Peers for PhDs: Tips to gain confidence and overcome imposter syndrome

An informal discussion led by Priyanka Sakhavalkar and Mohamed Hammad.

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Thurs, 27 February 2020
17:30 – 19:30 GMT

Taylor Room, Sydney Jones Library

Please register here!

‘Imposter syndrome’ is a feeling of inadequacy that persists despite evident success. If not recognised, it can cause further anxiety and stress. ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is frequently reported by PhD students. Are there times when you think you don’t belong to the academic environment? Or that most of your colleagues are better than you are? Do you ever think that only luck has brought you where you are, rather than your work, commitment and personal success?

If you feel any of these, or other similar issues, you are in the majority of PGRs. This session, led by the Peers for PhDs team, aims to encourage PGRs to open up and speak about the ‘Imposter Syndrome’. The goal is to seek mechanisms that can help us recognise the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ and to build our confidence.

Peers for PhDs is open to all PhD students at Liverpool. Contact the Peers for PhDs team to the join mailing list or come along to a session to find out more.

**Peers for PhDs is a student-led project aiming to improve PGR wellbeing at the university. We’re a welcoming and supportive group that hosts monthly meetings and regular social events with the support from Liverpool Doctoral College (LDC)**

The LDC Development programme offers two workshops with advice to help researchers overcome ‘Imposter Syndrome’ as they prepare for their ongoing career, within or outside research:

27 Feb  09:15 – 12:30  Pushing beyond imposter syndrome       (Fully
booked)
2 July 09:15 – 12:30  Pushing beyond imposter syndrome     Booking   
opens soon

Further Peers for PHDs events this year:

26th March Thursday  Supervisory & Other Working Relationships in the PhD
30th April  Thursday  Wellbeing, mental health and sleep hygiene
28th May  Thursday  Networking, communication and negotiation 
25th June  Thursday  Stress relief with mindfulness

Chasing down the opportunities – thinking about career possibilities!

Do you ever think about a future career? How do you imagine it? What can you do now to help move towards your dream career? 

Straight after submitting your thesis and surviving the Viva, career prospect becomes the next big issue. What can you do to mitigate the stress of the transition period? There are ways that you can prepare throughout your PhD (and without neglecting the PhD itself).

The preparation in the early phase of your career planning may focus more on exploring the opportunities. This phase will help you obtain the information to inform your early career decisions in a more relaxed, less stressful, timescale.

So, what can you do? Here are some suggestions:

  • Engage in a range of activities to build your CV and acquire relevant skills. Check the Research Development Framework to get an idea of what you might demonstrate in your CV. Review that skills that you have developed and your current strengths.
  • Talk with your peers and see how they envisage their career options. You might seek out external contacts through your research or at external conferences. Consider also talking to junior members of staff within your department to ask them about their transition period to becoming a Lecturer or research staff 
  • Make a casual exploration of the job market to see what is currently available. When you find jobs of interest, check the requirements to see what you need to do to gain a similar position. 
  • Get additional advice on good practice in the preparation and application process. You can get that, and other useful insights in LDC Development career workshops. Don’t hesitate, join us! Get yourself ready for the job you want!

The What Next?’ Video offers one way to start your career exploration and preparation. This video includes expert interviews and case studies that illustrate your options after the PhD, covering routes both inside and outside academia.

LDC Development Careers  programme

If you are approaching the end of the degree and need practical guidance to start the applications process, join us for the: PGR’ Career Ready’ Bootcamp  5 Mar  09:15 – 16:00   

This full day Bootcamp will help you make well informed and considered choices about the next steps. Last year’s participants found the workshop very useful:

‘Great session for thinking about career goals and for putting in place a plan of action for career planning/preparation.’

‘An engaging workshop to get you thinking about your career options. Very thorough and really helpful!’

 Further related workshops and webinars will be of interest to researches at any stage of the PhD. The dates coming up include

19 Mar  09:15 – 12:30 The career wise researcher
19 Mar  13:30 – 14:30 Webinar: Developing your interview skills
26 Mar  09:15 – 12:30 Effective career networking
2 Apr  09:15 – 12:30 Shining at interview
2 Apr  13:30 – 14:30 Webinar: Developing effective CVs and applications

Making the most of Academic conferences

What do conferences offer to new researchers?

  • A chance to learn of the new exciting research in your area?
  • Opportunity to meet the big names’ in your research area?
  • Chance to network with peers undertaking similar research to your own?
  • A chance to make contacts to promote your future career interests?
  • Chance to present your work to a wider audience of subject specialists?

First-time participants might feel uncomfortable joining an academic conference, with rooms full of confident academics who all seem to know each other. However, it is crucial to keep two things in mind. Firstly, all academics were once first-time participants, and they know what it will feel like for a new postgraduate researcher. Secondly, proper preparation can help you gain confidence to benefit more from the experience.

Some ways that you can prepare for conference attendance:

  1. If you are presenting a poster or paper, these will need preparation. You might ask, what can you do to help your contribution stand out? Who are the likely audience and their research areas? What they will be interested in and what questions they might ask?
  2. As an attendee you can review the  research of key speakers, maybe undertaking background reading to help you gain most from their talks and possibly ask questions. Before or nearer the time you might view attendance lists to see if there are attendees who you wish to contact.
  3. You can prepare a ‘pitch’ to support your networking, to be ready to summarise your research in a brief but convincing manner, and with enthusiasm, when you meet researchers from other institutions.

LDC Development programme opportunities

The LDC Development Team offers support for those soon to attend their first  Conference. If you find it hard to structure a presentation well, or if you have difficulties engaging in conversation with established academics, you might begin with our online resources helpful. For example, ‘The ‘Good Networking Video, for example, deals with issues related to networking and includes thoughts and experiences from PGRs and established academics. (University of Liverpool password required). Further online resources support your preparation for poster and talks:

The LDC Development Team also offers a series of Webinars and workshops in these areas. Join us to learn ways to fully engage in the Conference experience and gain practical tips that can help you prepare well for your presentations or networking.

Webinar: Preparing a Conference Poster  10 Feb       12:30 – 13:30
– An interactive session  reviewing what makes a good conference poster?

Webinar: Preparing an ‘Elevator pitch’   17 Feb          12:30 – 13:30
– An outline of the essentials to create a good elevator pitch for your networking.

Webinar: Making the Most of Academic Conferences   19 Feb         12:30 – 13:30
 – A view of conference attendance from the PhD perspective and delivered by two current PGRs .

 Pushing beyond imposter syndrome     27 Feb          09:15 – 12:30
– A workshop to help you understand your fears and develop techniques to overcome them.

Effective Networking at Conferences   3 Mar             13:00 – 16:00
  – A practical session focussing on conference networking and now to approach this, including practice to help you develop the important networking pitch!

Sessions focussing on Presentations skills

Further sessions will help you improve your presentation skills, prepare and even practice in advance of  a key presentation:

11 Feb  09:30 – 12:30   Planning and Preparing an Effective Research
Presentation
18 Feb   09:30 – 12:30   Delivering Academic Presentations
– repeated on the 17 March, and  28 April.
24 Feb   09:30 – 12:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations
1 – defining your message
2 Mar  09:30 – 12:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations
2 – delivery