No job blues :(


======= Date Modified 17 Jul 2011 15:39:45 =======
Hello friendly PhD folk!

In parallel to my thesis corrections post viva voce, I'm currently looking for a job and it's soul destroying!!

Since my PhD viva, over the last month or so, I've applied to a variety of different jobs (Research Assistant, Research Officer, Research Associate, Senior Research Assistant, Care Worker, Care Assistant, Support Worker etc etc) but I'm still not having any luck at all! :( I think almost everyone is labelling me as overly qualified judging from recent feedback. 

I've been seriously looking for just over a month now without any interviews :( My last employed job ended in Spring 2010, so there's a massive gap on my CV and it's starting to really worry me!  :$

I have used up all of my savings now and very close to my overdraft limit and it's starting to get quite desperate! :( I'm currently living with my family and their allowing me to stay at home and are sympathetic given that I'm not working. I'm not claiming job seekers allowance or benefits- I can't face signing on for benefits!

I've started some voluntary work to gain some experience and keep myself busy. I've also won a place on a Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology from September as I intend to retrain and integrate myself back into practitioner routes in psychology (rather than research), although starting doctorate number 2 depends on securing a smallish bank loan-so by no means certain. I've already secured my placements for the health psych doctorate, but I need a part time job to support myself!

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks for reading :)


Sign up for benefits! Honestly you are making things much harder for yourself than you need to, financially at the very least. Just face up to it.


======= Date Modified 17 Jul 2011 19:15:16 =======

Quote From BilboBaggins:

Sign up for benefits! Honestly you are making things much harder for yourself than you need to, financially at the very least. Just face up to it.

Totally, absolutely agree with Bilbobaggins. I haven't always claimed benefits when I've been entitled and it caused real hardship, has totally messed up my NI contributions and left me in a much worse way and state. You're doing everything you can to get work and so claim your benefits, they're YOURS!

Avatar for sneaks

yes do claim the benefits! You are seeking a job - that's what job seekers allowance is for :-)

Have you tried getting work in your uni department? - even if its just a few hours here and there? Dissertation marking may be coming up soon and they may need help with that and research work over the summer and would rather have someone reliable?


What about private tutoring?


======= Date Modified 19 Jul 2011 07:43:15 =======
Thanks everyone. Looks like signing on is my only option at the moment! Tutoring undergrads or maybe A-level students sounds like a good idea :)

Without sounding arrogant and overly confident, I can't believe I'm struggling to find a job! This is soul destroying! :(

At the end of my third year of a PhD and towards the end of my last job I had loads of interviews. Now after a break in submitting my PhD thesis, preparing for my viva, looking after my dad after multiple strokes and pulling through my viva with a positive outcome I'm not getting any interviews at all! I've got good references from my last post, so I don't think that's the problem.

It feels like I'm going backwards! I know this is irrational, but everyone else with less experience and less qualifications seems to be getting interviews and I'm left out in the cold!

I think this PhD is more of a hindrance than anything. But, then again, I'm mostly applying for research assistant jobs or non graduate jobs that don't require a PhD and judging from the feedback I'm receiving from various places for graduate posts, their rejecting me because their looking for a 'junior graduate' (ie someone who has just graduated from an undergrad degree) and long term commitment- not someone who will probably achieve a PhD and move on to more senior researcher jobs.

I think I need to work on personal statement, explicitly explain why there's a big paid employment gap on my CV and keep trying! I really don't want to remove my qualifications from my CV (BSc, MSc, MSc, PGCert, PhD) but I may have to if this continues for much longer!


You are not the first to come up against the overqualified, but underemployable barrier. I faced it a few years ago and also had fallout with a messy break up, and having to sofa surf for a while.

I think you do hit the nail on the head when you say that people are going to be worried about you moving onto other things. And they are sort of right, unless you are going to be working for them at the same time as doing your Health Psych qualification.

I found that taking off my qualifications really helped when I was looking for survival jobs like admin and catering. Also talking up the part time jobs I did at uni too like barwork. It did hurt and looking back I was really really really angry about having to do that. On the upside it did make me quickly realise how PhDs are viewed in the outside world by employers and how to go about dealing with that.

Word of warning. I also had to go for JSA when I was finished, but found I was not eligble for contribution based benefits, but only income based ones. I hadn't paid National Insurance as I was a student so the rules were different. It was a bit long winded I remember, so get onto it sooner rather than later.

A qualifications from my CV (BSc, MSc, MSc, PGCert, PhD).....

And you're starting another qualification?! Probably time to move on me thinks.


Adem does have a point. If all those qualifications are not helping now, will another one really help later? Maybe its better doing something else for now.


Hi Pineapple, I don't usually post much on here regarding PhD stuff as I have yet to start mine!  But I've spent the last five years in and out of the job market due to taking on temporary contracts although mostly in really good jobs that are just not made permanent due to this recession business!

However I just wanted to say that if people think you are over qualified already why go for another doctorate? I can't imagine having two doctorates is looked on favourably by most if any potential employers, it just makes you look undecided, especially with two MSc's and a PGcert as well, it just makes it look as though you have no idea what you really want to do.  Although you obviously do know what you want, perhaps this won't come across?

