Alternative PhD careers


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

Recordings of our PhD seminar - Non-academic careers for PhDs - are available to watch online. Chose from the rich media formatvodcast or podcast

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 check 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.

Useful Information

Routes in

Applying for non-academic jobs

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

Corporate and third sector employers are sometimes intimidated by the idea of 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 their requirements and positively counter any concerns they may have.

The resources below will help you make a strong application and prepare well for an interview.


An internship is an excellent way of finding out more about a career outside of 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

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.