Develop your career

| Career Café | Designing your life after UNIL | Your Professional Profile: TRIMA | Crossing the Bridge | Making Connections | Academic Career | Applications for non-academic opportunities | Build a coherent professional profile online | Interviews for non-academic opportunities | Negotiation: mindset and tools | Working in Switzerland after the doctorate or postdoc

Career Café

Pathways, decisions, know the basics

A quick introduction to the essentials of your career development, whether on the academic path or beyond it. The discussion will include regular topics on careers, followed by particular themes of interest.


Regular topics:

  • career trajectories taken by PhDs after the thesis and after the postdoc;
  • preparing for the next steps of your career: the practical tools to develop, what to keep in mind, what to expect;
  • resources available to you as a UNIL/CHUV doctoral candidate or postdoc.

Participants will have the option to select additional questions to be covered during the workshop.


The Career Café is designed for all UNIL doctoral candidates and postdocs, no matter their research background or career goals. It is organised monthly, in French or English.


We strongly encourage you to take part in a Career Café before registering for any other Career modules or requesting individual career counselling with the Graduate Campus.


Confirmation of registration for any other Graduate Campus event in the careers module will be dependent on participation in a Career Café or upon presentation of an equivalent activity.


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Designing your life after UNIL

Design thinking to build your next steps

A workshop for anyone who feels a little stuck in how to think about what to do next after the doctorate or postdoc. Or for anyone who's feeling pretty sure of what they'd like to do, but would still like to build on their creativity and curiosity to feel their way forward, without too much commitment.

Over three half-days, we will use design thinking to help participants come up with and prototypes for their professional future. The "Designing Your Life" approach, developed by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans at Stanford University, will give you the tools to make decisions, learn more about your career options, and confidently leverage your network of connections at UNIL, CHUV and beyond to support you as you test out different plans for your future.

Participants will be asked to complete some preliminary reading/viewing ahead of the first day, and transfer work prior to the second and third days.

On the first day, we will review design thinking, its application to career thinking, and the importance of autonomy, mastery and purpose in what we do in our working lives. Over the next two meetings we will then consider how design thinking can be used to help re-think the blockages that hold us back, and to expand our ideas on developing a career with a PhD beyond the obvious options.

This will set the ground for giving and receiving support, for thinking about our personal and professional strengths, the activities that give us energy, and the wild ideas to help us think about what we might do. Participants will complete the workshop with concrete goals to test out for themselves.

We will use individual and group activities inspired by the design thinking process. Be ready to share, to support, and to think creatively!

Trainer: Verity Elston

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Your Professional Profile: TRIMA

Identify your strengths, motivations and goals for development

This workshop is designed to help researchers identify and develop their professional profile based on their experience in the academic environment and elsewhere. Through the use of the TRIMA psychometric questionnaire, we will:

  • Identify your goals, motivations, and behaviour patterns in a professional context
  • Help you to make choices for your next professional steps, by improving your self-understanding and self-confidence
  • Highlight the skills you have developed in the academic context and elsewhere, both in your professional profile and during the recruitment process
  • Identify opportunities to develop and strengthen your skills

The TRIMA analysis is highly recommended as a preparation for any career development activity or training that involves presenting your professional self: interviews, online profiles, application materials.




The reflection process is based on the results of a psychometric questionnaire (TRIMA), which describes participants' social styles (who am I? what are my preferences, my goals?) and skills (what am I capable of, what is my behaviour when conducting my professional duties? What transversal skills have I developed so far?).


The individual analysis and reflection is accompanied by exchange, reflection and exercises in pairs and in small groups.




At the completion of the workshop, you will:

  • Have identified your goals and preferences, and will have a base with which to reflect on future employment and career development opportunities
  • Have developed your profile of transversal skills and will be able to give value to them in both your application material as well as during a recruitment interview
  • Be able to provide evidence of your skills through concrete examples
  • Have identified what might be holding you back, as well as the opportunities for development

The workshop has a strong emphasis on peer exchange, through pairs or small groups. This means that while their individual reports will remain confidential, each participant needs to be open to sharing and exchanging on the basis of the results from the TRIMA questionnaire.


