Post-conference report: Beyond Academia 2015

“I don’t know what jobs exist for someone like me” is a common sentiment among PhDs and postdocs at the beginning of their career searches.  Held May 16th and 17th, the Beyond Academia conference of 2015 addressed this by bringing over 90 PhDs who work outside of academia to the UC Berkeley campus.  

final_coverThe two day event was completely organized by students and postdocs for their peers, with support from UC Berkeley.  It included three keynotes, 16 career panels, and 14 workshops, as well as ample time for networking between the 200 attendees and PhD-holders working in numerous professions.

Over the course of the conference, speakers raised five key points about career exploration and job searching:

  1. Networking is critical, and informational interviews are key.
  2. Develop a personal statement/mission statement/brand for yourself based on who you are and what you can do (not what you know/study).
  3. You have transferable skills: don’t sell yourself short!
  4. Do your homework on careers that interest you, and then do some soul-searching to decide whether you would actually like them.
  5. The job search process is very non-linear, so start early and keep your options open.

IMG_6114Speakers also highlighted many resources for PhDs, which can be found here along with other resources we have compiled previously.

Missed the conference?  See who was there and what careers we explored by looking at the conference program.

Want to know more?  See a nice post by Doug Kalish about our panel “The Recruiter’s Perspective”, and one about the differences between school and work.

DSC_2505The three keynote speakers provided helpful tips and an overwhelming message ofsupport.  It is clear that the culture of academia is changing toward acceptance of non-academic careers as valid, satisfying work for more than half of all graduates.  See full recaps of these talks by UCSF career counselor Bill Lindstaedt, Career coach Maren Wood, and UC Berkeley Associate Graduate Dean Rosemary Joyce in the next blog post.