1. Report this comment

    Suzanne Jarvis said:

    Thank you for the interesting article Elizabeth. We recently surveyed our student (undergraduate and postgraduate/PhD) to gauge their interest in developing soft skills. We found that PhD students are very interested in developing their confidence (62%) and self-awareness (55%) for example. While these are related to teamwork and communication we would consider these to be deeper personal development areas that would develop only in an ad hoc way in many PhD programmes. We have been experimenting with a range of university wide initiatives (credited and non-credited) to address this and would be happy to share our learning to date with anyone interested.

    Prof. Suzi Jarvis
    Director, Innovation Academy,
    University College Dublin

  2. Report this comment

    Elizabeth Silva said:

    Thank you very much for sharing what you’re learning. The Innovation Academy looks like a very interesting program!

  3. Report this comment

    Brian Eigel said:

    I agree with you Elizabeth that communication, teamwork and emotional intelligence are valuable skill sets that set candidates apart in interviews (and set employees apart in job performance). In addition, I think PhD training also results in other valuable transferrable skills, such as:

    • Critical thinking to generate and solve hypotheses

    • Resilience and persistence in the face of setbacks

    • A willingness to experiment and make new mistakes

    • Thoughtful analysis of complex problems and data

    • Ability to give and receive critical feedback

    As you state, I think the first step for many PhDs considering roles outside of academia is to realize the skills they have (beyond the technical expertise) and second, to effectively share how their experience and skills can be used to solve a problem or fit a need at a company or organization.