Workshop on career planning for international PhD students

Short interactive workshop to familiarise PhD researchers with basic career planning methods and tools and introduce them into the job search strategies and tools for researchers (in both local and international labour market).

By the end of the workshop participants should:

  • Understand the key steps of career planning process and know the basic tools to support to support it;

  • Be more aware about their skills and capabilities they have and need to develop and how these are linked to different career paths in academia and beyond;

  • Be more aware about the various career paths for researchers;

  • Be more knowledgeable about the local and international labour market for researchers and main job search tools and strategies;

  • Be able to formulate a personal action plan to follow up after the workshop.


Improved skills and knowledge Increased enrollment and retention

Basic information
Categories Profesional & Academic Development
Mobility stages During mobility phase
Delivery schedule Not defined
Importance Nice to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups PhD student/Early career researcher
Types of contracts of researchers Full degree student Employee in training (interns, research fellows, postdocs)
Career stages of researchers Less than 6 months 6-12-months of experience 1-3-years of experience
Lengths of stays of researchers 6-12 months More than 12 months
Practice setup

Organization of career planning skills trainings and preparation for labour market can be done in several ways depending on a size of institution and available capacities. Many institutions have specialist advisers and coaches who are dedicated to support PhDs and academics. If this is your case, then contact them and ask if they could prepare such orientation workshop for international PhD students.

If you don´t have career support aervice for researchers at your institution it is still perfectly feasible to organise such workshop with the help of online resources available and (not inevitably) external speakers. To set up the workshop you can take an inspiration from many existing resources (see examples).

The basic questions you need to consider when planning the workshop include:

  • Format of the training: Online trainings may be more accessible but onsite trainings allow for more interaction and provide better networking opportunities.

  • Extent of the training: If you want to include some time for interaction and reflection, 2 hours is a minimum.

  • Agenda of the trainings: Combine presentations introducing the tools and concepts with interactive exercises encouraging reflection on the topics presented.

  • Choice of external speakers: Think about inviting a researcher from your institution or company in the region to present their career story. 

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Career development centre

Practice delivery

There are many ways how to structure your agenda. Here is the suggestion for the 3 hours long interactive workshop: 

  • Basics of career planning - presentation introducing basic concepts and tools to support career planning of researchers (Explore the tools for career planning at the EURAXESS portal)

  • Resaerchers sills and how to develop them - interactive activity with a selected skills framework* (learn more about the researchers skills)

  • Exploring career paths for researchers -  presentation and career stories of researchers workin within and beyond academia. You can invite a researchers from your institution or a local company to share their career story (explore the possible career paths beyond academia and browse the various career stories).

  • Specifics of local labour market – presntation introducing the specifics and main channels for job search in your country. You can also prepare an overview of the most common career paths for researchers in your country. Explain how the career progression in academia works in your country.

*OUR TIP: Simple group activity for exploring researchers skills:

  • The aim of the activity is to make researchers more aware of the skills they have and skills they need to develop.

  • To facilitate the group work you will need to prepare a set of skills and list of suggested career paths.

    • To prepare the skils set work with one of the available reserch skills frameworks (e. g. VITAE RDF, Discovery Learning Ontology or EURODOC skills list). This will be your skills inventory. For the onsite workshop prepare the paper cards with the skills included in the framework you chose.

    • Prospose set of career paths (e. g.  academic researchers, professor, entreprenuer, science writer etc.) and put them on the slide.

  • Split the workshop participants into small groups (4-6 people).

  • The instruction for the group work will be: "Choose in the group one of the possible career paths for researchers and discuss together what skills are crucial for this career path. Choose 6-10 key skills from the offered skills set. Then choose 1 or 2 skills and discuss how you could develop them." 

  • Give them 20-30 minutes for a group work. Afterwwards, each group should briefly share the outcomes of their work. You can discuss the results together.

  • In case of online setting tools such as Miro, Jamboard or Google slides can be used to facilitate the group work.

  • You can easily modify this excercise and instead of specifi career paths focuso on skills for mobility, creating impact or getting started in research etc.

Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Career development centre
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • EURAXESS centre
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Training plan and programme designed
  • Number of researchers trained annually

Examples of practice

Career development workshop for PhD students and Postdocs 

Career development workshop for PhD students and Postdocs at (also have a look at their online job platform for international students)

Seminar After your PhD - Job Search and Careers for Scientists 

Seminar After your PhD - Job Search and Careers for Scientists at the University in Giessen, Germany

Online workshop: career guidance for international PhD candidates

Online workshop: career guidance for international PhD candidates at  Radboud University, Netherlandss

EURAXESS Webinars on basic career planning skills

Topics of webinars:

  • Planning your research career paths
  • Building Your Own Research Network
  • Well-being of a Young Researcher
  • Intersectoral Mobility and Mentoring Schemes
  • Interacting in an international professional context

Training in career planning for PhD students


Postdoc Career Success programme introduces essential skills and tools that early stage researchers can apply immediately in their daily work.

The program's practical, step-by-step approach is designed to help researchers settle quickly in their roles, build their confidence and develop the abilities they need to tackle the challenges of the postdoc phase. The program motivates researchers to structure their own careers and equips them to maximise their contributions, accelerate their progress and fulfil their potential, wherever their career choices take them.

For more details see Training in career planning for PhD students

Sofia University Mentoring Programme


The benefits of a mentoring relationship are valuable for both - mentees and mentors. You could develop new skills and knowledge, make new contacts and create a professional relationship with someone from another part of the world.

The benefits of a mentoring relationship are valuable for both - mentees and mentors. Developing new skills and knowledge, making new contacts, and creating a professional relationship with someone from another part of the world are only a small number of them.

This Mentoring programme will bring an advantageous experience when they are:

  • considering or already started a mobility project outside your country
  • willing to explore new professional networking opportunities
  • willing to improve your knowledge, skills and career perspectives
  • interested in international research collaboration
  • open to sharing skills, knowledge, and experience
  • looking to widening your understanding of how other research organizations work

You can use directly the mentoring program by advising you to join and providing the link to your international PhDs and staff. Another option could be to request the coordinators to prepare your internal mentoring program by using the same online tool.