Careers ServiceIdentifying skills & career planning

It's never too early to start thinking of what you want to do or could be doing once you have your doctorate. Investing an hour or two from the very beginning both in developing as a researcher and in developing your career planning skills will enhance your future employability.

The university's Careers Service, through these PhD web pages, can assist you in your career planning, help you identify your skills and attributes, and provide advice and guidance on finding and applying for jobs. We also offer impartial and confidential individual advice to help you make a balanced decision about your future career goals.

Employers are looking for more than a PhD. Beyond your qualifications employers, both academic and outside academia, look for skills, strengths and motivations.

  • What have you got to offer your future employer?
  • What skills/strengths have you developed through your PhD?
  • What skills/strengths have you developed through other activities?
  • Do you need to develop skills/strengths further or add to them?
  • Find out the Skills Employers Want

Use these resources:

  • Use our interactive online careers toolkit (DS login) to reflect and understand your skills, strengths and motivations.
  • Our services: If you want to discuss this further make an appointment with your Faculty Careers Consultant.

What does your future employer want?

Whatever the employer you are targeting, you need to sell your skills and strengths effectively and demonstrate your suitability for the role you are applying for.  Employers clearly state on job descriptions and personal profiles the skills/strengths required.  Check out some typical job descriptions for PhD roles on and Strathclyde vacancies to get an idea of this.

A survey conducted by Vitae, the UK-wide organisation supporting the professional and career development of researchers, found that employers ranked doctoral graduate skills in the following order:

  1. Data analysis
  2. Problem solving
  3. Drive and motivation
  4. Project managing
  5. Interpersonal skills
  6. Leadership
  7. Commercial awareness

Use these resources: