The top 10 best career development books for postdocs outside Academia
Introduction: What are the Best Career Development Books Beyond Academia?
In the early stages of one’s career, it is important to get a good understanding of what is expected and what will be required. This can be difficult without any experience in the field. That is why some people choose to read books on career development. These books provide valuable insight into how to move forward in one’s career and how to succeed in their chosen field.
Why You Should Read a Career Development Book?
Career development is an important aspect of work life as well as personal life, and with the rise in academic competition, it is important to take care of one’s career. The process of career development is not easy. It can be difficult to know what to do and where to start. One way to start is by reading a career development book. These books offer guidance on how to excel academically and professionally.
The books listed below are all about career development for academics, particularly for PhD students and postdocs. They can help you to explore your options, plan for the future and learn how to get ahead in academia and beyond.
This list of career advancement books is a mix of both new and old titles. Some of them are more general, while others are more specific to certain fields.
The best academic books to help advance your career are not those that will teach you a new skill, but those that will provide insight into the industry and the skills needed. The following are the best career development books to explore and evolve your career outside Academia.
|Alternative Careers in Science: Leaving the Ivory Tower (Scientific Survival Skills) 2nd Edition||Many science students find themselves in the midst of graduate school or sitting at a lab bench, and realize that they hate lab work! Even worse is realizing that they may love science, but science (at least academic science) is not providing many job opportunities these days. What's a poor researcher to do !? This book gives first-hand descriptions of the evolution of a band of hardy scientists out of the lab and into just about every career you can imagine. Researchers from every branch of science found their way into finance, public relations, consulting, business development, journalism, and more - and thrived there! Each author tells their personal story, including descriptions of their career path, a typical day, where to find information on their job, opportunities to career growth, and more. This is a must-read for every science major, and everyone who is looking for a way to break out of their career rut.||320||2005||Buy Now|
|Guide to Non-Traditional Careers in Science: A Resource Guide for Pursuing a Non-Traditional Path 1st Edition||Offering practical advice and stories from scientists and professionals, this guidebook aids the reader in evaluating and finding career opportunities in non-academic research fields. It demonstrates that choices are available, providing many examples of fields (for example publishing, law, public policy and business) in which people can use their scientific training to nurture a satisfying professional life. Yet it also acknowledges that there are trade-offs involved with any veer from the traditional path.||278||1998||Buy Now|
|Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers||A growing number of people completing or holding graduate degrees now seek non-faculty positions―also called alternative academic, or “alt-ac” positions―at different stages in their careers. While an increasing number of people with doctoral degrees are hunting for a diminishing pool of tenure-track faculty jobs, most degree-granting institutions do not adequately prepare their graduate students to enter the new reality of the alt-ac job market. Yet the administrative ranks in higher education institutions are growing, as colleges and universities are creating a diverse range of positions that support teaching and learning efforts. Focusing on the range of potential alternative career choices, this highly practical book offers tools and prompts for readers who are: Considering whether to choose an alt-ac career path Seeking specific alt-ac positions Advising graduate students or mentoring recent professional graduates Encountering alt-ac career challenges The authors offer case stories―their own and those of colleagues across North America in alt-ac roles―with concrete examples designed to help readers pursue, obtain, and excel in a wide variety of alt-ac positions. The book can equally be used as a resource for graduate courses on professional development and job-market preparation.||264||2020||Buy Now|
|"So What Are You Going to Do with That?": Finding Careers Outside Academia, Third Edition||Graduate schools churn out tens of thousands of PhDs and MAs every year. Yet more than half of all college courses are taught by adjunct faculty, which means that the chances of an academic landing a tenure-track job seem only to shrink as student loan and credit card debts grow. What’s a frustrated would-be scholar to do? Can she really leave academia? Can a job outside the academy really be rewarding? And could anyone want to hire a grad-school refugee? In this third edition of “So What Are You Going to Do with That?”, thoroughly revised with new advice for students in the sciences, Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius―PhDs themselves―answer all those questions with a resounding “Yes!” A witty, accessible guide full of concrete advice for anyone contemplating the jump from scholarship to the outside world, “So What Are You Going to Do with That?” covers topics ranging from career counseling to interview etiquette to how to translate skills learned in the academy into terms an employer can understand and appreciate. Packed with examples and stories from real people who have successfully made this daunting―but potentially rewarding―transition, and written with a deep understanding of both the joys and difficulties of the academic life, this fully updated guide will be indispensable for any graduate student or professor who has ever glanced at his or her CV, flipped through the want ads, and wondered, “What if?”||168||2014||Buy Now|
