By K. Holland and J. Stephenson

We attended a workshop called PhD to present, and while the title is rather uninformative and ambiguous, we managed to learn a thing or two about writing a CV, about networking, and the limit of how many scones one person can eat in a sitting. Here we will share our highlights.

Writing a CV

Think about your skills (go on do it).


Bet you came up with qualities like:

  • Time management (ha)
  • Written and Oral communication
  • Problem solving
  • Independent / Hardworking
  • Etc !

Think again! These skills are all very generic and if you want to write a good CV, you’ve got to be specific and link the skills to the job. Be descriptive, and don’t be afraid to use examples. A good way to do this is to think about a recent task you completed, and then write a list of actions you did to complete the task (how you did what you did), now you might have identified some real skills! Yay! Another way to do this is to think of a skill a job asks for and find specific examples of where you used these skills.  Use the approach that works best for you!

Note: hard working is not a skill, it is a personal quality. Be mindful of being able to make distinctions between the two.

Working on a CV is easier if you work on it continuously over time, and if you get some help from a friend. Turns out friends often have lots of good things to say about you, that you might not think to say about yourself! Do it – it will make you feel good.

Not sure if you want a job in academia, industry or you just want a coffee shop job for when the scholarship runs out?  Have two CVs and update them as you go through life, then when that jobs along you’ll be ready to go with just a little editing.


Picture every job you know.

What if I told you only 13% of those jobs were advertised!

Believe it!! (or at least we did).

This means networking is super important, because that might be how you actually get your next job.

Talk to people, send them an email following up on something they said, or to ask them a question (some people actually like being helpful).

Draw on your connections. Make a list of all the people you met in your PhD, then think about the people they know. Make your search range large, you never know who might know someone, so include: family, friends, professional associations, work colleges, community, etc.

Get a LinkedIn, twitter and join discussion groups, there could be a job for you hiding anywhere!


Turns out scones are delicious – but too many will send you into a terrible food coma!