Top of Form Search An Go .to highlight to future employers . Senior Lecturer in Politics. Here are some skills required to be an academic: . and that we stay in our offices until we come out of a darkened room occasionally to pontificate to our students is simply not true. having a good PhD is not enough to secure the job and to succeed. Dr Angelia Wilson.and areas for improvement.University of Manchester Additional academic career resources ○ ○ ○ • ○ ○ Essential skills and qualities of a successful academic The assumption that academics are not socially-skilled. As you read this section. The University of Manchester Why are skills needed? It is important to understand the many skills and qualities required to be an academic because simply stated. If you feel that you are lacking in a particular area. then develop a plan on how to improve. Bottom of Form Top of Form Choose a Quick Link Go University home Bottom of Form An Academic Career • • • • • • • • ○ ○ Is an academic career for you? About academic careers Finding jobs Making applications Interviews & assessments An Academic Career About academic careers What do academics do? Academic jobs and roles Essential skills and qualities of a successful academic A strategic approach to research Maintaining your professional reputation Lifestyle as an academic Related links Further support . note both your strengths .

approaching an eminent researcher at a conference. particularly if you are a PhD or post-doctoral member of staff. See if your PhD supervisor or Principal Investigator is prepared to share some of their own network of contacts. "Regard networking very positively and be systematic in your approach to networking". Professor of Chemistry. • Start to develop your own professional network. this is probably one of the most essential and useful skills to have as an academic. . Dr Sam Cartwright-Hatton explains how networking has helped her career. or initiating a correspondence with someone you have never met may feel awkward and uncomfortable. • Do your research and identify relevant people in your field who may be future collaborators or employers. Walking into a room full of strangers and being social.• • • • • Networking Time management Resilience Presentation skills Leadership and management Dr Anna Zimdars relates how a chance meeting led to a research opportunity. Further reading • Finding jobs Networking Everyone knows that networking is important and yet it can be very daunting. says John Helliwell. What does networking involve? These are some suggestions for improving your ability to network: • Develop a positive attitude towards meeting potential contacts. even if you are shy and not naturally extroverted. Yet.

who knows your work.• Attend the right conferences to present posters. such as LinkedIn. If you are a member of a professional institution or scholarly association (such as the Royal Society of Chemistry or the Philological Society). try to be (appropriately) forthright and social at these events. • Make yourself known to other researchers on academic online networking sites like Academia. Again. Consider using general professional networking sites. to develop contacts with potential external collaborators (also useful in case your academic career doesn’t work out). see which external researchers are coming to your own university (to give talks or seminars) and attend these. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can follow up at a later time (without acting like a stalker). • Find events outside your university to attend which will extend your network. mailing lists or conferences. Ask questions about their research and find (genuine) opportunities to engage them in conversation or Mendeley. • Ask yourself. As well as helping develop . special interest groups. papers or talks. beyond your own university or research group? If you can’t attend external academic events. take an active role in local or regional meetings. • Apply for funding to travel to other institutions for your research or to conferences.

teaching and administration will pull you in different directions. then academia may not be right for you. Time management Ask any academic about their lifestyle and they will all say that it not a regular. Dr Andrea Simpson shares the best advice she was ever given: how to deal with the inevitable rejections of academia. showing the importance of establishing your professional network to get on in academia. Papers submitted to journals get rejected. proposals for funding come back full of critical comments. Senior Lecturer. it is an academic's job to read other people's work and find holes in it. 2010) has shown that the most common way that PhDs working in Higher Education found their jobs was using 'professional. and have the confidence to defend your views and resolve issues as you see fit. but rather an all-consuming endeavour that can easily take over one's early mornings.your network. well ahead of other methods. have a thick skin to handle the invariable barrage of criticism of your work. editors insist on rewriting and reworking the material before publication. evenings. as quickly as possible. . and complete urgent. Resilience If you shrink at the mere hint of a criticism of your work. but perhaps less interesting tasks such as marking. Recent research (Vitae "What do researchers do? Doctoral graduate destinations 3 years on". Having to juggle research. 'After all. it is very important to be organised and highly disciplined. this also helps develop your ability to write persuasively in order to win funding. Dr Kathryn Else explains how she balances her work and family life. You must. therefore.' says Dr Angelia Wilson. nine-to-five job. be receptive to constructive criticism. Over a third found their jobs this way. etc. If you want to succeed as an academic (and also have time for family. understand your priorities and ensure you carve out enough time for your own research. friends and personal interests). weekends and holidays. work or educational contacts'.

These leadership roles are easier to tackle if you develop good project management skills early in your career and learn to take the lead at the earliest opportunity. • Offer to supervise undergraduate or masters projects while you are undertaking a PhD or are a member of research or teaching staff.' says Lecturer Dr Simon Brocklehurst. 'Lecturing is a big part of the job regardless of whether you are shy. Everyone can improve their presentation skills with some good training and with practice. you will need to manage your own project and start to develop as a leader in your research field. As you progress in an academic career. you will be responsible for supervising the PhDs of new researchers. making strong eye contact and articulating with a strong voice. Furthermore. most academics are required to lecture and many are assessed on the quality of their teaching and on their own students' feedback. and get . and possibly research groups (depending on your discipline). As a lecturer.Presentation skills Presentation skills are essential both for teaching and for presenting at conferences.a leadership website from Vitae for current and aspiring Principal Investigators Leadership and management From the earliest stages of your academic career. and are likely to have to take on administrative management roles in order to progress. but rather you need to present your work in a confident manner. It is no longer acceptable to mumble through a conference paper. so think about whether you are happy to speak in public. you will be seen as a leader by your undergraduate students. Useful link • Leadership Development for Principal Investigators . • Take up opportunities for project management training while you are completing your PhD.

teaching or demonstrating experience. Manchester. • Seek out opportunities to use your initiative and take the lead. UK MLP. The University of Manchester. Could you initiate a collaboration with another group to improve access to resources? Could you set up a series of seminars from external speakers in your field. Careers & Employability Division is part of the Directorate for the Student Experience The University of Manchester. or (co-)organise a regional or national conference? About this site Glossary Feedback | Disclaimer | Privacy | Copyright notice | Accessibility | Freedom of information | MLP. even if you are working on someone else’s project (for example as a post-doctoral researcher). Royal Charter Number: RC000797 . Seek feedback from your students and improve your leadership style. PO Box 88. Careers & Employability Division. M60 1QD.