Work Your Career shows PhD students how to use the unique opportunities of doctoral programs to build successful career outcomes. The authors encourage students to consider both academic and non-academic career options from the outset, and to prepare for both concurrently. The book presents a systematic mentoring program full of practical advice for social sciences and humanities PhD students in Canada.
Loleen Berdahl is Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Jonathan Malloy is Professor at Carleton University.
Acknowledgments 1. Get What You Want from Your PhD Is this book really for me? What should my career goal be? What does "work your career" mean? What career competencies am I building over the course of my doctoral program? Do I really need this book? Won't my supervisor and program train me to work my career? Why are most PhD programs so focused on academic careers? Why should I listen to you two? Why are you writing this book? 2. Select Your Program Carefully Should I bother reading this chapter if I am already in a PhD program? How do I decide if a PhD is right for me? How do I decide which programs to apply to? What should I put in my application? Should I apply for external funding on my own prior to entering a program? How do I decide which program acceptance to take? What is the difference between a scholarship, teaching assistant (TA), and research assistant (RA) offer? Is there a chance that additional funding opportunities will emerge during the course of my program? What do I do if I have already started my program and see things I could have done differently? So, what should I do? 3. Work Your Program How do I select the best courses to advance my future career? What skills will help me excel in my classes? How do I select assignment topics within my classes to advance my future career? Should I pick my dissertation topic and supervisor before I am done my coursework? How do I select a dissertation topic? How do I find a supervisor? How do I know if I should continue my program after finishing the coursework? How much should I fear my comps? How do I prepare for my comps? How do I know if I should continue my program after my comps? How do I write a dissertation proposal? How do I work effectively with my supervisor? How can I progress through my dissertation? (Or, "how will I ever get this done?") How do I know if I should continue my program during the dissertation stage? Can I use a copy editor or a statistical consultant for my work? How do I know when my dissertation is done? What should I expect for the dissertation defence? I am well into my program and didn't do any of this. What can I do now? So, how can I work my program? 4. Go Beyond Your Program Shouldn't I focus solely on my program and dissertation? What am I looking to gain from non-program activities? What are the options? How do I determine what is a sound investment of time? My side gig led to a real career opportunity. Should I finish my program? What do I do if I am at the end of my program and didn't do any of this? How can I make the most of a postdoc position? How do I balance my program and non-program activities? 5. Establish Your Funding Track Record What is a funding track record, and why do I want one? When should I start building my funding track record? How do I learn about grant and award opportunities? How do I make my grant application competitive? How do I ask someone else to nominate me for an award? How can I learn grantsmanship from a faculty grant application? What do I do if I am at the end of my program and didn't do any of this? How do I get comfortable with all of this? 6. Build a Strategic Publishing Portfolio Do I really need to publish during my PhD? What should I publish on? Should I publish from my dissertation before I defend it? Should I publish on topics unrelated to my dissertation topic? Where should I publish? Should I pursue scholarly publications if I have no interest in an academic job? Are book chapters or journal articles better? How can I get a journal article published? Should I write a book chapter for an edited book? Should I edit or co-edit a book? Should I coauthor? If I do coauthor, how do I make it work? I am at the end of my program and didn't do any of this. What do I do? So, bottom line, what should I do about writing and publishing? 7. Cultivate a Professional Reputation How can I cultivate a professional reputation? How can I be productive? How do I communicate professionally? How can I network effectively? How can I use social media effectively? I am at the end of my program and didn't do any of this. Where do I start? These ideas are interesting, but how do I actually make them work? 8. Launch Your Career Do I need to choose between pursuing a "regular" career or an academic career? What are my career options as a PhD? How do I figure out what I want to do? Once I have an idea of what I want to do, how do I get started? How can I make my application materials more competitive? Who should I list as references? How do I prepare for an interview? What do I do after the interview? I found a great non-academic career. Should I try to keep one foot in the academic door? So, how do I launch my career? 9. Approach Academic Jobs Strategically How do I figure out the problem that a particular academic job is seeking to solve? How do I decide if I fit the position enough to apply? How can I make my application materials more competitive? What do I need to consider if I am an "inside candidate"? What do I do after I have applied for a job? I received an invitation for an interview. How do I prepare? I haven't heard back after my interview. Why is it taking so long? Overall, how should I approach the academic job market? 10. Work Your Career Appendix: Faculty Call to Action Index