Features of the Versatile PhD site

The Versatile PhD is a membership-based online community for PhDs and ABDs who are considering careers outside of the traditional tenure-track path.  The Graduate Center subscribes to the service, so it’s free for current GC students who simply log on through the GC site and use a GC email to register.

Once you’ve created your account (it takes just a few seconds), you can learn about potential careers, apply for jobs, and connect with peers and potential colleagues both online and in person.  Here’s how to get started.


PhD Career Finder: Learn about potential careers in your field of study

This section has information about a number of careers (perhaps even some that you hadn’t yet considered!) that are grouped together under two general categories: Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM).  Within the main drop-down menus, you’ll find detailed descriptions, plus information on the types of personality traits that tend to be well-suited for a given type of work and on how to prepare for and advance within a field.  As a GC student you’re also a premium member, and so you can view the career autobiographies and job documents (such as resumes, cover letters, and job descriptions) uploaded by your peers.



This section is a place for members to share career opportunities with each other (recent examples include postings for an Assistant Director of Graduate Student Preparation at the University of Chicago and a consultant specializing in Health Care Research and Insights in Washington, D.C.).  Many jobs are posted by members who also work for that employer themselves, so taking a look at the poster’s profile may help you get a sense of the qualifications of your potential colleagues.



The forum allows users to create threads about career-related issues and become involved in ongoing discussions.  Users can search for specific topics of interest, or browse using one of the common search tags listed near the top of the screen.  Members can also subscribe to email updates about particular topics (note that if you’re concerned about being bombarded with emails, you can subscribe to a weekly digests instead).

In addition to open member discussions, site moderators also regularly initiate panel discussions about trends and up-to-the-moment issues (the most recent panel listed in HSS, for example, is on Careers in E-Learning and Instructional Design).  To initiate a new panel discussion yourself, you can begin a topic thread in the Forum section using the title “Panel:”  Since ongoing panel discussions are not stored in Panel Discussion Archive but are scattered in the free discussion pool, you need to use the “Panel:” title rule to help you find all new discussions pertaining to the central topic.



If you’d prefer to chat with your peers in person, you can join a meetup group organized by volunteers.  The New York group information is below:

NYC Versatile PhD
Contact: Melissa Epstein
LinkedIn Group: NYC Versatile PhD
Meetup Group: http://www.meetup.com/NYC-VersatilePhD/
We regularly meet on the 4th Sunday of the month.

If you live in a city that doesn’t have a formal group listed in the meetup section, you might also be able to find information within the Forum section by searching for meetups + your city.

–Jiaqi Wang