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Getting Jobs is not a problem …

obtaining employment however is!

The topic of late—besides preparing for my viva—is finding a job or a post-doc. If I cannot find a post-doc I would be more than happy to hold a part-time position so I have time to publish (not perish) and start up my company. So far I am really good in finding jobs for my self: research here, teaching there and the occasional admin cum organizer or project manager position. All thanks to colleagues, friends, networks, my recruitment agency and now and again a wild card application for a job that sounds really interesting. What I am failing to find is a position, even contract that outlasts 12 months and pays enough (not in hourly rates but in time I am permitted to work) to pay the bills.

It appears that this failure to find employment gravitates around one specific issue—transferable skills and do employers always need what they want?

Now that I solved the mystery of soft skills, I found out I have significant experiences, from project-, time-, and  budget-management, team leading, research design and planning, conducting, dissemination, lecturing and what not. However, all these experiences are naught here in the UK because the employer market seems very narrowly focused on a handful of characteristics for a certain field. In education for instance, when I am telling people I undertook a PhD in education the first and only reaction I always get is: “So you are a teacher.”

Uhm, NO! Well, yes BUT this is only a small part of my professional identity. I am also a sociologist, an ethnographer, I studied developmental psychology, cognition and neuro-sciences, statistics, didactic, health-education (nutrition, mental health), research theories and on top of all this I taught English in a German Kindergarten and worked since I was 17 in a social worker role in community projects. Beforehand I obtained a professional business degree and also worked in IT for a year and as database manager for Roland Berger & Partner during my summer holidays. I gave my first guided tour in a museum when I was ten and worked as museum’s education officer and project manager developing and implementing (including staff training etc) education programs.

So now tell me would you still put me in the drawer labelled: teacher?

There is much commotion and many seminars about transferable skills at my institution, yet companies, and even worse other HEI (the ones who preach the whole transferable skills movement) seem to be completely ignorant of such skills sets. So what am I to do as a job seeker? The university’s career service tells me that I have great transferable skills—Big deal! if I cannot transfer my transferable skills into the job market.

Any tips and ideas are welcome.

At the moment I am undertaking step one to get CAPM qualification …

Categories: Teaching

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Nathalie Sheridan

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