For PhDs: Exploring Careers and Jobs Outside the Academy

Numerous opportunities exist outside of academia for individuals with PhD degrees. As you explore alternatives to academic positions you will want to consider what skills you have developed during your graduate work that you would like to use in settings outside of academia. Skills and competencies developed in graduate study are valued by many organizations in the private, not for profit and government sectors.

The average person changes jobs and/or careers 4-5 times during their working lives. Even within one career track, a number of reports on graduate education indicate that graduate students need to develop more than an expertise in a particular discipline. There are a number of core competencies (transferable skills) that cut across careers. To become career resilient it is recommended to develop the following core competencies, or the knowledge and skills of:teacher (at every level), project manager, evaluator of other's learning, mentor, communicator, faculty member, teamwork facilitator, leader, interdisciplinary thinker, and big-picture thinker. Having this set of core competencies will help prepare you for your immediate career goal and also for the inevitable changes in your career path over your lifetime.

The Fleishman Career Center Resources to Assess Your Skills, Strengths and Values

Strategies for Exploration

  • Audit classes outside your field or department, or take some non-credit courses or workshops in anything from Intro to C++ to grant writing.
  • Use your summers well. Pursue work experience in areas not necessarily related to your field of study.
  • Pursue other interests, while maintaining progress toward your degree.
  • Alumni Association Professional Network. Through the Binghamton University Alumni Association Professional Network on LinkedIn, you can tap an expansive group of fellow alumni for networking. If you're a current student looking to learn about career fields, expand your professional network, and or improve you job search strategy, we encourage you to join the LinkedIn subgroup specifically for student-to-alumni professional networking. Included in the Student-to-Alumni Professional Network subgroup is a network of Binghamton alumni who have volunteered to be contacted by current students regarding their career. Alumni network volunteers can provide information and assistance whether you are conducting a job search, considering graduate school or contemplating a career change. Although the Network is not an employment or placement program, it is designed to help you connect with alumni and tap their talents and insight.
  • Useful resources and links for researching career fields

Websites for PhDs Researching Nonacademic Careers



Humanities/Social Sciences


Think Tanks and Research

Links for Finding Nonacademic Jobs

All Fields - US and Abroad

  • Going Global is an online tool funded by the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development and the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. This is an excellent resource for identifying internship opportunities in the US and abroad. Use the academic keyword tool to help you zero in on opportunities for advanced degree candidates.



International Development




Other Useful Links for Job Openings


The website of the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development at Binghamton University contains links to other websites as a convenience for its users and is not responsible for the contents of any linked site.

Last Updated: 7/7/14