Life after postgrad (Careers etc)

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    Next month I’ll be handing in my dissertation and finishing my MA, effectively putting an end to four solid years of higher education. Now I do have a long term plan: I want to start a PhD ideally in Sept 2017. However, come September I still need to get myself a job and possibly think about a plan B if the doctorate doesn’t work out (to curtail disappointment). One of the reasons why I went back to uni at 26 was to figure out what I’d like to do professionally. At that point of my life I was stuck in admin and really needed a severe shake up of my life. After coming out the other side, I can honestly say I know a lot more about myself, what employers are looking for and what opportunities are out there, but as for actually knowing what to apply for I’m none the wiser.

    Now, I know that none of you can tell me what to do, but what I thought might be useful would be to create a post-postgraduate career inspiration and resources thread. Including tips, links, videos, book recommendations, blogs to help get a bit of self-reflection going – specifically for those coming out of an MA/MSc/PhD. For instance I’ve always enjoyed digging into the background of significant people of interest, seeing where they started and how their career developed. Maybe we can also get a discussion going about the general areas we are interested in and what our reservations might be etc.

    This thread might fall flat on its face, but I’m secretly terrified and have to feel at least a little productive.

    ***NB the reason why I didn’t post this on the careers portion of the forums is because I’m specifically interested in the advice of postgrads and I didn’t want to restrict it to careers in a certain area.
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    (Original post by Whinchat)
    Next month I’ll be handing in my dissertation and finishing my MA, effectively putting an end to four solid years of higher education. Now I do have a long term plan: I want to start a PhD ideally in Sept 2017. However, come September I still need to get myself a job and possibly think about a plan B if the doctorate doesn’t work out (to curtail disappointment). One of the reasons why I went back to uni at 26 was to figure out what I’d like to do professionally. At that point of my life I was stuck in admin and really needed a severe shake up of my life. After coming out the other side, I can honestly say I know a lot more about myself, what employers are looking for and what opportunities are out there, but as for actually knowing what to apply for I’m none the wiser.

    Now, I know that none of you can tell me what to do, but what I thought might be useful would be to create a post-postgraduate career inspiration and resources thread. Including tips, links, videos, book recommendations, blogs to help get a bit of self-reflection going – specifically for those coming out of an MA/MSc/PhD. For instance I’ve always enjoyed digging into the background of significant people of interest, seeing where they started and how their career developed. Maybe we can also get a discussion going about the general areas we are interested in and what our reservations might be etc.

    This thread might fall flat on its face, but I’m secretly terrified and have to feel at least a little productive.

    ***NB the reason why I didn’t post this on the careers portion of the forums is because I’m specifically interested in the advice of postgrads and I didn’t want to restrict it to careers in a certain area.
    I think this is a great idea for a thread :awesome:

    It can be very confusing, trying to figure out life post-postgraduate degree(s) :sadnod: I felt a bit lost when my undergrad ended, so jumped straight into a Masters course. Since starting that in Sept 2010, I've done three six-month internships (only one of which was paid ) to build up my CV.

    Now I am in the relatively early stages of a part-time PhD, and I've finally realised what career path I am most passionate about: raising the general public's level of mental health awareness. Except it's not related at all to my previous internships OR my PhD :facepalm: I've got a tiny bit of volunteering experience in this area but need to build it up :yes:

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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I think this is a great idea for a thread :awesome:

    It can be very confusing, trying to figure out life post-postgraduate degree(s) :sadnod: I felt a bit lost when my undergrad ended, so jumped straight into a Masters course. Since starting that in Sept 2010, I've done three six-month internships (only one of which was paid ) to build up my CV.

    Now I am in the relatively early stages of a part-time PhD, and I've finally realised what career path I am most passionate about: raising the general public's level of mental health awareness. Except it's not related at all to my previous internships OR my PhD :facepalm: I've got a tiny bit of volunteering experience in this area but need to build it up :yes:

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    I'm so glad someone replied! 


    Your case is quite similar to a few of my friends: you know what you want to do, you've even done a little bit of work towards getting into the area, but it's hard to get a sense of the "lay of land" so to speak, let alone breaking through and securing some sort of paid work.

