Archives for posts with tag: researcher

This is the final Think Ahead blog post from, Jane Simm, Careers Adviser for Researchers. Jane retires on the 31 July 2017 — we wish her all the very best and thank her for her long, passionate and dedicated support.

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So what actually does a graduate scheme involve?

Many of the larger organisations provide opportunities for graduates to join them via a ‘graduate scheme’, ‘grad programme’, ‘training scheme’, ‘graduate development programme’ etc etc…in fact a range of terminology is used so take note of this! It is  usually a way of gaining experience, receiving training in functional areas e.g. finance, marketing, purchasing, to name but a few, but can involve routes into obtaining Chartered status also, for certain professions.

Is this an appropriate route for a researcher to consider?

In a nutshell, mmmm quite possibly, but it will depend on the type of work you are seeking to enter, and where the employer/organisation places graduate schemes as part of its recruitment programme. Many smaller organisations such as small to medium size companies (also called SMEs) will have different methods of attracting researchers, such as ‘direct hires’ or ‘experienced hires’, which we will come back to.*

When considering a potential careers outside academia it is essential to consider the many and varied way an organisation uses to attract candidates:

What are the different approaches to job search for researchers ?

Numerous surveys and reports, over the years have discussed this topic, but its all about using your creativity and very obvious research skills to consider what’s best for you. To name some approaches: Social media including LinkedIn (now a key networking site, so how is your online presence?!); Graduate vacancy websites such as Prospects and Target Jobs; your own HE Careers Service jobs pages (if you have access to them), who work with employers wanting to advertise their vacancies; Specialist jobsites depending on the nature of the work you are seeking (e.g. charityjob or Nature Jobs); never underestimate the value of your learned societies or professional bodies who often have their own vacancy sites; recruitment agencies (also called ‘executive search’ sites) are frequently used by researchers to secure employment; regional job search sites such as Yorkshire Graduates; and good old fashioned newspapers in the UK, and specialist publications.

*So what is direct entry or experienced hires?

This is where an organisation may be advertising specific roles, vacancies or positions where your skills set matches their requirements. It could be an advertised vacancy on a company website you have identified, or a speculative approach to a company where you highlight your key skills in a cover letter. These may be research related, or perhaps focussed on a career change, highlighting the transferable skills that employers outside academia value greatly.

So what are the advantages of Direct Hire versus Graduate Schemes

This will depend on what career you are seeking to enter, and whether you are sure of the kind of role you want to take. For example, through Grad Schemes many of the larger companies will provide the chance to experience several different functional roles within their company, possibly linked to professional training and development. However, many researchers with a comprehensive set of skills already banked, may join an organisation based on their current and previous experience as a direct hire which may offer the opportunity for an accelerated career progression. There is no ‘one size fits all’, and you should carefully weigh up your options, and the recruitment patterns of employers.

How do I secure a Graduate scheme?

Timing is often crucial for applications as many employers will close their schemes before December of the year prior to start dates. Timing this right should form part of your job search strategy!

Make sure you are clear what you want and what can you offer a potential employer who is offering a graduate scheme. Highlight your  skills set and do some careful research on what they are, how do they match the organisation’s requirements, you will need to provide clear examples of when you have used these skills and competencies, and would you be able to provide evidence of how they have been used. Consider how to successfully apply for jobs, complete different types of application forms, and cope with various types of interviews. Remember many of the larger employers will use a range of selection techniques such as assessment centres, possibly psychometric assessment, to name but a few. Do your homework and try and get along to any networking sessions employers and Careers Services may be offering.

Still considering options? At Sheffield we bring back past researchers to talk about their experiences in a very successful programme called v i s t a (seminars, mentoring, blogs). We also have two dedicated careers advisers for researchers who provide workshops and one to one support. You can find them through Career Connect.

Remember, always do what’s best for you. Good luck with your job search

 

This is a guest post from Ellen Buckley, Billy Bryan and Duncan Gillespie, members of the Medicine, Dentistry and Health’s Research in Policy Group

At the recent Medical School Research Meeting, Dr Duncan Gillespie (MDH RSA, Research and Policy group) sat down with Rt Hon Sir Kevin Barron (Labour MP for Rother Valley) to talk about the importance of research on changing legislation. His diverse parliamentary experience includes chairing the Health Select Committee that brought through the 2005/6 ban of smoking in public places and held evidentiary hearings for minimum unit pricing of alcohol in 2010. More recently, Sir Kevin has been Chair of the All-Party Group on Pharmacy, protecting the availability of community pharmacies and protesting against pharmacy cuts by presenting a petition to Number 10, Downing Street, which had 2.2 million signatures. Read the rest of this entry »

Most people have some form of digital footprint these days; it’s an occupational hazard in almost all lines of work.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked to connect via LinkedIn, and looking after the @ThinkAheadSheff twitter handle means I’m always on the lookout for people/organisations to follow.

Having an online presence as a researcher is a great means of raising your profile; it facilitates global networks and can generate new collaborative partnerships.  An online profile can assist you in promoting your research and reaching a wider audience – with specific social networking sites such as ResearchGate there are a whole host of opportunities open to you.

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Your digital profile is now often the first thing that someone encounters about you – it’s your brand and it should be carefully cultivated.  If you have a personal account on any social media platform and you also used for work purposes, you might want to think about what image you’re portraying with your posts.

I was recently in contact with a researcher who had their twitter handle in their email signature.  Being curious, I checked out their profile to see what they were working on.  Their bio listed their employer and area of research, but all the tweets I could find were complaints to various retailers and service providers and it left me feeling a little disappointed.  There were no retweeted posts or articles relating to their research field, let alone anything sharing their specific research interests.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for using twitter to expedite complaints processes – after a colleague experienced faulty teabags which exploded on contact with water, a quick tweet resulted in replacement teabags and all the ginger tea she could consume. But posts like that should be the exception rather than the rule.

