Non-Academic Careers

Target an Industry

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Are you looking to leverage your advanced degree to land a non-academic job? Explore further to translate the skills and knowledge you have gained from your program and pursue a variety of in-demand careers within industry.

Use this page to get familiar with relevant strategies, transferable skills, and additional resources to support your plans.

Utilize Key Tools

Career exploration and planning tools are important and valued resources for graduate students at different points in their career readiness process. Some students need help generating career pathway ideas, and others want to understand what they are skilled at and interested in. Some want to learn about resources for finding out about various jobs, whereas others want to make a plan for career opportunities. We hope you will dive into the resources that will help you most with your career process.


IMAGINE PhD: Social Sciences and Humanities

Did you know that Ph.D. students in the humanities and social sciences go on to fulfilling careers as entrepreneurs, researchers, marketing directors, teachers, diplomats, and more? Start your career exploration journey with ImaginePhD, a free online career exploration and planning tool designed specifically for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Developed by experts from over 50 universities, ImaginePhD offers a unique platform that teaches Ph.D.s about popular job sectors, search strategies, and how to transfer skills across settings. 

Here are steps which you can take with ImaginePhD:

  • Assess your career-related skills, interests, and values.
  • Explore career paths appropriate to your discipline.
  • Create self-defined goals and map out the next steps for your career.



Versatile PhD

Versatile PhD is a large, online community dedicated to non-academic and non-faculty careers for PhDs in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM. As a UCSB graduate student or postdoctoral scholar, you have access to premium content on the website free of charge. This includes discussion forums, job postings, and career profiles written by PhDs hired ​outside of academia.

Here are additional resources available at Versatile PhD:

  • Read first-person narratives, resumes, and other application materials from PhDs who have established non-academic careers along with their advice from experience.
  • Take their six-module, Ph.D.-focused Options for Success Career Exploration Course with Beyond the Tenure Track. 
  • Review SmartJobs, which includes a weekly curation of Ph.D.-appropriate jobs across the Humanities, Social Science, and STEM disciplines and a related research blog highlighting Ph.D. jobs and recent trends by industry, occupation, transferable skills, and other criteria.

Register for Your Versatile PhD Account

You can register for an account by logging onto your UCSB Handshake account to submit a request for a Versatile PhD's premium content account.

  1. If you are a registered student you already have a UCSB Handshake account. Use single sign-on to enter Handshake. Use the register button below. Postdocs and alumni may need to request a Handshake account if you have never had one at UCSB.
  2. Once in Handshake select the Career Center link in the top right. Then go to the box labeled “Resources” and select “Versatile PhD” and follow the instructions.
  3. When you register, use a personal email and you can then log in directly via the Versatile PhD website. Or you can use the log-in button below.

Your registration information is completely confidential and is not shared with the university.

 Register Versatile PhD   Log-in Versatile PhD


MyIDP: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Disciplines

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) concept is commonly used in industry to help employees define and pursue their career goals. MyIDP is a career exploration and planning tool aimed at helping Ph.D. and postdoctoral scholars in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to learn more about industry and non-academia career paths, as well as how to leverage your expertise into a satisfying and productive career. MyIDP helps you explore career possibilities and set goals to follow the career path that fits you best.

Here are some resources that MyIDP provides:

  • Exercises to help you examine your skills, interests and values. 
  • A list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit your skills and interests. 
  • A tool for setting strategic goals for the coming year as well as optional reminders to keep you on track, articles and resources to guide you through the process




ChemIDP is an Individual Development Plan tool designed specifically for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the chemical sciences. Through immersive, self-paced activities, users identify career goals, determine specific skills required for success, and develop plans to achieve their professional goals. ChemIDP helps you track your progress and provides tips and strategies for realizing your goals.

Here are some ways in which you can prepare with ChemIDP:

  • Assess and strengthen professional and technical skills. It will recommend careers to match your highest ranked skills. 
  • Reflect on your values to determine what is important to you, personally and professionally.
  • Rate your technical and professional skills. 
  • Develop and prioritize goals.  
  • Explore and browse career options and a range of career areas.


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