduate students/ PhDs). She completed a PhD in Literature and Cultural Geography at the University of Birmingham (UK) in 2011. Since then, she has gained ten years' experience in postgraduate student recruitment, admissions, and careers support. Holly also holds a PGDip (QCG) in Career Guidance from Coventry University (UK) and the Career Development Institute, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is currently the Careers Adviser for Postgraduate Researchers at the University of Birmingham (UK). Holly is particularly passionate about developing Postgraduate Researchers' awareness of career routes beyond and adjacent to academic research, helping them to make transitions into meaningful careers. This led her to found the PhD careers blog ‘PostGradual’ ( Holly lives with a rare autoimmune eye condition called AZOOR which causes visual field defects, and outside of work she volunteers for the British sight loss charity RNIB. She is also Assistant Artistic Director of Ottisdotter Theatre Company based in London. She is the author of “Beyond the Data: Navigating the Struggles of Post-PhD Employability,” in The Sage Handbook of Graduate Employability.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women and gender.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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