The analysis and reflection are based on self-evaluation and are put to the test through concrete examples taken from academic and non-academic contexts.


Requirements and language


Each participant will be required to complete the TRIMA psychometric questionnaire in advance of the workshop (details will be provided after registration), and to have documented their specific skills (disciplinary knowledge, technical skills, etc.).


Participants will need to have a good command of English, both written and oral. The questionnaire may be completed and results received in English or in French. The workshop will be conducted in English, and will be based on the English version of the participant's TRIMA results.


Les doctorant·e·s francophones trouveront un atelier similaire au Programme transversal de la CUSO.


Trainer: Verity Elston

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Crossing the Bridge

Understand your strengths and motivations, prepare your portfolio

This workshop provides the participants with the knowledge of how to approach their individual career development. It is aimed at UNIL doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers, no matter what their career goals (academic or beyond the university), to help them consider their options, talk about their strengths and motivations, and make the transition as they move out of the PhD or postdoctoral phase.

This approach entails a careful reflection by each participant of their experience and interests in order to identify the direction they would like to take. In combination with the UNIL skills inventory for doctorate holders, participants will review all aspects of their experience in order to build their individual portfolio and make concrete plans for their professional development.

Most importantly, participants go through this process of understanding who they are before they begin to ask how they will get to where they want to be.

The workshop is aimed at providing participants with the tools to help them manage their own careers, not just in the transition out of PhD or postdoc: the approach will return as they move through their professional path.

Language: the workshop presentations will be provided in English. Participants will have the option of preparing their work in French or English.

By the end of this workshop a participant will:

  • Understand and be able to use the “portfolio” approach to career development: identifying their skills, knowledge, motivations and interests.
  • Build their long-term autonomy in making decisions relative to career development: making proactive, conscious choices in personal goals and professional development.
  • Using an imaginative, first reflection process to complete exercises towards the creation of their professional portfolio.
  • Be ready to use the portfolio approach for this and future transitional moments in their career, including the choices taken towards their professional development (experience and training to seek out).

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Making Connections

The hows and whys of networking

Networking is commonly acknowledged to be a vital part of professional development and essential for a career in academic research or beyond the university. But it can be a challenge for many.

How can we best make a connection with others, in person and online? What impact can it have for our careers, whether in research or elsewhere? How to maintain authenticity while we move outside of our personal comfort zones?
In this highly interactive, practical workshop, we will explore the benefits and techniques of networking for professional development. We will examine the skills involved in engaging with others in different environments such as the academic conference, the informational interview outside academia, or on professional networks.

Participants will work on their verbal and written self-presentations, finding the right words and tone for different circumstances.

You should have attended a Career Café in advance of this workshop, or already received career development advice in another format.

Trainer: Verity Elston

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Academic Career

Demands, expectations, preparation

This workshop reviews the demands and expectations linked to pursuing an academic career. It presents the foundational elements of self-presentation that apply to hiring processes on the academic track, from applications to interview.

Based on discussion and intensive practical work, the first day's programme will include a review of the career path towards professorship, recruitment processes and criteria for the CV. This will enable them to create (or revise) their academic CV for review and development during the second day.

Our discussion will cover the goals of a postdoctoral phase and what a hiring committee is looking for when filling a professorship position. Participants are encouraged to reflect about their personal profile and situation within the perspective of an academic career.

After attending the Academic Workshop, participants are encouraged to consider other workshops in the Spice Up Your Research / Epicer sa recherche module.

Preparatory Work

Participants will be required to read preliminary articles on the academic recruiting process in advance of the workshop. Details will be provided prior to the start date.

Practical Work and Follow-Up

Participants will use their reading and the discussions on the first day as a basis with which to revise/prepare their academic CV, and share their work for review in small groups on the second day. As a participant in this workshop, you should be able to commit to both sessions of the workshop, and to engage in discussion with your peers. 

