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Career planning for PhD candidates

When you finish your PhD you will have many interesting and different opportunities for your further career. Should you continue within the academic sector or apply for a job in the private or public sector?

Graduation hat


Make a plan for your personal and academical development already from the start to ensure that you have a good transition till your next career step. During your PhD journey, you will be offered guidance and information on different career paths, courses and career conversations with your supervisor. Your career plan should also be discussed during your yearly appraisal interview, to give you as good conditions as possible for your future work life. USN will soon launch a career planning tool for individual career planning for PhDs and postdocs.

  • Career related courses and webinars will be announced on the intranet calendar and the PhD Courses webpage.
  • Do you see a need for specific courses or training sessions, in connection to career development in your doctoral degree, contact Aina Enstad.

Career planning tools

There are several online tools to use when exploring your interests and possible career paths. They assist you in defining your career goals and map out your general skills. The overview below is not a complete list but show a series of tools we recommend as support. Share and discuss your career plan with your academic colleagues, supervisor, research group leaders or other PhD scholars to get feedback and make a realistic career plan.


myIDP is especially developed for technological, natural science and health PhD specialisations. The tool assists you in defining goals and exploring a variety of career options through four stages:

  • Self-assessment (skills, interests and values)
  • Career exploration
  • Goal setting and
  • Implementation

It contents the following functions:

  • Exercises to help you examine your own skills, interests, and values
  • A list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which best suits your skills and interests
  • A tool to set strategic goals for the coming year, with optional reminders to keep you "on track"
  • Articles, tutorials, and other resources
  • Related Videos to IDP and Career Planning

keyboard_backspace Read more about the IDP-process and use of myIDP here

Imagine PhD

A career exploration and planning tools for postdocs and PhD students in the humanities and social sciences. The tool is a resource that focuses on the knowledge gap between doctoral education and career opportunities. 

  • Assess career-related skills, interests and values
  • Explore career paths that suits your field of study
  • Create self-defined goals
  • Map out the next steps for career- and professional development success


keyboard_backspace Go to Imagine PhD

No limits: exploring careers for researchers

A toolbox that gives you guidance, advice and challenges you with questions connected to your own needs and goals.

keyboard_backspace Go to No Limits


EURAXESS: here you find information and various support resources for researchers, including;

  • Career Orientation Tool, tool for mapping interests and needs and planning furthr career development
  • Career Handbook for Young Researchers, aid for developing a career plan
  • Virtual Webinars, a collection of webinars with various career relevant topics
  • EURAXESS Smart Talks, podcasts on relevant topics related to research, innovation and entrepreneurship


VITAEDigital self-help resources such as;

  • Researchers Career Stories, real stories about people's research careers
  • Action Plan for your Career Development, tips and advice on how to create a career plan
  • Creating an effective academic CV, tips on how to create an academic CV and collection of various examples

  • Exploring career opportunities for researchers, tips on how to search for job opportunities

  • The Vitae Researcher Development Framework Planner, a digital tool for developing and maintaining a career plan


Academic career

Are you planning an academic career? Open research practise entails changes in how research will be evaluated in the future. The national guide for academic career paths, NOR-CAM frames a new holistic approach to assessing academic competence, that USN is now developing.

The main point is that assessments in the long term should be based more on qualitative assessments, more responsible use of quantitative indicators and with a goal to get a broader range of acknowledgement of academic results and that the contribution to the usefulness of the research should be recognized.


Do you want to develop your skills within research communication? 

How can you as a researcher reach out with your specialist knowledge? How can you become a better communicator?

The podcast series Research to the People is designed to help researchers become safer and more motivated in their research dissemination. In six episodes, experienced mediators and professionals share their best tips for you as a researcher.