As well as the methodological and technical skills specific to a particular scientific field, the doctoral and postdoctoral period offers many opportunities to develop skills that can be transferred outside the academic world and that researchers often overlook.
These are referred to as transferable skills (also sometimes transversal or generic), i.e. skills that are useful in most professions, some of which are necessary for obtaining high-level posts.
The ability to process data, manage a project and plan one’s time, adapt to new situations, propose innovative solutions, make decisions, work in a team, etc. are some examples of transferable skills.
Transferable skills can be acquired :
- firstly, informally, in practice (preparation of thesis work, assistantships, grant applications, laboratory work, student supervision, interactions between peers, etc.) ;
- secondly, formally, in the context of specific programmes (doctoral schools, mentoring programme, etc.).
The importance of informal acquisition should not be underestimated, as an ability to learn by practical experience, self-evaluate, and strengthen your weak points in an independent fashion (etc.), is important and is highly regarded on the job market.
There are several tools allowing you to display your skills to their best advantage, for example the academic portfolio and the skills profile.