Morphing several years worth of collected data into a coherent narrative that illustrates clearly ‘what you did’ and ‘what you found out’ is a big challenge. In my opinion it’s one you’re ready for, but you have to get started on writing to really recognise that you can do it.
There are some really excellent reasons to write the thesis that extend beyond just evidencing the time you’ve spent slaving your socks off. I’ve spent some hours talking to thesis writers through my thesis coaching projects, and my following top 5 skills you’ll hone (beyond becoming a Master of the Universe in your subject area) have become well evidenced. These are easy-wins for examples for your next job application, and good to keep in mind if you’re wondering how you’ll survive the write-up phase!
Click the link to read the 5 reasons you are now more employable.
- You have written a book. Congratulations, you are an expert communicator of the written word! You have crafted a complete and coherent story with a beginning, a middle and an end, that lets us know theoretically what you did, and technically how, and very importantly why. You also made all the figures, you commissioned some editors, you drafted and redrafted copy, and you formatted, typeset and printed this yourself. You are the hero of this story.
- You have managed a project. You can work aligned to a project brief (the last student’s thesis format), to create a deliverable work package (the book), to be delivered to stakeholders (your supervisor, your funder, the university), within an agreed time frame (your deadline). You will have assessed the risk and the costs/benefits associated with collecting more data versus writing up now. You’ve planned your project milestones (chapter deadlines), managed your resources (your time, your supervisor’s time, the biscuits) and the logistics (work at home, department, or library), and quality assured the output (getting feedback from the post-docs, and your supervisor).
- You are skilled at influence and persuasion. A necessary part of writing up is making demands on the time and energy of others whether to show you how to do a particular analysis, to read drafts and give you corrections, or to listen when you want to have a moan. To negotiate their help you are likely to have spared a thought for diplomacy in timing your requests, and demonstrated reciprocity by helping others when they needed it. You understand the need to be consistent and reliable in delivering on promises and how that helps to cultivate trust. Whilst hanging on to that a shared vision for the finished thesis can take teeth-grinding effort, you’ve negotiated and compromised to make it happen.
- You’re self-motivated. Because who got up and got the thing written? And through this you have demonstrated a commitment to finishing what you started, to stretching your comfort zone and to learning from your mistakes. You can now demonstrate persistence in getting it right, and resilience in becoming stronger through perseverance. It’ll be useful for that interview question on demonstrating you commitment to success.
- You’re a critical thinker. After all that’s what the PhD was all about. And in addition, maintaining an awareness of your role and responsibilities in the thesis writing process can help you think critically about your self: your skills, competencies and attributes, what parts of work you enjoy and would like to be a part of your future career, what you have found easy, and what, if you had to do it all again (it’s ok you don’t!), you’d be better at.
The Thesis Mentoring programme will be launching at the University of Sheffield again in January 2015.