You have transferable skills, you just don’t know it!

In 2016, Vitae carried out a study called What Do Research Staff Do Next?. The study explored the views and opinions of 856 research staff that had moved away from academic research into a range of other careers. As well as identifying the careers the participants had moved into, it looked at reasons why changing jobs and sectors were challenging. The reasons researchers gave included, identifying transferable competencies and persuading employers of them, choosing what to do instead and difficulties finding new employment i.e. how to job hunt.

This blog will provide research staff with some tips and advice on identifying transferable competencies and persuading employers of them. To begin with, here are a few facts from the Vitae WDRSDN survey which illustrates that researchers possess a range of transferable skills that are useful beyond academic research:

  • 90% of people working in roles beyond academic research said they draw on capabilities and skills gained as a researcher either some or most of the time.
  • 75% said that communication skills were the most important competency.
  • > 50% said independent working, project management and problem solving were the most important competencies for success in their current role.

That is all well and good but how do you identify the skills and strengths that you have developed as a researcher and how do you write about these on a CV in way that will convince employers? Here is one way to do it:

  1. Start to explore a range of jobs beyond academic research on arrange of websites such as indeed, career jet, simply hired and CV library. Use a variety of search terms e.g. scientist, researcher, writer etc.
  2. Look at the job descriptions for the types of roles that interest you and begin to collate the names of skills that keep appearing. List both technical skills and soft skills such as relationship building, problem solving etc.
  3. Start to compile a table of skills which can be used in your CV at a later stage. Name the skill in the first column and then in column two provide evidence of the skill. Ask yourself the question ‘How do I use this skill in my current role as a researcher?’ Collect examples for a range of skills as you explore various job descriptions. The example below shows you how to do this.
  4. When it comes to writing your CV, you can then insert relevant skills for each job you apply for. Remember that you should only include skills and evidence for those listed in the job description. Anything more is noise and makes it more difficult for the recruiter to retrieve what they need.

Here is an example of how to describe a skill in your CV. Let’s say you are looking at a job description that is for a science policy role, where you will be representing the organisation to a range of stakeholders such as academics, and funders. The job description asks for effective communication skills.

Postdoctoral Research Associate                                                                                                      June 2015 – July 2017

The Watson Laboratory, Kings College London.

Research on the solution structure of a bacterial toxin inhibitor protein; study its interaction with a non-cognate bacterial toxin.

Communication Skills

  • Participate in weekly group meetings, explaining and updating the team on my research findings, often suggesting innovative ideas and approaches.
  • Have presented my research at six scientific conferences including a significant talk at the American Society of Human Genetics in the US, attended by 1000 delegates.

You can use the same approach for other skills e.g. problem solving, teamwork etc. A CV for a job outside academia should not be more than two pages long. You can think about addressing two or three of the key skills in each section of your CV. Present more evidence for the most important skills for the role.

If you need more CV support, you can book an appointment with the specialist advisor for research staff here as well as well as accessing CV examples from Vitae, here.

Many thanks to Dr. Tracy Bussoli for this guest blog. Find Tracy on Linked In or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Brilliant Club – Scholars Programme

A meaningful, well-paid teaching opportunity for KCL PhD students and post-doctoral researchers

The Scholars Programme is run by The Brilliant Club, an award-winning charity that recruits, trains and pays doctoral and post-doctoral researchers to deliver programmes of university-style teaching to small tutorial groups of high-performing pupils in schools that serve disadvantaged communities. Over the course of the 2016-17 academic year, The Brilliant Club placed over 500 researchers in schools across the UK, where they worked with over 10,000 pupils.

There is now the opportunity for you to be involved in Autumn 2017 or Spring 2018 placements.

The Brilliant Club will be holding two Information Events on Thursday 6 July:

  • 12.00 – 13.00, Greenwood Lecture Theatre, Guy’s Campus
  • 14.00 – 15.00, K-1.56 King’s Building, Strand Campus (lower ground floor)

Please come along if you would like to find out more about becoming a Scholars Programme tutor.

In addition to earning £500 per placement, successful candidates will gain valuable teaching experience, enhance their knowledge of the UK education system and develop a programme of tutorials drawing on elements of their own research with a chance to disseminate it to a non-expert audience. As well as this, they will also join a cohort of like-minded researchers who are interested in widening access to universities.

Tutors who are accepted to become a Scholars Programme tutor will be supported by a training programme consisting of two full-days including sessions on tutorial pedagogy, assessment and designing a course handbook. After the training session, The Scholars Programme begins with tutors accompanying their pupils on a university trip, followed by six further tutorials in their school, at the end of the programme pupils submit and assignment which is marked their tutor.

