Doing a PhD is great, but what’s next?

Image from Careers and Entrepreneurship, University of Sussex

As we’re approaching the end of this year and fast approaching the start of next year (yeah we know, how is this even possible), we thought it might be a good time for us to start thinking about what’s next. As PhD researchers, we are no stranger to how our research takes up a good chunk (if not all!) of our time and if you’re anything like me, you might not have had the chance yet to think about what’s next after the PhD. In this blog post, we’ll give you a quick lowdown of the careers services that are available at Sussex for PhD researchers at Sussex!

“I usually search for jobs online. Am I missing out?”

You’re not missing out, as Careers Consultants at Sussex usually encourage PhD students to conduct independent job searches. However, seeking advice from Careers Consultants will help you devise more targeted job searches and make informed career choices. The services they provide are also more holistic in helping PhD researchers to produce well-received CVs and applications and to prepare for interviews and assessments.

“I’ve never used this service before. Where do I begin?”

Careers and Entrepreneurship provides accessible services to all students, including PhD researchers, where career-focused resources and guides (specifically for PhD researchers) can be accessed. The first step is to log into your CareerHub account. You will then be able to access and sign up for regular events and main events (eg. Careers Fairs, , Employer Panels and Entrepreneurship events, etc.) designed for doctoral researchers.

Sneak peak: Next term, expect PhD researcher specific sessions on career choices, entrepreneurship, networking for jobs, CV writing and interviewing skills, along with a special event where PhD research alumni speak to researchers about their post Sussex career journeys.

Our personal favourites are the automated careers tools such as CV360 which helps you to build a great CV and the Big Interview, the video-based interview practice tool.

“I prefer to speak to someone. Can I do that?”

Of course! Find out who the Career Consultant is in your School here and email them for an academia and/or industry-based career appointment. In this blog post, we’ve also had the pleasure to meet Kathryn Mountford, the careers consultant aligned to the Doctoral School who works with the Research and Development team, and us to understand researchers’ career needs and to design and deliver practical responses.

We arrange events such as regular workshops on subjects including career choices, applications and CVs, networking for career success and interviewing skills. These are all tailored for PHD researchers. I’m also responsible for ensuring that my Careers Consultant colleagues working in other Schools understand and can meet the career needs of PHD researchers. I also keep the website up to date and relevant – PhD researchers : Our services : Careers and Entrepreneurship : Schools and services : University of Sussex.

I decided last year to look for a second career. Having spent the last 15 years heading up HR functions in tech driven organisations working for public good (the most recent being the ground-breaking Genomics England), I was delighted to land this role at Sussex.  I’m now able to apply my industry knowledge and leadership experience in a new environment, bringing an up-to-date perspective on the challenges that employers face in attracting and retaining talent, and the opportunities that those joining the workforce encounter.  

Outside of work I’m enjoying Brighton again. When I was commuting to London every day, I didn’t have the energy to explore everything that the city can offer. I’m also lucky to have three grown up children (one completing their HND, one completing a Masters and my eldest is working for her PhD). Their experiences have provided me with useful insights into student life – although of course as a parent you never get the full story!

If you’d like to contact directly then feel free to email me on

Kathryn Mountford, Careers Consultant at Careers and Entrepreneurship, University of Sussex.

– Jamie Chan


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