It's that question that every grad student dreads: “What are you going to do with your PhD?” While it's true that finding permanent jobs in academia is becoming increasingly difficult, you shouldn't despair. Writing a dissertation is a process that teaches you practical, transferable skills that you can apply in a range of different employment situations – not just academia. As the Guardian reports, it all starts with identifying the skills you have. Here are just a few of the areas in which dissertation writing can help you develop skills that can lead to a career.

Project Management

Writing a dissertation is a long term, large-scale project that takes a high degree of organization, discipline, and planning. It involves conceiving of a project and a method, devising and following a plan and a schedule, and producing a finished product. As a dissertation writer, you're also your own project manager, and the skills you develop can serve you in overseeing projects in a wide range of industries.


The ability to conduct research is a highly valued skill. When you're doing your dissertation research you learn how to find and evaluate information, and to present it in a concise and effective manner. Jobs in communications, in government agencies, in the non-profit sector, and in other industries all require this level of research skill.


Non-profit agencies doing research about how best to serve local communities, political strategists evaluating public opinion data, and tech companies tracking user statistics are all engaged in data analysis. There are a wide range of industries in which the ability to do qualitative or quantitative data analysis is in high demand. If you developed these kinds of skills while doing your dissertation research, you might consider a career that takes advantage of your expertise.


The dissertation process can accustom you to producing large amounts of prose on a regular basis – a skill that could serve you well in writing-related careers in communications, publishing, or editing. You might also consider working as a freelance writer. Organizations like The Thinking Writers offer classes specifically geared to academics who want to write for non-academic audiences – they're well-worth checking out. In addition, many scholars find work as grant writers – if you've had success applying for fellowships and grants, this might be an option to investigate.

Public Speaking and Networking

Whether it's in the classroom or talking about your dissertation research in a conference presentation, it's likely that academia will give you experience with public speaking. You could draw on that experience in pursuing a career as an educator or trainer, or in other jobs that require engagement with the public.

Writing a dissertation requires you to develop a wide range of skills that have wide applications. If you're worried about the academic job market, take a step back and think about the aspects of dissertation writing that you enjoyed the most: this may lead you down a rewarding career path. As Gina Stewart describes in the Chronicle for Higher Education, it can even lead to entrepreneurship.

Writing a dissertation has equipped you with more transferable skills than you may realize: check out this list from Jobs on Toast to give you some ideas and inspiration.

If you want to finish your dissertation quickly and get out into the working world, a dissertation consultant can help you strategize so that you can get your dissertation done. Contact us today to speak to one of our expert PhDs. We also provide dissertation editing, research consultation, statistical analysis and a range of other dissertation services. Our dissertation formatting experts can format your MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Bluebook, or APA-style dissertation.
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