Archives for posts with tag: applications

If you are a researcher in the early stages of your career and you want to pursue a career in academia, you’ll need to start thinking about building your funding profile.  Starting off with small pots of money gives you the confidence to navigate the application processes and also gives you a track record of your ability to win money.  This will be of benefit to you in the future when you are looking to write larger grant proposals.

With this in mind I’d like to share with you how the Think Ahead: Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (TA:SURE) scheme can assist with enhancing your funding profile.  I’ve previously written about how the scheme is designed to give early career researchers the experience of managing a project from start to finish.  Part of this process is recruiting an undergraduate student and then working with the student to apply for externally funded vacation bursaries.  The student receives a valuable income over the course of the summer project and the ECR, in their role as supervisor, achieves funding which can be highlighted on their CV. Read the rest of this entry »

Ernst and Young, the multinational accountancy and professional services firm, attracted a lot of media attention recently when it announced that it would no longer require applicants to have a 2:1 degree and the equivalent of three B grades at A level in order to be considered for its graduate programmes.

If you’re a postgraduate researcher or a recent doctoral graduate and you’re thinking about applying for graduate entry schemes you might be wondering what relevance this news has for you. Surely if you have a PhD it can’t really matter what class of bachelor’s degree you got, let alone how well you did at A Level? Unfortunately, in a great many cases it does still matter simply because the forms for these high throughput application processes aren’t flexible enough to deal with PhD graduates. 

Read the rest of this entry »


When it comes to writing job applications do you struggle to find the right words to tell the recruiter or why you think you’re the best candidate? Maybe you’ve submitted an application recently but not received that call or letter inviting you to interview and you’re wondering what, if anything, you’ve done wrong?

WE HAVE A MOOC FOR YOU! This was designed for all students but plenty of researchers have now signed up. Read the rest of this entry »

As a UK-based researcher you might be interested in working in academia outside the UK, whether in a permanent role or just to broaden your experience before resuming a career at home. Given the international nature of the postgraduate student body, the fact that employers recruit globally to academic and research posts and the long tradition of British PhDs undertaking post-docs abroad, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find someone in your own institution who’s been there and can advise you on how to go about looking for a job in your chosen country. Read the rest of this entry »


Many adverts for jobs in academia include an invitation to contact a named individual for further information. Understandably, people can be nervous about making this kind of approach and careers advisers are often asked whether it’s really necessary to take up the invitation. The answer is always an emphatic ‘YES’, mainly because other candidates certainly will make contact, and if you don’t, you risk looking less committed and enthusiastic than them. Read the rest of this entry »

white rabbitLast week I was really impressed to hear that both the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and BBSRC have changed their eligibility criteria for their early career fellowship schemes, removing the cut off point for number of years of postdoctoral experience. For many fellowship schemes the criteria Read the rest of this entry »

timthumb.phpAs my colleague Jane Simm showed in her recent post, for many years ‘competency-based’ interviews have been the mainstay of the selection process for UK employers. This kind of interview is based on the belief that past behaviour is the best predictor of future performance. Therefore, having identified in advance the skills and personal qualities (i.e. competencies – see this resource from Syracuse University) that are essential for effective performance in the job, the employer asks candidates to describe past situations in which they have demonstrated these.

Read the rest of this entry »

My colleague Kevin Mahoney recently posted a discussion of how doctoral graduates can use Graduate Fairs as an alternative to direct entry or ‘experienced hires’. He focussed on the fact that many employers just don’t understand why PhD graduates or postdocs for that matter would consider applying to them. The Think Ahead team strongly emphasises the need to make sure you can describe and articulate your researcher skill set, or ’transferable skills’ before approaching organisations. I will go further and implore you to do your research in checking how you then apply to an organisation of interest. Have you found out what is required by the employer? Do they want a CV…? Maybe they do if this is a speculative enquiry. So, is your CV targeted towards the company, their aims, needs, and reputation? Is it the right length and format (usually shorter and straight to the point)? Is it different from your standard academic CV – because it needs to be. SKILLS Increasingly employers are using online application forms and expect you to answer challenging competency or situational questions because they want the best people. Many of the popular employers are inundated with applications, and may are rejected due to basic mistakes, lack of preparation before competing applications, or failing to address the person specification. Ask yourself are you ready to face questions such as:

Read the rest of this entry »