|Next Gen PhD: A Guide to Career Paths in Science||For decades, top scientists in colleges and universities pursued a clear path to success: enroll in a prestigious graduate program, conduct research, publish papers, complete the PhD, pursue postdoctoral work. With perseverance and a bit of luck, a tenure-track professorship awaited at the end. In today’s academic job market, this scenario represents the exception. As the number of newly conferred science PhDs keeps rising, the number of tenured professorships remains stubbornly stagnant. “Next Gen PhD: A Guide to Career Paths in Science is a practical and thorough manual for the entire career transition process, from defining personal interests and deciding on a career path all the way to day one of a new job. Written by experienced career counselor Melanie Sinche, it is geared toward postdocs and graduate students who may not have access to effective career counseling or mentorship or are not satisfied with what they have received thus far.” ―Teegan A. Dellibovi-Ragheb, Science “With its focus on PhD level scientists, this book fills a gap in job search and career information literature. It’s a must-read for those contemplating or actively pursuing studies in the subject area, as well as those who provide guidance to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars.” ―Alan Farber, Library Journal (starred review)||272||2018||Buy Now|
|Career Planning for Research Bioscientists 1st Edition||Career Planning for Research Bioscientists is an essential careers guide for bioscience doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers. It contains a wealth of information and resources specifically targeted at research bioscientists, with practical strategies to enhance career success in an increasingly competitive job market. Advice on how to write a winning CV together with examples adapted for different jobs is presented, as well as practical exercises to assist with skills analysis and decision making. Profiles of PhD-qualified bioscienstists in a range of professions including academic research, industry, science communication, management and consultancy provide valuable insights into how others have managed their careers, and tactics such as networking and using social media demonstrate how new opportunities can be discovered. The content of this book is aimed primarily at research bioscientists, however much of the advice and information will be a useful reference for other students and researchers looking for an effective career planning strategy.||192||2012||Buy Now|
|Put Your Science to Work: The Take-Charge Career Guide for Scientists - Practical Advise,,, Proven Techniques 1st Edition||Whether you are a science undergraduate or graduate student, post-doc or senior scientist, you need practical career development advice. Put Your Science to Work: The Take-Charge Career Guide for Scientists can help you explore all your options and develop dynamite strategies for landing the job of your dreams. Completely revised and updated from the best-selling To Boldly Go: A Practical Career Guide for Scientists, this second edition offers expert help from networking to negotiating a job offer. This is the book you need to start moving your career in the right direction.||179||2000||Buy Now|
|Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide (Skills for Scholars)||An indispensable guide for grad students and academics who want to find fulfilling careers outside higher education An estimated ninety-three percent of graduate students in the humanities and social sciences won’t get a tenure-track job, yet many still assume that a tenured professorship is the only successful outcome for a PhD. With the academic job market in such crisis, Leaving Academia helps grad students and academics in any scholarly field find satisfying careers beyond higher education. Short and pragmatic, the book offers invaluable advice to visiting and adjunct instructors ready to seek new opportunities, to scholars caught in “tenure-trap” jobs, to grad students interested in nonacademic work, and to committed academics who want to support their students and contingent colleagues more effectively. After earning a PhD in classics from the University of Virginia and teaching at Tulane, Christopher Caterine left academia for a job at a corporate consulting firm. During his career transition, he went on more than 150 informational interviews and later interviewed twelve other professionals who had left higher education for diverse fields. Drawing on everything he learned, Caterine helps readers chart their own course to a rewarding new career. He addresses dozens of key issues, including overcoming psychological difficulties, translating academic experience for nonacademics, and meeting the challenges of a first job in a new field. Providing clear, concrete ways to move forward at each stage of your career change, even when the going gets tough, Leaving Academia is both realistic and filled with hope.||208||2020||Buy Now|
|Building a Career Outside Academia: A Guide for Doctoral Students in the Behavioral and Social Sciences 1st Edition||After years of hard work and many long hours, you’ve finally finished your dissertation and earned your doctorate. You have persevered through many challenges, but there is still one dilemma that lays before you: What will you do with your degree? While many graduates go on to pursue academic careers, academia isn’t for everyone. This career guide examines the rewarding opportunities that await social and behavioral science doctorates in nonacademic sectors, including government, consulting, think tanks, for‑profit corporations, and nonprofit associations. The chapter authors are experienced professionals who provide an insider’s look into their respective fields. They explain why they chose their paths, the challenges they overcame, and how they applied their PhDs to make a difference in the real world. Chapters offers tips for leveraging support from mentors, conducting job searches, marketing your degree and skillset, networking, and preparing for interviews. This expert guidance will help you decide what career is the best fit for you.||190||2018||Buy Now|