    Before working in admin I wanted to work in a gallery, but they can be cliquey places if they are small or if they are big you don't get exposed to all the different areas. After over 6 months of internships I gave up because I was no closer to getting paid or understanding where I could fit in. Now gallery work just obviously wasn't for me, but I have seen loads of friends working years for free in order to get their foot in the door. I think there is another way to going about it though, especially if you are super passionate about the area: take on a little personal project.

    Ok don't judge me, but I love the podcast Millennial (http://www.millennialpodcast.org). The first 10 eps are basically the creator explaining how day-to-day she's going about establishing a career in online broadcasting after graduating. It's a really great insight into another persons thought processes but for the purposes of this discussion what's really interesting is how the creator builds podcasting experience, not by working for free, but by just doing her own podcast. I think there's a bit of scope doing something like this (even at a smaller scale) in your position. For example, have you noticed a gap in mental health support somewhere? Maybe there's something you can do to fill it. It doesn't have to be big, it could be as simple as setting up a Twitter, Instagram or blog and building a following. Maybe even getting in touch with a charitable institution and seeing if there's anything you can do together. Sometimes I think self motivated work looks better on the cv than endless internships, plus it doesn't matter if you don't get paid because it's your project and you can dictate its limits.

    Hope this helps, maybe I'll open up in a little bit and talk about what I'm interested in.
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    (Original post by Whinchat)
    I'm so glad someone replied! 


    Your case is quite similar to a few of my friends: you know what you want to do, you've even done a little bit of work towards getting into the area, but it's hard to get a sense of the "lay of land" so to speak, let alone breaking through and securing some sort of paid work.

    Before working in admin I wanted to work in a gallery, but they can be cliquey places if they are small or if they are big you don't get exposed to all the different areas. After over 6 months of internships I gave up because I was no closer to getting paid or understanding where I could fit in. Now gallery work just obviously wasn't for me, but I have seen loads of friends working years for free in order to get their foot in the door. I think there is another way to going about it though, especially if you are super passionate about the area: take on a little personal project.

    Ok don't judge me, but I love the podcast Millennial (http://www.millennialpodcast.org). The first 10 eps are basically the creator explaining how day-to-day she's going about establishing a career in online broadcasting after graduating. It's a really great insight into another persons thought processes but for the purposes of this discussion what's really interesting is how the creator builds podcasting experience, not by working for free, but by just doing her own podcast. I think there's a bit of scope doing something like this (even at a smaller scale) in your position. For example, have you noticed a gap in mental health support somewhere? Maybe there's something you can do to fill it. It doesn't have to be big, it could be as simple as setting up a Twitter, Instagram or blog and building a following. Maybe even getting in touch with a charitable institution and seeing if there's anything you can do together. Sometimes I think self motivated work looks better on the cv than endless internships, plus it doesn't matter if you don't get paid because it's your project and you can dictate its limits.

    Hope this helps, maybe I'll open up in a little bit and talk about what I'm interested in.
    Sorry for the slow response

    It's interesting what you say about having one's own mini-projects within the relevant area. I hadn't thought of that but it's def a good suggestion! Off the top of my head, I can't think of any gaps but there must be some out there that I could blog about or something...

    Am hoping to attend an event at the end of August where I might be able to do a bit of networking with some of the major mental health charities

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    This seems like an interesting thread What subject are you interested in? I'm hoping to go into academia, just finishing my MSc and about to start my PhD in October. It took a lot of unpaid internships though! 'Tis a poor road.

    What you say about setting something up yourself is interesting; I've been wondering what I can do in that vein. Perhaps blogging? I'd like it to have a specific focus rather than slice of life though, so I'm not sure what to do. I need to do some networking either way to even have a chance at those elusive academia jobs! I'm not really sure about that whole process either though!

    One step at a time
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    Hello

    Just finished a Master's, just now (literally 15 mins ago) I accepted a place on a second master's. Oops. This one is distance learning from Sweden and free, so it seemed a no-brainer to do it. I'm also hoping it'll open up the opportunity to do (another) Erasmus+ traineeship. Because my last course was also in Sweden, I was eligible to do the traineeship in the UK! Not sure about this course though as I won't be a Swedish resident.

    Also Waiting to hear back about a funded PhD, but my application status hasn't progressed since I applied in mid-June so I'm honestly not very optimistic. Will probably apply to the Hong Kong PhD fellowship programme later this year.