You can find out more about The Brilliant Club tutoring opportunities online. To apply please visit the application form.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us at apply@thebrilliantclub.org

International Summer School on Technology Transfer in Life Sciences – Dresden, August 2017

Do you want to learn how to make use of your research potential?

If you are a research group leader or have almost finished your PhD, apply now for the International Summer School on Technology Transfer in Life Sciences and use the chance to bring your idea one step further to the market.

The summer school takes place in TU Dresden, one of King’s College London’s Transcampus partners, and is open to PhD students as well as early career researchers.

Dates: 28th August – 1st September 2017

Location: Dresden, Germany

More information and application details: www.summerschool-dresden.de

Application deadline: 30th June

Based on all applications a selection committee consisting of high-profile technology transfer experts will select a restricted number of participants. Please note that the committee will especially be interested in your motivation.

For further opportunities and events like this, keep an eye on the Graduate School blog and follow us @KCLGradSchool.

Careers for Arts and Humanities PhDs and Researchers – a speed meet, CV check and seminar, 23rd June, Great Hall, Strand Campus, 1 to 4.

Arts and Humanities researchers often find it hard to work out the value of their discipline for their careers and how best to present their unique skills and knowledge to potential employers inside and outside academia.

Attend this event to find some solutions to these knotty problems!

The afternoon will consist of:

1.00 to 1.40 – Keynote speaker from an Arts and Humanities background

1.30 to 3.30 – Have your CV checked by one of our professional specialist researcher careers consultants (Donald Lush, from King’s and Catherine Reynolds from LSE) in a 15 minute appointment (sign up when you arrive)

2.00 to 3.30 – Alongside the CV checks we’re running a speed meet. Spend 15 minutes meeting one of our invited guests and hearing their personal career stories. Our guests include Victoria Moul of King’s College London, who is an arts and humanities researcher and Camilla Darling who is an academic administrator at King’s.

3.30 to 4.00 – the afternoon will finish with a career planning presentation from our specialist PhD careers consultant, Donald Lush

We’re still confirming some speakers, so please check back as they will be added when finalised.

You’ll need to book – the link is here.

Got an idea for a start-up or venture? Apply for the King’s20 Accelerator today!

What is the King’s20 accelerator?

The King’s20 accelerator is a year-long accelerator programme set up by the Entrepreneurship Instituted aimed at supporting the 20 brightest ventures from King’s to reach their potential.

Ventures can be at any stage of their development and the accelerator is open to all King’s students, staff and alumni (of up to 7 years).

The 2017-2018 programme runs from 3rd October 2017 to 29th September 2018.

Application is open 17 April – 17 June 2017. 

Who is currently on the accelerator? 

Meet the 20 ventures in our Lookbook.

What’s in it for me?

12 months of support

Do you want to launch your own venture or start-up? Do you have an idea that you think will make it? Are you looking for some extra support to make it happen?

You’ll receive an estimated £30,000 support which includes:

– Office space for up to 6 team members in the beautiful new Entrepreneurship co-working space in Bush House, 30 Aldwych

– Weekly coaching from 6 Experts in Residence

– Workshops covering subjects such as Customer Segmentation, Financial Modelling, Startup Law, Sales, Digital Marketing, Design and Public Speaking

– The opportunity to pitch for Scholarship prizes totaling £100,000

– Access to our network of investors, mentors and partners

– Expertise from organisations including Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Founders Factory

– Support in building leadership, resilience skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. In 2016-2017 we took part in training from the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.

What do you expect from me?

You can be part of the accelerator part-time or full time (minimum half a day a week + 8 events across the year). We ask that you are committed to making the most of the programme and making your idea happen. This means you are committed to:

  • Participation in the programme, all of which is tailor-made
  • Presence in the accelerator space at least on a weekly basis. N.B. The accelerator is open 7 days a week. Attendance is flexible allowing for lectures, clinics etc.
  • Behaviour appropriate for King’s and for a co-working environment
  • A desire to scale your venture, with our support
  • Having a great time! The programme is all about your personal learning journey and growth – and we want to have as much fun as possible along the way!

What do I have to give in return?

The King’s20 accelerator is a completely free package, unlike other accelerators we will not ask you for any equity or revenue share contribution.

As part of the accelerator programme we will not:

  • Take any shares or equity from your venture
  • Charge you any fees
  • Claim any ownership in your idea or IP.

You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. The accelerator and the Entrepreneurship Institute are here to support you to start up and scale.