|Succeeding Outside the Academy: Career Paths beyond the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM||Not every PhD becomes a professor. Some never want to, but others discover—too late and ill-prepared to look elsewhere—that there’s precious little room in today's ivory tower, and what's there might not be a good fit. For those leaving academia, or wanting out, or finding themselves adrift, this book offers hope, advice, and a bracing look at how others facing the same quandary have made careers outside of the academy work. All of the authors in this volume, as well as the editors, have built successful careers beyond the groves of academia—as freelance editors and writers, consultants and lecturers, librarians, realtors, and entrepreneurs—and each has a compelling story to tell. Their accounts afford readers a firsthand view of what it takes to transition from professor to professional. They also give plenty of practical advice, along with hard-won insights into what making a move beyond the academy might entail—emotionally, intellectually, and, not least, financially. Imparting what they wish they’d known during their PhDs, these writers aim to spare those who follow in their uncertain footsteps. Together their essays point the way out of the “tenure track or bust” mindset and toward a world of different but no less rewarding possibilities.||184||2018||Buy Now|
What is the Value of Pursuing Non-Academic Careers for PhDs? 3 Reasons it is Worth it.
Why should you consider a career outside of academia?
- The first reason is that PhDs are not well-paid.
- The second reason is that the job market in academia is competitive and it can be difficult to find an academic job.
- Finally, the third reason is that there are limited opportunities for advancement within academia.
Tips on How to Find the Perfect Role Outside Academia
When you graduate, you will be faced with the question of what to do next. What should you do with your PhD degree?
The first thing to do is to explore all your options.
As a PhD graduate, you might not be ready to pursue a career in academia. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have any other options. There are many ways to build your career outside academia. Of course there is no one perfect way for everyone, but there are some general rules that can be followed when looking for a job outside academia. You can learn from the books presented in this article.
4 Ways to Become a Successful Professional Outside Academia
- Find a mentor: Mentors are an invaluable resource for guidance and professional development. They can provide guidance on how to determine career goals, as well as help you identify opportunities in the field of your choice.
- Get involved: Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door of organizations that interest you while also gaining experience and skills.
- Get creative: Being creative is not just about being good at art or design; it’s also about coming up with new ideas and solutions to problems, which are essential skills in any industry or field of study.
- Network: Networking is one of the most important steps to becoming successful outside academia because it allows you to learn about opportunities before they become available publicly, and it gives you a competitive edge.
What difficulties do professionals outside academia face when it comes to career development?
The process of career development is different for everyone, but there are some common challenges that professionals outside academia face.
The first challenge is figuring out what they want to do with their lives. This might seem like an obvious question, but it can be difficult to answer when you’re not sure what you’re qualified to do. Fortunately, there are many career development books and career help guides that can help people figure out the right path for themselves.
Another difficulty is finding a job in the field they want to work in or getting a promotion without having an academic degree on their resume. Some employers might be hesitant about hiring someone without an academic degree because they think those candidates will have less experience or knowledge than someone who has a PhD or other graduate degree. But it’s important not to let this keep you from applying for a position. Some employers might also be hesitant to hire someone without an academic degree because they think those candidates wouldn’t have the same kind of dedication and hard work that someone with a PhD would, or that those candidates won’t have the same level of interpersonal skills or intelligence as someone who has a graduate degree. But this is simply not true!
Academic Setting vs. Non-Academic Setting and the Challenges that come with it
The academic setting is a challenging one, especially with the pressure to publish papers. This is not only because of the high standards that are set for the work to be published but also because of the long hours that are required to meet deadlines.
The non-academic setting has its own challenges as well. You might have to deal with more people in a day than you would in an academic setting, and there is no guarantee that you will be able to make it up in terms of salary or benefits!
Many PhD students and postdocs struggle when they have to decide which path they want their career to take, whether it’s an academic or non-academic one. The decision can’t be made based on just one factor and needs careful consideration before making a final call.