    Ultimately, I'd like to do a PhD, but at the moment I'm applying for work in charities, specifically education and and international development. Haven't had an interview yet and getting disillusioned. Even minimum wage admin jobs don't get back to me
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    (Original post by Perfectly_Imperfect)
    Hello

    Just finished a Master's, just now (literally 15 mins ago) I accepted a place on a second master's. Oops. This one is distance learning from Sweden and free, so it seemed a no-brainer to do it. I'm also hoping it'll open up the opportunity to do (another) Erasmus+ traineeship. Because my last course was also in Sweden, I was eligible to do the traineeship in the UK! Not sure about this course though as I won't be a Swedish resident.

    Also Waiting to hear back about a funded PhD, but my application status hasn't progressed since I applied in mid-June so I'm honestly not very optimistic. Will probably apply to the Hong Kong PhD fellowship programme later this year.

    Ultimately, I'd like to do a PhD, but at the moment I'm applying for work in charities, specifically education and and international development. Haven't had an interview yet and getting disillusioned. Even minimum wage admin jobs don't get back to me
    Yeah I'm worried about getting stuck in that cycle too, applying to jobs and then applying to more jobs, slowly compromising on what you'd like to do each time. Think I may try and side step it completely and just apply to the admin bank at the hospital just so I get some money coming in.
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    (Original post by Perfectly_Imperfect)
    Hello

    Just finished a Master's, just now (literally 15 mins ago) I accepted a place on a second master's. Oops. This one is distance learning from Sweden and free, so it seemed a no-brainer to do it. I'm also hoping it'll open up the opportunity to do (another) Erasmus+ traineeship. Because my last course was also in Sweden, I was eligible to do the traineeship in the UK! Not sure about this course though as I won't be a Swedish resident.

    Also Waiting to hear back about a funded PhD, but my application status hasn't progressed since I applied in mid-June so I'm honestly not very optimistic. Will probably apply to the Hong Kong PhD fellowship programme later this year.

    Ultimately, I'd like to do a PhD, but at the moment I'm applying for work in charities, specifically education and and international development. Haven't had an interview yet and getting disillusioned. Even minimum wage admin jobs don't get back to me
    :jumphug: Yeah the job market is a bloody nightmare I'm quite interested in education too (particularly widening participation in HE, and music education) but getting a foot in the door seems really hard Do you have volunteering or previous experience in this area, or is it something you're trying to break into? Fingers crossed for you :hugs:
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    (Original post by TeaAndSugar)
    This seems like an interesting thread What subject are you interested in? I'm hoping to go into academia, just finishing my MSc and about to start my PhD in October. It took a lot of unpaid internships though! 'Tis a poor road.

    What you say about setting something up yourself is interesting; I've been wondering what I can do in that vein. Perhaps blogging? I'd like it to have a specific focus rather than slice of life though, so I'm not sure what to do. I need to do some networking either way to even have a chance at those elusive academia jobs! I'm not really sure about that whole process either though!

    One step at a time
    A few years ago I had this crazy idea that I would like to teach english in Mexico, but since it came out of nowhere I told myself I couldn't do it until I grounded it in some actual skills and interests. I thought my fascination would pass if I had to do some work towards it, but now a couple of years on I'm actually getting to the point where my Spanish is not too bad.

    Its crossed my mind that maybe I could do a TEFL, but this seems like a drastic plan to fill what would be less than a year after I manage to clear some debt and save up for the course. Of course I could put off the PhD for a little longer if I did end up going to teach in Mexico, but I'm hesitant to since its the only solid career plan I have.

    I feel like I'm stuck a bit between a rock and a hard place
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    :jumphug: Yeah the job market is a bloody nightmare I'm quite interested in education too (particularly widening participation in HE, and music education) but getting a foot in the door seems really hard Do you have volunteering or previous experience in this area, or is it something you're trying to break into? Fingers crossed for you :hugs:
    Cheers! I don't have any concrete experience but I have some casual training which shows that I at least have an interest, outside of actual teaching I have all the skills to working in a non-profit educational charity (which I wouldn't mind doing), but location wise that's going to be a bit difficult to acheive. I'm close to London but not close enough for the commute to be comfortable, and there seems to be a limited range of interesting jobs where I am. :console:
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    (Original post by Whinchat)
    A few years ago I had this crazy idea that I would like to teach english in Mexico, but since it came out of nowhere I told myself I couldn't do it until I grounded it in some actual skills and interests. I thought my fascination would pass if I had to do some work towards it, but now a couple of years on I'm actually getting to the point where my Spanish is not too bad.