In order to develop their knowledge of the specificities in the hiring processes of their particular scientific discipline, participants will be strongly encouraged to follow on from the workshop by engaging in a discussion with their supervisor or a senior member of their scientific community. We will develop potential questions together to prepare for this conversation.

Language: the language of the workshop is primarily English. Participants will have the opportunity to work in English or French, according to their preference.

Trainers: Martine Schaer and Verity Elston (Graduate Campus), Carine Carvalho (Equality Office), Marine Antille (Center for Teaching and Learning)

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Applications for non-academic opportunities

Build your CV and cover letter

This workshop will focus on the essentials for any application for employment in a non-academic context: putting together the practical tools of CV and cover letter.

In addition to addressing the different elements to include in application material, we will explore:

  • The job ad as problem statement: the analysis and deeper understanding of the opportunity in order to create an adapted, contextual application.
  • Identifying keywords and presenting the corresponding knowledge and skills that you bring.
  • Presenting your professional profile in the CV and cover letter: bringing your experience, the ability, and your motivation.


This workshop is split into two meetings. This format will give participants the opportunity to create and have feedback on their own CV and cover letter aimed at a potential position.

On our first day, we will review the job ad, cover letter and CV. This will allow participants to put together their own mock application in the following days. On the second day, we will work in small groups to feedback on each other's application material.

Resources will be provided to assist participants in finding job ads relevant to them for this assignment. If you have a job ad (past or present) you would like to work with, you are free to use it. Opportunities should be for posts beyond the academic track.

This workshop is organised in priority for postdoc researchers.

Doctoral candidates will find a similar offer with the CUSO Transversal Programme. If you request registration for this workshop you will be placed on a waiting list. If a place is available in the weeks prior to the first meeting, we will contact you to confirm your participation .

Trainer: Verity Elston

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Build a coherent professional profile online

Your online business card

A coherent online profile on your professional networking site is the modern business card: it helps people identify who you are and what you are doing.

Curating a coherent profile online requires more than completing basic information and uploading a photo. Active profile management can expand your professional reach, help build a network, locate career opportunities and track research.

Through discussion and practical exercises, we will focus on upgrading your online profile to reflect your professional identity, learn how to customize features in common networking sites, use key words and explore tips to connect with people and groups you want to share with.


This workshop will be held in two parts: at our first meeting, we will discuss what makes a coherent professional online profile: what's the information you need to present, and how do you present it? This will provide participants with the framework with which to review and develop their online profiles before the second session. In the second session, we will work in small groups to feedback on each other's profiles and to build on what we learn.


Prior to attending this workshop, you are strongly encouraged to have completed your individual evaluation of your skills, interests and career goals. You can do this either through an online tool (myidp/mydocpro/ImaginePhD) or with one or more of the professional profiling workshops (Designing your life, or TRIMA). Further information on these resources is provided at the Career Café.

Participants must have an active profile on at least one professional networking site such as Linked-in, Viadeo or Xing. They should also have completed their reflection on the knowledge, skills and interests they want to highlight in their professional profile.

This workshop is part of a series that follow on from the Career Café. If you have not yet attended a Career Café with the Graduate Campus, you will be asked on registration to explain when and how you have already received career-related counselling or training, whether in a group or individually.

Target audience

Registration for this workshop is priority for postdoc researchers.

Doctoral candidates will find a similar offer through the CUSO Transversal Programme. If you request registration for this workshop you will be placed on a waiting list. If a place is available in the weeks prior to the first meeting, we will contact you to confirm your participation.

