Alternative PhD careers

Searching and applying

It can be a big step to turn aside from an academic career after three or four years of your PhD.

Example CVs and cover letters


Download annotated example CVs below and use you mouse to view additional comments and notes on key features.

These example CVs can be used as a basis for developing your own CVs for different purposes. They all use the same profile so you can see how differently the same information can be presented for different audiences.

Find more information on writing CVs on the LSE Careers website.

Once you have completed your CV make an appointment with the PhD careers consultant to review the content.

Cover letters

Download cover letter notes for non-academic jobs [pdf] to give you some ideas about how to sell your transferable and specialised strengths and also allay some of the concerns non-academic employers sometimes have about employing a PhD.

Find more information on writing cover letters on the LSE Careers website.

Please note: CVs used here are completely fictional and have been created for the use of examples.


An internship is an excellent way of finding out more about a career outside academia. Internships vary in length, level of commitment, salary (some are unpaid) and outcome, so it helps to have an overview of how an internship will enhance your prospects and strengthen your CV.  A successful internship can often lead to a formal job opportunity.

Remember:  An internship will take place during normal office hours, reducing time for research.  Make sure that any commitment you make is not going to harm your PhD.

Useful resources

  • Examples of LSE students who have had internships are on our Blog here

  • LSE Parliamentary internships - exclusive internships in Parliament for LSE students.
  • ESRC students can access internships and are encouraged to look at information on the ESRC website  

Remember: Any organisation that runs an internship programme will give information about their scheme on their website.  PhDs will usually be applying alongside graduates and masters students.  Therefore it’s important to read the material carefully to pick up clues about what they are looking for in an intern.  Also be very clear in your application, state what relevant skills and experience you can offer.

Useful Information

Routes in

Applying for non-academic jobs

A PhD graduate moving away from academia must know how to communicate their transferable skills and expertise.

Corporate and third sector employers are sometimes intimidated by a candidate with high intellectual abilities, and may perceive an inability to adapt well to team work and short deadlines.  A successful application for such employers will reflect the employers requirements and positively counter any concerns.

Vacancy sources

Good quality employment sector information is on the LSE Careers page and includes links to organisations and job sites. Guidance on job hunting and below is a selection of sites.

Clearly this list cannot be exhaustive, but focuses on general job search portals for non-academic positions, as well as job search sites within specific sectors relevant for PhD graduates.

The LSE CareerHub vacancy board is a good place to start. It lists some job opportunities within LSE, and also a range of opportunities for which employers would like to recruit LSE students and graduates. Administrative and professional service roles at LSE are on the school’s jobs page and you will find more on

In the UK

International job search

  • The Government Job

    A search engine for UK government & public sector opportunities

  • GoinGlobal

    GoinGlobal contains over 40 country careers guides, packed with country-specific information and vacancies.
    If you are an LSE alumni, please contact for login details.

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