    Its crossed my mind that maybe I could do a TEFL, but this seems like a drastic plan to fill what would be less than a year after I manage to clear some debt and save up for the course. Of course I could put off the PhD for a little longer if I did end up going to teach in Mexico, but I'm hesitant to since its the only solid career plan I have.

    I feel like I'm stuck a bit between a rock and a hard place
    I can't say I know much about TEFL, but I've heard people say a lot of positive things about it and I'm sure it gives you a lot of transferable skills while you earn. And If your PhD involves children it would be a great experience and give a lot of insight into your research. If you're passionate about it, it might be worth at least applying, and it opens a whole new career path

    I'm not all that knowledgeable about it though
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    (Original post by Whinchat)
    Cheers! I don't have any concrete experience but I have some casual training which shows that I at least have an interest, outside of actual teaching I have all the skills to working in a non-profit educational charity (which I wouldn't mind doing), but location wise that's going to be a bit difficult to acheive. I'm close to London but not close enough for the commute to be comfortable, and there seems to be a limited range of interesting jobs where I am. :console:
    Ah yeah, things are tough for the non-Londoners (native Londoner here, so I've got it lucky!) I hope you can find a way to make it worse! I think a TEFL qualification sounds like a great investment, tbh - even if it means delaying a potential PhD course!
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    Also struggling with the non-London thing I'm in rural Leicestershire and the jobs here are pretty much non-existent. Think the local paper had 4 jobs in it last week!

    Yup, I have a experience. I did an internship at an Education charity last summer, taught A'Level business abroad for 18 months, worked in customer service/a call centre for 3 years (where a lot of our clients were charities) worked on a summer camp in the USA, took part in ICS in Nigeria.
    During undergrad (admittedly I graduated in 2010) I ran a society, volunteered a lot for People and Planet, established a student allotment with a grant that I applied for, was union council chair, a student ambassador
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    (Original post by Perfectly_Imperfect)
    Hello

    Just finished a Master's, just now (literally 15 mins ago) I accepted a place on a second master's. Oops. This one is distance learning from Sweden and free, so it seemed a no-brainer to do it. I'm also hoping it'll open up the opportunity to do (another) Erasmus+ traineeship. Because my last course was also in Sweden, I was eligible to do the traineeship in the UK! Not sure about this course though as I won't be a Swedish resident.

    Also Waiting to hear back about a funded PhD, but my application status hasn't progressed since I applied in mid-June so I'm honestly not very optimistic. Will probably apply to the Hong Kong PhD fellowship programme later this year.

    Ultimately, I'd like to do a PhD, but at the moment I'm applying for work in charities, specifically education and and international development. Haven't had an interview yet and getting disillusioned. Even minimum wage admin jobs don't get back to me
    distance learning and free. Wow! Tell me where *
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    In answer to the OP I'm going with the flow.

    I'm a serial job hopper, eternal student, armchair activist.

    Goal is to teach part time evening courses and or do more masters and or a phd.
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    (Original post by beautifulbigmacs)
    distance learning and free. Wow! Tell me where *
    hehe, from Sweden. Not many full Master's but lots of single courses of around 7.5-15ECTCs
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    (Original post by Perfectly_Imperfect)
    hehe, from Sweden. Not many full Master's but lots of single courses of around 7.5-15ECTCs
    cool. Just had a nose and it all looks very STEMy.
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    (Original post by beautifulbigmacs)
    cool. Just had a nose and it all looks very STEMy.
    *

    Did you look at universityadmissions.se? I've done a few courses that were social science/humanities based. I'm also on the waiting list for an Arabic course*
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    Just to say that I've really enjoyed reading this thread
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    (Original post by Perfectly_Imperfect)
    *

    Did you look at universityadmissions.se? I've done a few courses that were social science/humanities based. I'm also on the waiting list for an Arabic course*
    awesome thanks
 
 
 
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