Risky and Resilient? Webinar on Building an Academic Career

Webinar for Doctoral Students

February 5, 2021
3:30–4:15 pm CET (“Scandinavian time”)

Preceding the NordMedia Pre-Conference 2021 in Reykjavik (17 August 2021), Nordicom organizes a webinar for doctoral students in media and communication research. All doctoral students and aspiring doctors from all disciplines are welcome, but the focus lies on social sciences.

Pre-registration will be open until 5 February 2:30 pm CET. Pre-registered participants will receive the link to Zoom in mail.

If you have problems with the pre-registration or did not receive the link, please contact press officer Mia Jonsson Lindell at Nordicom, mia.jonsson.lindell@nordicom.gu.se.

The webinar will be recorded and be available on this site after the event.
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Only a minority of graduated PhD students in social sciences and in the humanities get a tenure-track job, and not everyone has the possibility to continue an academic career. Why should you thus become a doctor? Are there any uses of doctor’s competence beyond the academy, and how to convince employers about that? Many academics struggle with these issues of translation of their competences if they start applying for jobs outside higher education.

This webinar looks at the hardest part about changing careers: learning how to describe your experience in terms that make sense to a new professional audience. This challenge is especially acute for academics, who are trained to adopt complex jargon and whose work in the library, lab, or classroom rarely looks like work in other parts of the modern knowledge economy.

In his talk, Christopher L. Caterine, the author of the book Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide (2020), will explain how to use informational interviews to learn the language and values of new sectors – and to practice translating your experience so that others grasp the value you can create for their organizations. He will also touch on how to network ethically and effectively in order to increase your access to opportunities in areas you wish to pursue.

“I’m far happier now than I ever was in academia. Even so, I didn’t achieve that state without my share of suffering. It took me over two years to expand my sense of what I could do, to develop new skills, to learn how to convey my strengths to those from other backgrounds – and finally to get a job.”

Christopher L. Caterine

Christopher L. Caterine’s talk will be commented by Dr. Miia Kosonen, chair of the national association for doctors in Finland, the Doctor’s Network, and Dr. Ancuta-Gabriela Tarta, media consultant in Copenhagen, who made a conscious decision to leave academia. They will also tell their career stories and reflect upon their competences with regard to requirements beyond the academia.

The webinar is open to everyone interested in pursuing a doctoral degree but also considering job possibilities beyond the academy. The webinar will also help doctoral students and new doctors to verbalize their competence and see how to build their competence profile as part of building an academic career. The webinar may also be helpful for students who likely have left or will leave their home country to study or work in a new linguistic or cultural context.

Webinar recording

The webinar was recorded on 5 February 2021. There were 108 pre-registered users. You can watch the recording (ca. 45 min) here:

For background

Materials and networks

  • Christopher L. Caterine’s slides from the webinar (5 February 2021)
  • PhD Network in Finland, presented in the webinar (5 February 2021) by Miia Kosonen, chair of Tohtoriverkosto
  • Academic networks in Denmark: PAND – PhD Association Network of Denmark
  • Academic networks in Sweden: Doktorand I Sverige (Facebook group)
  • Academic networks in Finland: Akateeminen ompeluseura, a female scholars’ network (Facebook group)
  • Global: Doctorate (PHD) – How to write a thesis and much more (LinkedIn group)
  • Discipline-specific: Emerging Scholars and Practitioners on Migration Issues Network (ESPMI) (LinkedIn group)
  • See NordMedia Network’s comprehensive and searchable list of Nordic associations and networks
  • “I want to thank you for the cleverest and simplest advice concerning career transition I have ever heard: we have to think departure from the university in positive terms.”

    Miia Kosonen, PhD, founder of the Finnish PhD Network

    “I wish these pieces of advice had been available at the time I finished my PhD and I had to make a career choice. Transition from academia is not an easy road.”

    Ancuta-Gabriela Tarta, PhD, communications and change manager at Maersk

    About the speaker

    Christopher L. Caterine is a communications strategist, career coach, and the author of Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide (Princeton University Press 2020). His book distills lessons he learned during his own journey from PhD and professor of classics to proposal writer for a global consulting firm – a journey that included interviews with more than 150 professionals in diverse sectors and from diverse backgrounds. Chris is happy to report that life has been much better since he left academia behind: rather than chasing short-term jobs around the US, he lives in New Orleans with his wife, son, and cat.

    Contact us

    Feedback form

    • How did you experience our webinar? Do you have suggestions for further topics? Please let us know about your ideas.

    The feedback will be received by Maarit Jaakkola, co-director, Nordicom, maarit.jaakkola@gu.se.