Skills analysis

Due to the specific nature of your experience and qualifications, you will have your own unique set of skills to offer. From our experience, postdocs struggle to see how their skillset can be of value to an employer outside the academic career path.

A useful exercise is to create a ‘skills portfolio’ of your skills to map what you offer and build a library of evidence that you can present to potential employers in applications, CVs or interviews.

The PFDC can support you to identify and articulate your skills, as well as discuss how you can develop new skills.

PFDC resources for skills development:

Getting experience to become more employable

If you are making a career change, you may not have all the skills or experience required for the new role. Thus, you may find it difficult to gather and present certain evidence when putting an application together. 

If you can find ways to gain these experiences and skills, it will help your CV and application be more competitive and it will provide you with an opportunity before you leave your current post to work out which jobs will best suit you.

Think about how you could introduce new tasks or responsibilities to your current role, so that you are developing new skills and evidence for your CV - e.g. become the social media ‘reporter’ for your research group to get to grips with social media technologies or gain experience of web design. If you need financial expertise in a new role, volunteer to do the costing for a funding application or manage a budget in the research group.

Consider doing some job shadowing – e.g. through Outside Insight.

Outside Insight is a London inter-institution work shadowing scheme that gives you the opportunity to engage with practical career and professional development in a way that allows you to have a wider appreciation, share and bring back knowledge of work practices from other institutions. The scheme entails spending time with and observing the work of a member of staff in a department or role of interest in another institution, in order to gain insight into work in that area. The duration of the visit can vary between half a day and two days. There are currently 12 universities participating in the scheme.

For more information, including how to apply for the scheme, please access the Outside Insight website or contact Jenna Collinson.

Undertake some skills training that will develop transferable skills and enable you to better articulate what you do (e.g. science communication, project management or public engagement).