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Managing the Transition: Clarifying, designing and presenting your career after the PhD (205)


24 and 31 January 2020

Lang EN Workshop language is English

Dr Verity Elston


How to make that decision about what to do – and where to do it – after the PhD?
o How to understand what you offer on the employment market?
o How to present your experience as a PhD in terms non-academic employers will understand?

This workshop provides the participants with the tools to approach and manage their individual career development as they complete and move beyond their PhD. It is aimed at doctoral candidates, no matter what their career goals, to help them consider their options and make the transition as they move out of the doctoral phase.

The workshop entails careful reflection by each participant to build their personal portfolio; taking stock of their experience and interests, and of employment opportunities, in order to clarify the direction they would like to take.

With the foundations of their portfolio completed, participants will then have the opportunity to re-present their potential and translate their experience in the various forms used in recruitment processes: CVs, cover letters, online profiles, interview responses and pitches.

The creation of a personal portfolio alongside this presentation media is aimed at providing participants with the tools to help them manage their own careers, in the short term as they transition out of the PhD, and in the long term of their professional future.


Preparation Work:
• Participants will be asked to prepare for the workshop by completing a initial profile and reading articles provided in advance.

Day 1:
• Analyzing the PhD experience to uncover the skills, interests and motivations that will build their individual profile.
• Analyzing employers' interests and needs from job ads – and beyond.
• Developing the content to create profile presentation material: CVs, cover letters, online profiles, elevator pitches

Transfer Work:
• Between the two days of the workshop, participants will put together their choice of presentation media: a CV, a cover letter, an online profile, or an elevator pitch. This work will then be reviewed in the second day.
• Support material will be provided to guide participants in how to construct their presentation media.

Day 2:
• Reviewing individual presentation media in small groups and in plenum.
• Reflecting on the personal portfolio, identifying individual goals and how to get there through training and experience, developing networks, and a deepening knowledge base.

Learning Outcomes:

This workshop is designed to help participants go through the process of understanding who they are: their professional identity. This clarification is an essential step to take before we begin to ask what we want to do, where we want to do it, and how we will get there.

The goal is to build participants' long-term autonomy in making decisions relative to career development: making proactive, conscious and confident choices for personal goals and professional growth.

By the end of this workshop a participant will:

• Understand and be able to use the "portfolio" approach to career development: identifying the skills, knowledge, motivations and interests that mark their experience to date.
• Use that portfolio to plot their career path in terms of the type and environment of work they would like to develop towards and within.
• Better understand employers' expectations and needs, and how to express their existing experience in terms non-academic employers will understand.

Participation and format:

Doctoral candidates, generally at an advanced stage of their doctorate. Early stage doctoral candidates are also welcome.

 Small workshop (max 12 people) over 8 hours (1 hour for lunch, plus coffee breaks) per day, with up to 28 hours of work before and during each day.


University of Fribourg


Dates: Fridays 24th and 31st January 2020

Schedule: 9:15 to 17:15

Location: University of Fribourg



Director of Portfolio Formation Sàrl ( and head of career advice for the University of Lausanne Graduate Campus, Dr Verity Elston was previously director of the CUSO Transversal Programme and Deputy to the Dean of the EPFL Doctoral School. She has broad professional experience in the private and public sectors in several countries, including in middle- and high-level recruitment. She holds a doctorate in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago, the FSEA certificate in adult education, and the ACC certificate in integral coaching. She conducts ongoing qualitative and quantitative research and analysis on the career paths of doctorate holders in Switzerland and in Europe.


Participants are eligible for reimbursement of incurred travel expenses by train between the city of their university and the location of the workshop (half-fare card, 2nd class).



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