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Career Development Essentials

The Careers strand of our programme to introduces you to and takes you through all stages of the Career Development Cycle – including securing a job at the end of your research degree. Our support is enhanced by 1-2-1 careers consultations and other opportunities offered through the Career Zone.You can also download a leaflet about our PGR Careers Support mapped on to the Career Development Cycle. 

  • How to manage your career- A practical and interactive career management course. The tools and techniques introduced in this session will be applicable to managing a career within research, but also to those participants wishing to investigate a broader career path outside academia.
  • Mapping and marketing your skills- This course will provide you with the tools to successfully apply for positions when you finish your research degree. Mapping your experience, skills, competencies & attributes will enable you to write CVs and personal statements, and market yourself and answer questions effectively in interviews. 
  • Applying for academic jobs- This course will enable you to enhance your knowledge and understanding of the process of applying for positions in the academic job market. We'll explore what academic recruiters are looking for, where to source vacancies and explore the different stages of the recruitment process.
  • Applying for non-academic jobs- This interactive course will support you in enhancing your knowledge and understanding of the process of applying for positions in the job market beyond academia. We'll explore what recruiters are looking for, where to source vacancies and explore the different stages of the recruitment process.

  • LinkedIn for Researchers: Developing and Using Your Profile- The tools and techniques introduced in this session will be applicable to all those who wish to develop their LinkedIn profile and be proactive in developing online relationships with the wider professional and research community. There will be information provided and opportunities for Q & A as well as a live demonstration of using LinkedIn to engage with the wider researcher and professional community beyond Exeter.
  • Success at InterviewsThe tools and techniques introduced in this session will be applicable to all those who wish to develop their skills and knowledge of how interviews are used in the recruitment process for roles within and outside of academiaThere will be information provided and opportunities for Q & A as well as live input from former PhD researchers who have been successful in securing both post-doc roles and industry/ public sector opportunities.

We have developed an open access PGR Career Planning Guide to provide in-depth information and practical guidance specifically tailored towards postgraduate researchers, whether you are thinking about working in academic, industry, self-employment or research. This resource is based on the Career Management Cycle and organised in to sections as follows:

1.       Who Am I?

2.       Researching Opportunities

3.       Making Relevant Choices

4.       Preparing Applications

5.       What Next?

You will be able to work through each section progressively, or dip in and out as you have time. Of course, in order to be competitive we recommend that you begin this process early in your PGR journey so that the transition into work/further research is as smooth as possible; for your own well-being as much as for your success!

Beyond your research degree is a new podcast from the Doctoral College Researcher Development and Research Culture team. In this podcast, you will hear talks from a range of doctoral graduates, all from different disciplines, working outside academia.

The podcast is intended to give our postgraduate researchers an insight into the career routes open to them and how to prepare for a career beyond academia.

You can listen and subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsAmazon Music and Stitcher!

If you are listening from an computer please click the links below, which also include full transcriptions of each episode.

Episode Number Interviewee
1 Dr. Morgane Colleau and Cameron Hird (Research Services- University of Exeter)

Dr. David Musgrove (Publisher- Immediate Media Co)

3 Dr. Gemma Edney (Graduation Co-ordinator, St George's The University of London)
4 Dr. Caitlin McDonald (Resident Digital Anthropologist, Leading Edge Forum)
5 Dr. James Alsop (Secondary School Teacher)
6 Dr. Denise Wilkins (Researcher at Microsoft Research)
7 Dr. Natalie Whitehead (Co-Founder Exeter Science Centre)
8 Dr. David Jacoby (Research Fellow at the Zoological Society of London)
9 Dr. Celia Butler (Senior Applications Enginner at Synopsys Inc)
10 Dr. Natalie Garrett (Private Secretary to the Chief Scientist at the Met Office)
11 Dr. Hannah Roberts (Career Coach for Women in STEM)
12 Timur Jack-Kadioglu (Technical Officer - Conservation, Livelihoods and Governance at Fauna and Flora International)
13 Charlotte Chivers (Research Assistant, University of Gloucestershire)
14 Dr. Heather Hind and Dr. Philippa Earle (Digital Learning Developers at the University of Exeter)
15 Dr. Joanna Alfaro (Director of ProDelphinus)
16 Alexandra Smith (Public Health Research Support Office at Devon County Council)
17 Dr. Katie Finning (Senior Research Officer, Health Analysis and Pandemic Insights, Office for National Statistics)
18 Dr. Ruth Gillian (Senior Lecturer, Birmingham University)
19 Kelly Preece (Researcher Development Manager and Research and EDI Manager, University of Exeter)
20 Holly Prescott (Careers Advisor for PGRs, University of Birmingham)
21 Demelza Curnow (Quality Enhancement Manager, Quality Assurance Agency)
22 Amy Creese (Clerk to the International Relations and Defence Commitee, UK House of Lords)


