PostGradual is the postgrad careers blog that takes PhD careers advice one tip at a time.

For PhDs

The transition from PhD to the next step in your professional life can be complex. You may feel simultaneously ‘overqualified’ for graduate-level jobs and under-experienced for more senior positions. You may be overwhelmed by the paths open to you; equally, you may worry if there is anything out there for you and have no idea where to start looking for it.

You have a PhD though, for Bob’s* sake… and now you feel as if you need a second doctorate just to work this stuff out.

That’s where PostGradual comes in, as the name suggests, to help you:

  1. Slow down, and simplify the maze of post-PhD careers;
  2. Deconstruct the dualities of the post-PhD job hunt;
  3. Connect to the latest postgrad-specific careers tips and resources from around the world – in one place

Every two weeks** we’ll take a top tip from a commentator or practitioner in the field of PhD careers and see how to apply to your post-PhD job hunt. We mostly focus on career routes in sectors beyond academia, but every so often there’ll be something in there about careers in academia, too. Read more about the rationale of PostGradual here.

*Bob is my cat. I thought it was only fair she got a mention.
** Or thereabouts, depending on how needy Bob has been that fortnight.

For career guidance practitioners working with PhDs

If you’re a career guidance practitioner working with PhDs, then it’s likely that this work forms just a fraction of your overall caseload. As a result, PostGradual is here to bring together the most relevant and up-to-date resources for supporting doctoral researchers into an easy, ‘one-stop’ bank to give you ideas and frameworks to apply to your work with PhD researchers. So happy reading… and keep banging that PhD Careers drum.

Why listen to me?

Hi, I’m Holly, and one day in April 2011, I cried into my Espresso Martini (other drinks available) in a bar in Birmingham, convinced that no-one would employ me. I was close to completing a PhD on the narrative role of abandoned buildings in contemporary British literature, and felt rudderless.

I had been taking a ‘scattergun’ approach to applying for jobs that I thought sounded interesting, but that I really knew little about. After having been considered a ‘high achiever’ for most of my life, the idea that I might ultimately not amount to very much was very, very real.

From then on, it’s been my goal to help PhDs understand themselves, the job market and make positive steps towards meaningful careers. I’ve now worked with postgrads for 10 years, and PostGradual is my way of sharing what I’ve learned during that time to help PhDs and careers practitioners across the UK.

Me in brief

  • Careers Adviser for Postgraduate Researchers at the University of Birmingham, UK: note: all views expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect those of the University.
  • Co-Chair of the AGCAS national Task Group for Research Students and Research Staff
  • Guest speaker for FindaPhD, the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE), Vitae and UKRI
  • PhD (English Literature) from University of Birmingham (2011)
  • PGDip Qualification in Career Guidance (QCG) from Coventry University (2016)
  • Registered Professional of the Career Development Institute
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • I live with a rare autoimmune eye condition called Acute Zonal Outer Occult Retinopathy (AZOOR) which causes significant visual field defects
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