If you advertise your social media platform of choice within a work context it’s reasonable for a person engaging with it to expect some work related content.  Equally you want your audience to connect with you as a person; striking that balance between work-related posts and other interest posts can be difficult, but it can be achieved.

At Sheffield there are a number of resources available to support you with your online profile.  Here are just a few:

There is also a #vitaehangout tomorrow (Tuesday 20th June 2017) on the topic of navigating your digital profile.  It promises to cover a range of topics from creating your own digital identity, to effectively using online platforms to promote your research.

This is a guest post, written by and expressing the views of Dr Steve Hutchinson (founder of Hutchinson Training and Development). Steve runs excellent workshops. He is also one of the editors, and a plausibly prattling contributor to the upcoming book ‘53 interesting ways to enhance researcher development’…

Many years ago, I was trying to successfully navigate the upgrade meeting which would allow me to promote my registration from MPhil to PhD.

This was a scary meeting and not because I didn’t know my science (I didn’t know my science – but I’ve always been good at plausible prattle). The meeting was frightening because straight from the start one of the two panellists fixed me with a steely gaze and asked: “So, what have you learned over the last year that has made you a better academic?”. Read the rest of this entry »

Following this post and this post from @kayguccione about attitudes to leaving academia, this is a guest post from Dr Cally Guerin, University of Adelaide who edits the Doctoral Writing Blog (@docwritingSIG).

When doctoral candidates are nearing the end of their degrees, mentioning their future career paths can be a pretty touchy subject. Just look at these memes:

pitt.pngBrad Pitt in Fight Club Read the rest of this entry »

women-talking-converted.jpgVia twitter (@kayguccione) I came across this anonymous article yesterday. It adds to a growing recent batch of articles in various places about the value of a PhD for life outside the academy. It describes very well the stats on the likelihood of working in academia permanently, and makes a clear call to reposition the doctoral degree as preparation for whatever should come next (like your UG or Masters is), rather than an academic gauntlet to be run where only the fittest (most stubborn, and most burned out) survive. I am all for this, in fact it’s part of the work I do, getting researchers to broaden their awareness of careers beyond academia — see v i s t a, and v i s t a mentoring (alternatives are available in other institutions). However, yesterday’s article offers the opinion that people aren’t talking about this issue, describing a “universal silence on non-academic career options.” Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been working as an insider in research and academic staff mentoring programmes for a good fair bit now, and I’ve tried to anchor my work in the idea that mentoring is for any and all people who see a benefit to being part of the programme. There are also people for whom mentoring is not the right approach right now: perhaps it’s not the right time, maybe they haven’t got enough time to dedicate to such an involved form of development, or maybe they need a more specialist conversation (e.g. specific funding expertise, english language support, software training, careers service consultation, disability services, counselling services, HR specialists, occupational health etc). It’s my job to facilitate this understanding, and to signpost to alternative/complementary services.

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Not signing up to the mentoring programme is therefore ok with me. Similarly I count it as a positive outcome if a potential mentee changes their mind after attending the induction session and decides that mentoring is just not what they thought, or not for them. Properly engaging people in their development is not about coercing them. No-one needs to be guilted into 3-6h critical career evaluation over a 6 month period. Read the rest of this entry »

As the build up increases to the Paralympics, Channel 4 have launched a trailer called, ‘We’re the Superhumans’ which is receiving a lot of positive press and has even been described as the “best TV trailer ever”. It is great in so many ways; uplifting, insightful, educational and inspiring, it really shows what people can achieve. But one aspect of it left me feeling very frustrated. Throughout the trailer people are singing, saying or signing the words “yes I can” but at 2 minutes 15 seconds the shot goes to an office with a ‘careers’ sign on the door and a man is his 50s, wearing a grey suit, is talking to a schoolboy who is a wheelchair user and saying, “no you can’t”. It only lasts a couple of seconds and then returns to the previous, positivity but the message is very clear. Careers advisers will tell you what to do, or more likely, what you can’t do, they’ll judge you and will ultimately trample all over your dreams and aspirations. Don’t take my word for it, have a look yourself. But do come back and read the rest of this post! Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd Researcher Education & Development Scholarship (REDS) Conference — University of Sheffield — Friday 14th October 2016

Anchoring Researcher Development: theoretical mindsets

The second annual REDS conference will focus more deeply on the professionalisation of the researcher developer role and access to scholarly activity, and consider the challenges involved for practitioners in developing research ideas/projects. We aim to share and explore the designs, outcomes and impact of practice-based research into doctoral and post-doctoral experiences, researcher learning and development mechanisms, and enabling supervisory practices. The event is organised to provide opportunities to network and share professional and research practices across multiple perspectives and contexts for developing researchers.

 

This is a guest post by Kerry Montgomery (@kmonty83), Ana Coneo & Kate Adkins (@AdkinsKate), PhD students in Psychology and part of the Sheffield centre for Medical Humanities.

Picture1.pngRecently we were successful in gaining a grant for researcher-led activity via Think Ahead to hold a symposium, titled: From stigma to inclusion: Understanding the individual experience of mental health. As PhD students with an interest in stigma we wanted to bring people together with similar interests to think about taking a research idea forward, mainly, how can research reduce stigma and discrimination? Organising a symposium is definitely an excellent way of connecting with people and developing an understanding of what is involved in holding events (don’t underestimate how long it can take to set up an email account or organise tickets!). Read the rest of this entry »