Wageningen Career Support guides PhD students in all the phases of the doctorate research.

  • During the first year, amply before the go/no go moment;
  • During the following years, e.g. after having agreed in a P&D interview that development in certain points needs additional attention and that it would be wise to have coaching in this respect;
  • During the final year, when you are completing your doctorate thesis and you start looking for your next job.

Issues that can come up when you are a PhD student, are: learning how to manage your own research, taking initiative and responsibility, making choices, being determined, asking for help, communication with thesis supervisors, guidance of students, cooperation with research assistants, giving presentations, have conferences with project partners. It is a period of important personal and professional growth. This is probably your first job as a young scientist. A lot of it is new, and needs attention and further development. You learn a lot from experience. Coaching sessions can help to speed up the learning process and make functioning as a PhD student more effective. And if there are bottlenecks in some situations, coaching can help you to come to grips with them by insight and practice. Self-assurance, voicing your own opinion, cooperation, communication and presentation and finally finding the right balance between profundity (perfectionism or uncertainty) and speed. When is an opinion or concept mature enough to be shared with others? Dealing with feedback. Deadlines. The writing process. These are themes I often encounter in my coaching sessions with PhD students. In an international environment, such as Wageningen University and in business, you work together with many nationalities, and intercultural communication is an issue there. In their own countries everybody is used to their culture and morals, both socially and in a work environment. Working in a new and international environment demands cultural adaptation. How do I behave in a meeting, what is and what is not expected from me, what can I say to my thesis supervisor, how far do my own responsibility and initiative reach? And I am not speaking about people from ‘distant’ countries here, such as Bangladesh. This applies just as well to new employees from e.g. Germany or France and to Dutch researchers in the international Wageningen University.

New options

When you have almost finished your doctorate thesis, you have to start looking for your next job. Possibly you are not in the mood for it because you are still busy writing – maybe even doing some experiments in the final year. But if you wait until the reading copy is ready, you may be rather late. It would be wise to start thinking in time about what else you want to do later. Then you can already make use of the contacts you have, in meetings with colleagues, project partners and during conferences abroad, to also investigate the options for your next career step. With WW-guidance Wageningen Career Support will offer structure, content and motivation in this process. What exactly do you want in your future career, what does your profile look like, where do you find those vacancies, how do you go about networking and how do you conduct a job interview?

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