I'm not trying to be derogatory here, obviously you are an intelligent, hard working focussed individual. It's just the job market is very different now than even 2010, the average time people have to look for jobs is probably at least double what it was then. 

In these hard times most people need to take jobs that are 'below' them, I had to take a supermarket job for six months after working for over a year in a fantastic job earning good money, and it was hard as I was serving people I went to school or uni with but it's just what was needed to survive. I then got another much better an related to my degree job (again temp) but it took me nine months between leaving the last good job and getting the next!  In fact it took over two months for me just to get the supermarket job while applying for at least ten jobs a day!

Just have a good think about what you really want, what will really help in the long-run, you might need to hide some qualifications to get a job, but then just think about it as you're riding out the recession until something better comes along.  


======= Date Modified 20 Jul 2011 18:45:18 =======
======= Date Modified 20 Jul 2011 18:44:36 =======

I know exactly what your going through as I have been through it. Basically there are two many graduates, and there are simply more people with PhD than there are PhD level jobs. Hence the reason why it is so difficult for a PhD student to find work. My PhD is in experimental physics, you would expect there would be a lot of jobs wanting the skills required for this, but like you I rarely had a reply to any jobs that I applied for, as I mentioned in my last post I now have a job as a postman, and I am really happy that I have it. So much so that I have given up applying for so called graduate or PhD level jobs.
Lastly I highly recommend that you claim job seekers allowance, my funding ran out last year and I have claimed it in all the time since then that I was unemployed, indeed without out it I would have been screwed as I have very little savings.


======= Date Modified 20 Jul 2011 22:28:01 =======
I think you might need a bit of a reality check!
Firstly, in this job climate looking for a month really isn't very long at all. Plus if you are really desperate you would have signed on for JSA, it really was the difference between eating and not for some, not just 'I can't face it'. You'd be surprised at what you can face when you are actually desperate. Also, you can't put your PhD as a qualification on your CV since it's not done and dusted yet, especially since highlighting it is going to look exactly like you are overqualified, possibly call it a 'research assistant' post?. You have a place on the Health Psych doctorate, is this REALLY what you want to do? I'm not convinced (although a few posts on a forum aren't exactly that informative - I'm only going on the info you have ptYosted). I just think another qualification that you then may decide not to pursue as your career is going to make your life harder, although it sound like you have the experience in that field to know.
On a positive note things WILL work out, perservance is key, and that means longer than a month....


======= Date Modified 22 Jul 2011 19:20:23 =======
Thanks everyone......

Received further set backs today. I was not short-listed for any of the Research Assistant posts I recently applied for or any of the audit mental health type jobs. I haven't heard anything from my non graduate applications either. I found out from another website that undergraduates were short listed for the jobs I applied for- just to rub salt in my wounds!

This is sooooooo depressing!!!

Continuing with Health Psych depends on funding and securing placements- which are both very uncertain at the moment! I'm very interested in Health Psychology, so this is a very attractive option at the moment. A ProfDoc in Health Psych will allow me to apply for nhs and private grade 7/8 health psychology posts and improve my chances in applying for health psychology research posts.

Here are my options.........

1) Claim JSA,
2) finish thesis corrections asap
3) keep applying for jobs,
4) cut out all of my postgrad qualifications, awards and publications for non graduate jobs,
5) consider applying for research associate positions,
6) play the lottery!?!,
7) Suck it up, banish my prejudices about visiting the job centre and visit the job centre frequently.
8) Revise my personal statement
9) try and remain positive
10) Contact supervisors at my last post for any job opportunities.
11) look at jobs completely unrelated to psychology and social care
12) maybe ask for feedback as to why I wasn't short-listed??!
13) consider retraining in other fields if my health psychology option falls through
14) Demand my ex returns the 1.5k I lent him years ago.
15) Prepare for my private tuition job interview in August
16) Sell my psychology library (very reluctant to sell my books!) and my extensive dvd collection (oh nooooooo!)
17) Chase up my latest volunteer expenses- 86 pounds worth of expenses to claim
18) Check whether I've overpaid for tax at my last UCL researcher job.
19) Seek advice on my CV and my personal statement
20) Really sell myself in job applications and really tailor my application to person specifications and job descriptions

I wish I knew the job market was like this post viva. If I had known it would be this difficult to find work post viva, I would have saved my PhD scholarship money by living at home and saved every penny from my last research assistant/associate position at UCL last year!



Claim JSA immediately. You should have claimed it long before now. Stop delaying. If you get an academic job you will be fine. If you are still stuck job hunting you will have some financial support.

Stop messing about with this. Face up to it. Please.


Quote From Pineapple29:

12) maybe ask for feedback as to why I wasn't short-listed??!

To stand any chance of getting useful feedback you need to start by saying that you have no intention of contesting their decision. It was the official policy of a council I used to work for to assume that anyone who asked for feedback was preparing to take legal action so to give them as little information as possible and I've encountered that attitude elsewhere as well. Don't think it occurred to them to not assume the worst and consider just being helpful :-s

Hope things pick up for you soon.