Putting Transferable Skills to Work

Putting Transferable Skills to Work

Putting Transferable Skills to Work for you

Writing a PhD or spending some of your time as an academic doesn’t preclude you from other forms of employment for some or all of your career.  When presenting yourself to a non-academic employer, or even at times within the academic sector, you should be thinking less about the content of your research than about the transferable skills which you might have acquired during your time in academia.  Here are a few starting points:

Excellent written communication skills:

  • selection of pertinent material;
  • high-level analytical skills;
  • ability to undertake independent research

Oral communication skills:

  • the ability to speak confidently;
  • pitching your discussion at a level appropriate to your audience

Interpersonal skills:

  • the ability to cooperate and collaborate;
  • team working and collegiality;
  • ability to give and receive feedback

General skills:

  • time management;
  • flexibility;
  • ability to overcome challenges;
  • resilience;
  • curiosity;
  • open-mindedness;
  • willingness to engage in continual learning and professional development;
  • lateral thinking;
  • empathy;
  • project management;
  • organization and administration

Particular specialized skills may be relevant for some posts: in languages; technology; quantitative methods; bibliographical or palaeographical skills.

Having a PhD in ecclesiastical history is therefore highly relevant to a whole range of careers.  However, in some careers further training and study may be necessary.  Below are some links to websites offering guidance on some career paths which graduates in ecclesiastical history often pursue:

Museums, galleries, and the heritage sector:


http://www.ahi.org.uk/www/resources/subcategory/26/ – list of courses in heritage management


Librarianship, archival work, and records management:

http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/jobs-careers/starting-library-and-information-career/how-become-librarian-or-information – links to qualifications for librarianship

http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/jobs-and-careers/starting-library-and-information-career/how-become-librarian-information-or – on starting your career as a librarian


http://www.archives.org.uk/careers/careers-in-archive-conservation.html – remember that some conservation work requires high-level scientific training