Is there life after your PhD?

Gepubliceerd op 21 juni 2024 om 12:00

And there it is: the moment your PhD project is over. You have worked so hard for this all these years and after one exciting (and hopefully fun) day, everything is just over! The party has been celebrated. The hangover has been dealt with. It is inevitably followed by the important life question: 'Is there life after my PhD?'. The answer is: Yes, there is! Even better: the world is at your feet! In this blog, we give some tips for life after your PhD, as a brand new doctor. 

Tip 1. Life after your PhD starts before your PhD

This is quite a cryptic description of this tip. Of course, you already know when you will receive your PhD in advance, and also that a new period in your working life is about to begin. You start preparing for it while you are still pursuing your PhD. Maybe you already have a new job. Maybe not yet. There are also some choices for you to make: do you like to stay in academia and do post-doctoral research? Or would you rather go into practice and take the knowledge from your research with you? Or are you completely fed up with your field of work and are you going to do something completely different? Starting a business of your own? Teaching? It is all possible and allowed! The world is at your feet, so think about it in time.

Tip 2. Attend a course or event

Every university offers at least one interesting course or event about job opportunities after a PhD. So, we definitely recommend that you attend these in the last year of your PhD. Often you will be introduced to all kinds of new ideas about what is possible after your PhD. The speakers are generally former PhD students who finished their own PhD not long ago. They can inspire you with their experiences. How did they handle it? What kind of work are they doing now?

Tip 3. Share your ambitions

It is also a good idea to let your supervising team and other colleagues know what your ambitions are. They generally have a large network and they may have just heard about a nice and suitable job for you that is coming up, for example because a grant has just been obtained somewhere.

Tip 4. Make sure you truly finish everything

It is always good to finish everything related to your PhD. Sometimes you have articles that have not (yet) been published, or that still need to be reviewed. Even though you are no longer employed as a PhD student, it is still recommended to finish everything. After all, a lot of time and energy of other people have gone into your papers as well. Besides, you also owe it to your participants. If one way or another this is not possible, then make sure you hand the last loose ends over in good consultation, so that the other parties involved can still publish it without your active cooperation. It is important to make clear agreements about this.

Tip 5. Use and enjoy your academic title

Getting your PhD is a huge milestone. With it, you have definitively closed a chapter of your life. And yet not quite, because now you have this title in your pocket for the rest of your life! You are free to use it from now on. In daily life you probably won't do this much, but in your work situation it can certainly come in handy! So go ahead and change that automatic signature at the bottom of your work email and update your LinkedIn profile. Who knows, maybe a headhunter will come to you right away with an interesting offer!


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