Researching Career Options

Although it is tempting to start your career planning here, researching options can be overwhelming if you have not identified your goals. It is hard to find what you are looking for if you don't know what you are looking for!

Once you know what you are looking for, there are 3 main areas to consider when researching your options:

A. What sector do you want to work in?

Broadly speaking, the world of work can be broken down into 4 sectors: 1) Academic, 2) Industry, 3) Non Profit and 4) Government. Each of these sectors has a different mission and as a result their values will be different:

  • Academic (knowledge, freedom, focus/expertise, independence)
  • Industry (influence, ambition, fast pace, team work)
  • Non Profit (positive impact, variety, initiative, team work)
  • Government (planning, balance, security, structure)

B. What field do you want to work in?

Within each of these sectors there are many fields. These fields are frequently multi-disciplinary, and it is important not to limit your options by focusing only on fields that obviously match your area of research. (ie biochemistry cancer research = pharmaceutical). There are probably other fields to which you can apply your interests and expertise (ie biochemistry = cosmetics research)

Once you have identified fields of interest, you will want to research specific organizations within each one. Every organization has a different culture and mission.

Knowing your workplace needs (i.e. security versus advancement) is extremely important at this stage, as it can have a tremendous impact on your career satisfaction. Targeting companies that share your values will help you to be more successful in the long run.

C. What role (job) do you want to have?

Because every organization is structured differently, the set of responsibilities associated with a particular role can vary tremendously.  A "Project Manager" can be defined differently depending on the specific organization or even on the department. Job titles are rarely consistent across companies. Every position should be thought of as unique. As a result, it is often easier to start your career planning by identifying potential employers and then researching what specific role at that organization would be a good fit for you. Typical job functions include:

  • Research & Development : these are the people who create the stuff.
  • Testing & compliance: these are the people who test it and make sure it is legal
  • Professional & Support Services: these are the people who build it and deliver it
  • Communications Sales & Marketing: these are the people who tell people about it
  • Policy: these are the people who think about and plan it
  • Administration: these are the people who run the place

Getting Started

Career Guides

The sites listed below each provide helpful descriptions of the different fields, industries, and types of careers that you may be interested in, along with links to further resources in that area.

Yale Career Network

Yale Career Network Alumni Login

This directory allows current students and postdocs to connect with Yale alumni (both student and postdoc alumni) to find out about career paths and ask for valuable career advice. You will need to log in with your Yale NetId  to access this database.  To access the database after you have left Yale, you will need to complete the Postdoc Exit Survey ( to become a member of the Association of Yale Alumni.

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook link

Compiled by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, this site contains industry and salary information and the projected growth of various jobs.



This site will try to match you to  career options based on your interests and skills. For each suggested career option there are linked resources where you can learn more about that career path. The matching tool doesn’t work for everyone, but the resources can still be very helpful.

Career Profiles

Read about the wide variety of career paths taken by sciences PhDs, and gain insight on how they found their position.

Humanities and Social Sciences

Versatile PhD
This site provides excellent examples of the career paths taken by people with a PhD in a wide variety of disciplines. Premium content available to Yale affiliates. Register with your Yale email. Once you have registered you will receive a link to activate your account, which will take you to the main mage. You will need to login again to access the premium content, which can be found in the “PhD Career Finder” section

Beyond Academe
Written by a History PhD, this site is an excellent source of information on non-academic options, with a focus on arts and humanities



All Fields
Specific fields


LinkedIn Company Directory

There are many ways to use LinkedIn to research career options and companies, this link will take you to a page where you can browse for companies by industry sector. 

Office of Career Strategy

Yale’s Office of Career Strategy has a search tool for finding job sites by industry.

Other Links


Think Tanks, ​Non Profit & Government


Yale Library Databases



Salary Information

Knowing typical salary ranges is essential when negotiating a job offer. Be clear about what else is important to you (flex time, vacation days, health benefits, etc.) The sites below will provide general information on salaries for a wide range of careers.