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PhD Career Focus

An interactive workshop on how to find the best job fit

 Interuniversity seminar on transferable skills VUB-UA-UGent

Cluster Career management

Target group

Humanities and Social Sciences


PhD students in the final phase of their research


Provide very practical tools to find your way, introduce and profile themselves on the labour market.

The seminar will increase your awareness about your personality, your competencies and skills and the transferability of these competencies and skills, but also of your personality, to the labour market. Also, you will have more insight in your motivation and interests, your values and priorities in life in general and in your professional life in particular. Most importantly, you will become more conscious of how all this can impact your choice of a certain career path. You will also receive guidance in how to profile or brand yourself, how to prepare and conduct an interview, and how to negotiate a job (content) and a job offer.


Interactive and interuniversity seminar

Time schedule

4 workshops: 19 April, 26 April, 3 May and 10 May 2012 (10:00-17:00)


19 April 2012

Who am I?

Learn more about who you are, what you are good at (and what you should develop further), and what your motivation, interests, values and priorities are

Participants will complete a personality questionnaire either up front or during the workshop. General conclusions on how to interpret a personality questionnaire will be given. This should allow the participants to be more aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
11:30-12:30 Competencies and skills
Determining which competencies, skills, knowledge, attitude participants need to have, which ones are nice to have, and how to use them in their job search. This will demonstrate that different skill sets are needed in different sectors and/or jobs.
12:30-13:00 Motivation, interests and priorities
Group and individual exercise(s) in order to determine what exactly motivates the participants, in their professional life, where their interests lay and what their priorities are in life. This will provide them with a clear insight in what direction their job search should take.
13:00-14:00 Break
Motivation, interests and priorities cont'd
14:30-15:30 Values
Before starting a job search in a certain sector, organisation or company, it is important to ask oneself what the values are (e.g. integrity, social responsibility, diversity) that drive you in life. This part of the workshop will increase the awareness of the participants about the impact of values in their lives.
15:30-16:30 Create your personal brand As a conclusion of Day 1, participants will write and draw their personal brand, encompassing all aspects of Day 1.
16:30-17:00 Questions and wrap up of Day 1

26 April 2012

Me and the labour market

Where will I find a fit with my personality, competencies and skills, motivation, interests, priorities and values?

10:00-10:30 Introduction  
10:30-12:30 Sector, industries and jobs What characterises the different sectors and industries, what are the different drivers of these sectors, which opportunities are there in each sector, what are the pitfalls of different sectors?
12:30-13:00 Professional goals and objectives Not only should the participants think about where they will apply and what their first job will be. They will be motivated to think about what direction they would like to take in the short and middle term. Knowing what you want is a strength and this part will add this strength to the participant's baskets.
13:00-14:00 Break
14:00-15:00 Geography In a globalised world, life and career are no longer limited by geographical borders. What does it mean to go and work abroad, how does it impact my life and what should I think about before I decide to become 'an expatriate'? This part will handle these issues and give answers to most of the questions asked.
15:00-16:30 Personal action plan Participants will make their personal action plan: what actions will I take, in which sectors and for which roles will I apply.
16:30-17:00 Questions and wrap up of Day 2  

3 May 2012

My job search

10:00-10:30 Introduction
CV How to write a strong cv and cover letter (or e-mail) that will stand out. On the basis of their own cv that participants will have written before the workshop, we will discuss strong and weak cv's, pitfalls and how to adapt your cv to different job applications.
Intermediates on job market This will give the participants a better understanding of the different channels that exist and could or should be used in their job search. We will elaborate on the specificities of each channel.
12:00-12:30 Spontaneous applications or job applications  
12:30-13:00 Job sites Internal and external: Euraxess and other job portals.
13:00-14:00 Break  
Campus recruitment and job fairs
14:30-15:00 Referrals  
15:00-16:00 Social media and networking  
Recruiting agencies and executive search organisations
Questions and wrap up of Day 3

10 May 2012

My application process

The steps the applicant can encounter in the process and will be a preparation to each of these steps

10:00-10:30 Introduction

The interview Introduction to different forms of interviews that participants will encounter in the job market and how to answer questions.
Strengths/weaknesses interview
Biographical interview
Motivational interview
Competency based interview and STAR technique
Value based interview
Introduction to interviewing sessions Participants will apply for different kinds of jobs up front and interview each other in small groups. This will give them an understanding of the strategy of the interviewer and will make them understand what an interview entails.

Interviewing sessions
Feedback session on interviews
Personality testing and reasoning/intelligence tests What is testing and why do some employers apply it? A theoretical overview of testing. Opportunity to perform a test, either during the workshop or up front and analyse the results with them.
Assessment Simulation and situational exercise that puts the applicant in an as much as possible 'real life' situation which is obviously related to the job that the applicant applied for.
Questions and wrap up of Day 4


Study material

  • Slides
  • Personality questionnaire
  • Reasoning ability or intelligence testing 
  • Interview guides



Number of participants

5 members Doctoral School of Arts, Humanities and Law + 5 members Doctoral School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Credits (Doctoral Training Programme of 60 ECTS)


Evaluation criteria (Doctoral Training Programme)

Active participation  


See confirmation e-mail

Registration fee

Free of charge for the members of the Doctoral Schools

Registration procedure