At Skills Weaving, we regularly discuss the diverse approaches towards career development for academics. Some have very clear career ambitions, while others don’t plan too much in advance. We decided to poll our followers about their career ambitions at the stage of PhD student/early-stage researcher. Without making any illusions about selection bias, sample size, and statistics, we would like to share and discuss the outcomes, and place them in the context of Skills Weaving.
Figure 1: Poll results from Skills Weaving LinkedIn Community. Data collected between 24/07/2022 and 31/07/2022.
Most respondents indicated to have a short- or long-term career goal, ranging from securing their next position to long-term ambitions within or outside of academia. For those with a clear career goal, most intended to seek a position outside of academia. Few respondents indicated that they had no strategy, mainly going with the flow and taking opportunities whenever they would arise.
The outcome of the poll reflects what we also observe in practice, when supporting junior researchers with their approach towards career development. Many early-stage researchers know very well what they want to achieve in their career, at least in the short term. Even those who initially indicate that they have no strategy often turn out to be keeping their future career options open intentionally. The challenge is often not about identifying what goals to pursue; it relates to when is the right time to start taking action. And it is exactly here where the early bird catches the worm.
With Skills Weaving, we aim to raise early awareness about career development for academics. We do this through our on- and off-line presence, Webinars, Workshops, Blogs, and of course the Skills Weaving – Academic Career Skills Assessment. The assessment is particularly well-suited to provide insights into the personal skills profile. Based on this profile, the report, and the career ambition, a structured approach towards personal career development can be designed in the shape of a career development plan. At Skills Weaving, we can support you in identifying specific actions and activities that can be taken in working towards realizing your career ambitions. Check our services and follow us on LinkedIn to stay on top of the latest developments.
A final remark: career paths are seldom linear, and goals can and will shift along the way. One of the most important aspects of career development is to set goals, and adjust them as circumstances change.