A higher degree by research has traditionally been the pathway into a career in academia, but increasingly graduates are looking to careers as the future leaders of industry, business, government and the wider community.
Many of the skills that future employers value such as critical thinking, expert technical and creative skills, project management and communication will be core to your research degree. You can also develop your transferable, research and professional skills by participating in experiential activities.
What are ‘transferable skills?
Transferable skills are most simply described as a set of general skills that are important across a range of environments and workplaces.
Transferable skills are highly valued by employers because they can be applied in so many different ways across so many different situations: they are not discipline specific nor are they specific to any one profession. They include such things as communication, problem solving and teamwork.
What are ‘research skills’?
These skills are vital for your growth as a researcher who is able to operate ethically, with integrity, and follow best practice.
Some skills will be specific to the type of research you are undertaking and are quite technical in nature: for example working with specific methodologies or data analysis techniques. Other skills are specific to the requirements of preparing and submitting your thesis, and still others relate to the ethical requirements and responsibilities of conducting and disseminating your research.
What are ‘Professional skills’?
These valuable skills are essential to any career. Tailor them to meet your career aspirations after completion of your HDR.
No matter what professional experience you have, or what career trajectory you intend to follow after completing your degree, it is important to reflect on your plans for your future career and how you intend to transition from your research degree to that professional context. Depending on what path you wish to take, there are some professional skills that are specific to particular career paths; skills such as those required by professional researchers, teaching skills needed in academia, or skills that will assist you to innovate as an entrepreneur. Building professional skills during your research degree will ensure you are well-equipped for whichever pathway you choose.
You can use the experiential activities catalogue to plan actions that will help you build your skills across all three areas.