Inês Crisóstomo: "Coaching is about supporting people in making decisions or choices" 

According to DocEnhance career-tracking survey, PhD graduates are increasingly moving into careers outside of academia. Navigating out of it involves being clear on the direction to take while translating your strengths and skills to a non-academic audience. Coaching appears to be the right answer to support the transition.

As a coach within the 2getthere mentoring programme, Inês Crisóstomo supported mentees in their career transition, encouraging them to think and explore their strengths and challenges to find their paths towards a post-PhD work and life.

Reflecting on your skills, values and where to go

Many PhD holders seek jobs outside academia after graduating. As there is an apparent disparity in metrics and skills between academia and non-academia, doctoral students are left wondering how to stand out to find a job beyond academia.This is where career coaching can come to the rescue. 

Inês Crisóstomo acted as a career coach for some of the EURAXESS Luxembourg mentees helping them, among other, to reflect on their skills, values and what to do after completing their PhD.

Coaching is about supporting people in making decisions or choices: what to do next? What are your strengths? How do you look for the next job?

In her experience, doctoral students and researchers often feel that they can only do research and that they don't have any other skills. Yet they do! Often they just need guidance on recognising their own skills. The good news is that researchers develop plenty of transferrable skills and hands-on experience during their PhD. These will serve when it comes to finding employment and help distinguish from other applicants.

Finding out what your skills are is what you acquire through a research project. Research is very particular, independently of the field: researchers are aiming to find something that is not known, they break boundaries. This process develops a set of diverse skills that can be very valuable in the job market such as resilience or problem-solving. There are a lot of skills and abilities that we are not immediately aware of. Coaching brings all of this to the surface.

From PhD to science management to coaching

A biologist by training, after her PhD Inês Crisóstomo pursued a career in science management. For more than 10 years, she coordinated training programmes for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. In Luxembourg, she has been working as a research facilitator at the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine of the University of Luxembourg.

My aim is to empower people. If I feel like I've helped other people feel accomplished, then I've fulfilled my mission.

As she realised that she had always guided researchers in various ways, Inês decided to take formal coaching training at the Coaching Academy in the UK and devote her energy to guiding researchers in their careers.

Talk to people! Don't be afraid to talk to people. If you cannot talk, write to people. The best way to find out what a job is all about is to talk to someone who is doing this job. And if there are opportunities for jobs, internships, or whatever, take them.



About 2getthere

2getthere is a free-of-charge mentoring programme managed by EURAXESS Luxembourg dedicated to PhD candidates who see their future career outside academia in Luxembourg. Discover more about 2getthere.  

Read more tips from our 2getthere programme.