Many HDR students – at one point or another in their degree – think about, and plan for, careers outside of the academy. Below are some things to think about when planning a career outside of academia.

Shift your project to include areas of interest to other occupations. Having even small parts of your thesis touch on possible future career areas or topics, allows you to frame your thesis as linked to a position in job interviews.

Find people who have previously studied in your faculty, department, or school. Talk to them about what they have done outside of academia, after their degrees. Check in with the academics in your field/s, they may have had other careers outside of academia and could be useful connections or have useful ideas about how to move forward.

If you find networking a useful activity, start reaching out to people who might have worked around academia, but who no longer do. See what they think about how to get to where you want to be, or how to maximise future opportunities now.

And remember, academia often positions ex-HDR students who are not in academia as failed academics. Don’t let this shape your choices or how you feel about yourself. There are an infinite variety of valid, stimulating and rewarding occupations out there in which you can flourish.

Read our article Isolation, stress and anxiety, and what to do when you feel like quitting, for more ideas.