The main reason I did a PhD was to get a top job, like 'Chairman of British Steel' or similar. However, I have struggled to attract any interest from potential employers after applying for several postdoc positions. I find that many want you to be Albert Einstein or insist you have a Nobel prize before applying. I even applied for a RA post that was pretty much the same as my PhD work (and at the same university!) but did not even receive an invite for an interview. That's just downright nastiness, right?
Sorry to hear you can't find a job. Is it nastiness? Possibly, but there may be lots of reasons for not getting a job e.g. the economy, recruiting policy, being overqualified, bottlneck in speciality etc. Best thing you can do is try to get feedback from HR on why you get overlooked.
I think that the elephant in the room is that people choose research areas that are very hard to attract interest. Especially in social sciences, some of the topics I have seen are so abstract they resemble self gratification on the part of the candidate. No one says it, but I will. Sometimes people just pic a garbage topic to research.
You still have to eat to live, which costs money. If you are going to spend 3 years branding yourself, at least make some areas of your research "sexy" enough to garner the interest of industry as you will need to make money from it. I call this situaitonal awareness. Understanding patterns and the reality of the market where you live and more importantly globally.
Dont try to sell winter coats in the Bahamas.
I do actually have a job but I am not using my PhD. It was something I did until I graduated but looks like I'll be doing it for the duration. I just fancy doing something that equates to all those years of PhD work really. Even my boss said that she expects me to leave now I have the doctorate under my belt. Maybe I should just count myself lucky that I do have a job and stop whinging on.
I was sort of under the impression that just by completing a PhD, it would be a passage of right to apply for any position even if the research topic is not related to it. Surely employers are aware of the determination and dedication required to be successful in a PhD, aren't they? I thought the phone would never stop ringing the day after I graduated with offers of gainful and fulfilling career opportunities but I have thus far been clearly misguided.
When I left my job to start my PhD, a colleague said to me, 'you know they won't employ you here again if you get a PhD....don't you?' That's the scary thing about it all - I'm absolutely certain of doors closing but need other ones to open in their place ;)
I feel exactly the same way- when I finished my PhD I thought hey PhD in a "good" subject not a "soft" one would land me a top position. Luckily, I got a temporary job that's very good but it took several months after finishing the PhD, and with personal issues in my life not helping, I still think that any other time (for example, if I did my PhDs in the 1950s or 60s lol) I would've had a smoother ride.
As HazyJane said: the situation now is that supply>>>>>demand in the PhD jobs market, and so you have to be creative and look outside the box. That's what I did- I stopped focussing just on postdocs and looked at public and private-sector jobs (and left the UK as well, which sucks :)). I disagree with HazyJane, however, when she said that employers see you as potentially less equipped than BSc/MSc ppl: it all depends on how you market yourself vis-a-vis job specs.
Don't know what to say- I've been feeling low lately so know that you're not alone lol we all are struggling one way or another as a result of limited opportunities in life and high expectations from those who simply don't understand the torment we went through to get the doctorate and a host of personal non-PhD issues :(:(.
I have seen people study extremely 'niche' topics which seem unlikely to tie in with any future job. Not only that, but when you look to see who's supervising them, it becomes clear that the supervisor is just creating little 'mini-me's' and ending up with a huge publication list - the supervisor being the one person who can probably make a living out of the niche area. I agree with Fled that you need to have an eye on the value of your topic outside of your PhD department, or at least to be grabbing as many transferable skills as you can along the way.
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