As this week is Postdoc Appreciation Week, we wanted to share a few posts aimed specifically at our fantastic community of Research Associates, Research Assistants and Research Fellows. We recognise the vast array of technical skills and knowledge, strengths and attributes our research staff bring to the University, and feel privileged to help them navigate their career journeys. You can find out about the national and regional events taking part as part of Postdoc Appreciation Week via the website.
Over the next few days We'll be answering some common careers questions asked by our research staff, starting with …
Where do I find jobs in my field?
Many researchers will be interested in working within or close to their current field of research. If you're unsure about your longer term career direction, useful questions to ask yourself can be: 'Do I want to stay in my research field?' 'How far from my field am I prepared to go?' Vitae's Career-Wise Researcher booklet has a really useful diagram which maps out some of the career options for researchers, starting close to your field and gradually moving outwards. You might want to stay within your field in an academic research setting, continue to do research within academia but have a bit of a field shift, stay within your current research field but move to another sector, or use your expert subject knowledge in roles where research isn't the core activity. This web page has an overview of the career options for researchers. Many researchers don't realise that their skills and experience will be valued across a broad range of sectors, so staying close to your field isn't imperative. But if you are wanting to stay close to your current research field, here are some top tips for finding jobs:
- our dedicated web pages for researchers have subject-specific careers information and job-search sites.
- if you're interested in an academic research career, the above link has some discipline-specific sites for finding postdocs. Ask academics in your field if there is anywhere specific they would advertise postdoc, fellowship or lectureship positions. Make sure you join forums and discussion lists relevant to your field as job postings will often be shared on these, join academic networking sites such as ResearchGate and AcademiaEdu, and sign up for email alerts on jobs.ac.uk. It's common for people to take the initiative and write to academics they would like to work with, asking if they have any projects coming up you could work on or if you could write a joint grant proposal. This is always easier if you already have a relationship, so it's vital to be connecting with others in your field through networking sites and attending conferences.
- building and using networks is also vital if you want to work in research but have a change of sector. Think about the organisations you already know about or work with as part of your research. Your current research collaborators are ideal career contacts - why not invite them for a coffee chat (whether in-person or virtual) and ask them what they do day-to-day, what's happening in their organisation and what advice they would give you? Look out for meetings, conferences and events which bring together academics, policy-makers and researchers from other sectors. Use LinkedIn and Bath Connection to connect with Bath alumni and others working in sectors of interest. Your manager and other academics will also have research collaborators and be in touch with former postdocs and PhD students, so ask them who they could connect you with
- if you're wanting to work in a particular field, rather than asking, 'where do I look for job adverts?', a better strategy is often to ask, 'which organisations are doing the kind of research that interests me?' The above advice on networking will help you to generate lists of companies working in your area. You can also browse organisations in Myfuture, use the library company databases to generate lists of companies in the UK and internationally, and use Professional Bodies, which will often list organisations within their sector.
- The Resources tab in MyFuture has further links and resources relating to specific fields of work
- sector-specific recruitment agencies can be useful for finding jobs and companies in niche sectors. Check out the above subject web pages for researchers, and also this list of sector-specific recruitment agencies from the University of Kent.