Trainer Maura Hannon

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Interviews for non-academic opportunities

The form and practice of interviewing beyond the university

This workshop is intended in priority for postdoctoral researchers who want to continue their career in the international and/or private sector (for instance multinationals, NGO's…). It will provide participants with information on:

  • The different types of interviews (such as: Telephone, Video, One-to-one, Panel, Group…) and the stakeholders involved (such as HR, managers, headhunters…)
  • The pre-interview work, such as research needed, review CV vs the job description…
  • How to behave during the interview process:
    • Promoting their transversal/soft skills, not just their technical skill or scientific expertise
    • Answering the most common questions during an interview process, such as: 'why do you want to leave academia', 'why did you apply for this position', 'what are your weak points', 'walk me quickly through your CV'

The training will help the candidates to practice job interviews, benefiting from peers' and trainer's feedback.

Workshop content

The first part of workshop will be conducted with a mixture of presentations and simulation (i.e. one student plays the role of an interviewer and the trainer of a candidate, in order to enhance the learning).

In the second part the participants will have a personal interview with the trainer.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop, participants will have learnt how to prepare for a job interview for roles on paths other than the academic/tenure.

In addition, they will be prepared on how to:

  • Understand variety of possible interview formats and get prepared for those.
  • Understand the different perspectives of those involved in the interview process.
  • Know how to respond to questions concerning their transferable (soft) skills, highlighting both their approach to a problem as well as the outcome.
  • Know how to conduct themselves professionally during the interview process.
  • Answer the most common questions during the first steps of a job interview.

Trainer: Luca Allaria

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Negotiation: mindset and tools

Achieve your goals in the negotiation process

Career transitions are full of challenges, and to be successful, require specific sets of skills.

Negotiation skills play an important role in any career transition effort. Whether you wish to stay in academic research or whether you are aiming for a career beyond academia (industry, freelance, NGOs…) negotiation skills will help you achieve your goals.

This 2-day, highly interactive and practical workshop will take you through the various negotiation steps, each with its specific mind-set. The negotiation process is broken down into manageable units, each being a separate technical module with its own tools and techniques.

This workshop will focus on the importance of preparation, which in turn leads to a higher level of confidence, as well as the importance of being skilled at communication (listening and questioning) techniques. The tools are practical and can be used both in personal and professional situations, although throughout the workshop a special emphasis on career negotiations will be made.

At the end of the seminar, the participants will:

  • Recognize the characteristics and consequences of various styles of interactions;
  • Understand how to build relationships based on interest and opportunity;
  • Get an overview and analysis of the entire negotiation process;
  • Acquire the objectivity and competence necessary to prepare and lead negotiations;
  • Know how to prepare in an efficient and detailed way: what they want, how to quantify their aim, how to break it down into negotiable units;
  • Master tools directly usable in daily life, whether they are called on to negotiate or not;
  • Learn how to use effective questioning techniques, how to listen actively and verbal / non-verbal communication;
  • Increase their negotiation capacities (hands-on practise) in a 'risk-free' environment;
  • Work on specific case studies linked with career transitions

Registration for this workshop is priority for postdoc researchers.

Doctoral candidates will find a similar offer through the CUSO Transversal Programme. If you request registration for this workshop you will be placed on a waiting list. If a place is available in the weeks prior to the first meeting, we will contact you to confirm your participation .

Trainer: Melissa Davies

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Working in Switzerland after the doctorate or postdoc

The situation for third country nationals (non-EU/EFTA)

This seminar is intended for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers from non-EU/EFTA countries (“third country”) who would like to know more about staying and working in Switzerland at the end of their contract at the University of Lausanne.


In the first part of this two-hour seminar, Fiorella Deshogues, a lawyer specialized in migration, labor and social insurance law, will introduce the different legal aspects that shape the particular context of doctoral and post-doctoral academics from third countries: the laws that apply, the cases in which stay and access to the Swiss labor market may be granted, as well as the relevant types of residence permits. Ms Deshogues will also address the question of rights to unemployment assistance.


The second hour will be devoted to questions and answers. Participants will be free to ask general or specific questions about the information given during the presentation. They will also have the opportunity to send case-specific questions before the event. While these questions will be selected and answered as far as possible in the time available, participants should understand that it will not be feasible to address in detail the specifics of each case.


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