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Holly Prescott

Many doctoral alumni claim that, before they started gaining experience and doing some work, they didn’t know their job was a job and that they came to it by accident. This chapter draws on the author’s own experiences and on those of some of the postgraduate researchers she has supported as a careers advisor. It highlights three instances where preparing for your first job can come unstuck, and suggests some mitigation strategies to help put you in a strong position for job hunting after your doctorate. These instances comprise being unaware of yourself and consequently making the wrong choices; being unaware of all the options available; and being unaware of the lingo, i.e. the jargon and phraseology in your field. Each instance includes the experience of a postgraduate researcher by way of illustration. The chapter ends with six key lessons for going beyond your doctorate and getting your first job.