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After Doc' Social Sciences & Humanities #2

After the success of its 1st edition, a new After Doc' was organized in Paris on February 12, 2019.

It allowed almost 50 participants, PhD candidates and holders, to discover the careers of four speakers - who hold a PhD in social sciences and humanities  or hire and work with them in the private sector - and to exchange with them during an informal networking session.

Here are some highlights from this event.

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Roundtable discussion


Roundtable discussion

The first part of the event was full of ideas, good advice and anecdotes. Discover or rediscover the inspiring talks through some quotes that ABG has compiled for you.



Mélissa PETIT [CEO @Mixing generations] :

"Don't neglect the importance of opportunities and experiences we share in life... When I was an independent consultant, I was taking boxing classes and the coach told me about a person at Paris 1 University, through whom I was finally able to get my first contract as an external consultant."

"Social networks, and in particular LikedIn, are a great way to get some visibility and surround yourself with professionals who are relevant to you.


Catherine THOMAS [Training Officer @ABG] :

"The network is essential for all of you who are wondering about alternative career paths. It is necessary to meet with people who are currently working in positions of interest in order to:
- better understand the job market,
- discover other sectors, other employers that offer positions that may be appealing to you,
- better understand the language, the vocabulary used in companies,

and in short, widen your horizon, and help you project yourself, especially outside academic research."

"The network is of course about making contacts but also about maintaining them over time. Sending greetings for example is a good way to do it. Another option is to use social networks, whether to "like" professional posts, follow professionals or connect with them."


Career paths

Catherine THOMAS [Training Officer @ABG] :

"A good career plan is a combination of three very important elements:
- assessing your skills - both scientific and technical skills and personal qualities,
(For this, ABG offers an online guide for self-assessment of skills AND the DocPro platform)
- reflecting on your your desires,
- exploring the opportunities offered by the market.

If you work on these three axes, you will see career tracks appear..."


Anaïs LE BRUN [Manager of Student Affairs Department @ESCP Europe] :

"In the course of my job research, I came across a job offer: an architecture firm is looking for an agency manager. I say to myself, 'I am going to apply, I don't necessarily have the profile for this job but I'm going to try, I dare! Because I have my doctorate, my professional experience...' And I did get an interview! "

"During my second interview, I met the founder of the agency with whom we have spent an hour talking about Russian cinema, then about my doctorate, after which he told me that I was hired. We had a real intellectual connection. We found each other..."

"You are PhD candidates and PhDs: you are cultivated and you have an open mind. These are real advantages in companies! "


Marc DUGAST [Recruiter @Groupe Ayming]

"The job ads target very often specific scientific fields... you have to be able to dare and try your luck anyway."


Marketing your skills and your PhD

Sophie HABERBÜSH-SUEUR [Web Project Manager @Anthropoweb] : 

"Take a step back from your thesis topic and what you have tried to demonstrate in your doctoral project. What is its practicality? Which part of your experience do you want to promote?"


Anaïs LE BRUN [Manager of Student Affairs Department @ESCP Europe] :

"Learn to present your doctorate as a project management experience"

"Search the name of the person who will receive your application when you apply for a job. Try to find out where this person is situated in the organization chart. And try to imagine how s/he would perceive your doctorate.".


Catherine THOMAS [Training Officer @ABG] :

"The way you present your doctorate on a CV or on another communication tool is important. Your PhD will have its place in the "education" section of your CV, but above all, it must be detailed among the professional experiences. What is important to present is not only your thesis title, but the skills you have developed or the results you have achieved. You need to be able to market your research project, make it accessible and attractive to the person in front of you. You absolutely have to take a professional stance to be considered a professional".

"It is essential to be able to talk about your skills in a language that non-academics can understand. Speaking the language of the company or the organization you want to join, this is something you can learn how to do. Try also to take a step back from your research project to talk about its context, the results obtained, the stakes..."


Marc DUGAST [Recruiter @Groupe Ayming]

'In the past, I have recruited 3 different PhDs in social sciences and humanities: in information and communication sciences, in philosophy and in history of arts.

The strengths of these profiles? Skills acquired during the doctorate and the way these were marketed"

"The winning recipe is this:

- have a clear understanding of what you have been able to achieve during your doctorate,
- acquire soft skills,
- have a discourse in line with the company's expectations."

"What I have found interesting in these profiles is that they have often carried out research projects under difficult (human) conditions, with more hazards than in the so-called "hard" sciences. Thus, they have developed perseverance and a real ability to adapt, as well as transferable skills".



The speakers

"A very good memory, a friendly, very professional atmosphere and very good discussions with the audience at the end of our talks."

Marc DUGAST [Groupe Ayming]


"I am delighted to have been able to participate in this event. I have received about ten messages via  LinkedIn from participants since Monday. They were apparently very happy with the evening and still had questions, especially about project management."

Anaïs LE BRUN [ESCP Europe]


The participants

The speakers presented us inspiring and enriching journeys.
During the discussion time, we had the opportunity to ask more specific questions. This was a plus.
Thank you for all the advice! The diversity of the speakers' backgrounds made it possible to understand that many alternatives exist after the PhD, including outside academia.