We have a dedicated PGR careers consultant with whom PGRs can book an appointment with to discuss your careers options, get feedback on a job application or help with an interview. Find out more, including how to book an appointment, on the 1-2-1 Careers Appointment webpage.

As a postgraduate researcher you have access to all the careers support available through the Career Zone. This includes:

  • Internships – The Career Zone runs and has information on a number of internship schemes, which PGRs can take part in for a maximum of 6 hours per week if studying full time.
  • Student Start Ups - the Student Startup team provides PGRs with enterprise support through a combination of interactive workshops and events, 1-2-1 advising and by facilitating opportunities for networking and collaboration.
  • SETsquared - SETsquared is a unique enterprise partnership between Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey with programmes of tailored support for PGRs.
  • Career Mentor Scheme – PGRs can be matched with an experienced professional to gain one-to-one careers advice, support and guidance into their profession and sector for up to 6 months. This mentoring scheme can be accessed for up to 3 years after graduation.
  • Ask An Alum – PGRs contact University alumni to gain advice on how to enter their chosen sector, work for a certain company, become self-employed or benefit from possible networking opportunities and contacts. This mentoring scheme can be accessed June-Sept for up to 3 years after graduation.
  • Careers Fairs – the Career Zone deliver a range of careers fairs designed to provide you with access to a range of employers offering part-time work, internships, graduate and postgraduate opportunities.

The Profiling for Success online self-assessment tool is available free of charge to University of Exeter students and graduates. It includes a range of psychometric tests and other assessments which are commonly used as part of the recruitment process. Profiling for Success can also help with career planning/development by increasing your self-awareness. It can help you to:

  • Understand your values and learning style
  • Evaluate your career interests
  • Describe the ‘type’ of person you are
  • Identify things you might find difficult and develop strategies to deal with these
  • Understand how you relate to others in different situations (e.g. team work, leadership/management, socially)

It is not necessary to complete all individual assessments; you can select the ones most relevant to you.

What assessments are available?

Profiling for Success assessments can be divided into two main categories:

Psychometric tests

The following tests measure your ability in a specific area and are commonly used in the recruitment process for graduate jobs, particularly with larger employers. Questions in these tests have definite right and wrong answers and are also timed.

  • Abstract, Numerical and Verbal Reasoning
  • Situational Judgement

Self-awareness questionnaires

These questionnaires can help you to better understand your preferences and interests, and can also clarify your career interests. After you’ve completed a questionnaire you receive a report summarising your results by email. These questionnaires, and the accompanying reports are designed as an exploration tool; you may not agree with all the results but they can help you to generate different perspectives or ideas which you have not considered before.

  • Learning Styles Indicator - discover your preferred style of learning
  • Type Dynamics Indicator - understand your personality type
  • Values-based Indicator of Motivation - learn more about your values and how they motivate you
  • Career Interest Inventory - understand more about your interests and the kind of work that may be suitable for you

Accessing Profiling for Success

To access the assessments (if you have an @exeter email) visit (if you no longer have an @exeter email then see below for access).

Click the Register/Log In button on the page. You will then be able to complete the tests, view test results and get further information about psychometric tests.

Please note that personal information is used only for generating your personalised report and for data monitoring purposes. All information is stored securely in accordance with GDPR.

If you are a graduate and no longer have access to your @exeter email then complete this form.