Career Swifters for PhDs

Career programme for PhD candidates
Medewerkers op de campus lopen buiten.

PLEASE NOTE: This training is fully booked, you will be put on the waiting list

Are you a PhD candidate looking for your future job or wanting to strengthen your position in the Dutch labor market? The PhD Career Swifters programme is specifically designed to offer PhD candidates practical support in their job search.

Erasmus University, in collaboration with THRIVE Institute, offers a programme consisting of five interactive workshops that prepare you for a work environment where you can thrive. During the programme, you will discover your purpose and areas of development, gain insight into different companies and roles, build a strong track record, and get hands-on experience on how to pursue the job you want. The programme is action-focused: we not only discuss what you need to do, but we also apply our lessons as we go.

Are you interested? Apply by using the enrollment form. After enrollment you will receive information about the application procedure. Application is possible until September 1st 2023.

Programme goals

  • Identify your professional and personal purpose.
  • Connect your purpose and qualities to suitable jobs.
  • Explore different types of researchers outside of academia.
  • Understand the working field and the various types of organisations.
  • Gain insight into your personal qualities and weaknesses.
  • Create a skills passport.
  • Develop an individual roadmap to reach your desired position.

Practical information

Dates and times:
  • Kick-off: Thursday 5 October 2023, 12:00-13:30
  • First session: Friday 13 October 2023, 9:00-12:00
  • Second session: Friday 3 November 2023, 9:00-12:00
  • Third session: Friday 24 November 2023, 9:00-12:00
  • Fourth session: Friday 15 December 2023, 9:00-12:00
  • Fifth session: Friday 19 January 2024, 9:00-12:00
  • Kick-out: Friday 9 February 2024, 16:00-17:30
Duration:5 sessions of 3 hours and 2 sessions of 1/1,5 hour
Location:Erasmus University Rotterdam

€ 200 per participant

PhD students with an employment contract can use their Personal Career Budget (PCB) for this training. 

Target group

2nd, 3rd and 4th year PhD candidates. The programme is open to all PhD candidates associated with the EUR, including those without an employment contract. 

Are you a first-year PhD candidate and interested in this program? Please contact us to discuss the possibilities

Maximum number of participants16
Other:You will receive a certificate after a participation of at least 80%.

Who can join?

The PhD Career Swifters programme is available to all PhDs at the EUR who are in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year of their promotional trajectory. PhDs committing to the programme are:

  • Motivated to strengthen their position in the labour market; AND/OR
  • Starting to look for a job outside of academia; AND/OR
  • Hesitating whether they want a job inside or outside of academia.


  • You will be required to make a personal contribution of € 200. All other expenses will be covered by the EUR.
  • You have to be present during all workshops
  • A workload of 5-7 hours per month (this includes the sessions)

Application procedure

  1. Apply by using the enrollment form via the apply now! button.Application is possible until September 1st 2023.
  2. Next step is to send your CV and (short) motivation letter expressing your interest in joining the programme to* 
  3. If you are eligible for the programme, a programme manager from THRIVE will get back to you within a few days to inform you if you have been accepted, and to schedule a call of approximately 15 minutes. We follow a first-come-first-serve principle, and have a maximum of 16 participants. In case you have any burning questions or things you would like to discuss, now is the time before we kick off the programme. We want to ensure that the programme meets your needs and objectives, so please feel free to share any specific topics or areas of focus you would like us to address.
  4. If no particularities occur during the call, you will receive a final confirmation of registration e-mail.

*We use your CV and motivation letter to get a better idea of the different profiles, on which we will tailor our programme session.In addition, the motivation letter gives us the opportunity to assess whether you are eligible for the programme.

You are eligible when:

  • You are motivated to strengthen your position in the labor market; AND/OR
  • You want to look for a job outside of academia; AND/OR
  • Are hesitating whether you want a job inside or outside of academia.
  • You can be physically present during all the dates for the programme sessions.

During five learning/work sessions with a class of a maximum of sixteen participants, we will introduce you to five key themes. Between the sessions, we ask you to put the lessons learned into practice to optimize your learning experience and create your opportunities as you go.


During the kick-off, you will get to know the programme, the trainer and the other participants over lunch. 

Workshop 1: How do you find your purpose? 

This first session revolves around a dive into practice and finding your own purpose. Which directions can you take? Insight is given into the different types of researchers outside of science. Sometimes PhDs and postdocs continue as a researcher, but other times they don’t! We will discover what makes your heart beat faster. What motivates you, and which social themes are essential to you?

Workshop 2: What is your dream job?

In this session we will find an answer to the question: what is your dream job? We start by explaining different types of companies and organizations. Corporates, startups, non-profits and the government. Big, small, medium. We give an overview of the conventional and unconventional jobs to find out what suits you. We also look for vacancies that fit your personal purpose and jobs to start fulfilling your purpose. 

Workshop 3: Skills Identification

In the third workshop, you will gain insight into your personal and academic qualities for your dream job through a skills passport. After identifying your skills, we will help you translate them into a business language fit for your CV, motivation letter, and future job interviews. We will also help you bridge your skills gap by helping you identify the experiences you are missing.

Workshop 4: Extracurriculars: how and why

During this workshop, we will continue to work on your skills passport, now zooming in on the skill gaps. Which ways are there to feasibly gain some extra skills next to your PhD? And how should you do this in the limited time that you have while having fun? We will provide you with concrete insights about different  programs, projects and other extracurriculars and explain how they will contribute to finding your job. Additionally, we will help you integrate these extracurriculars alongside your PhD and/or job search, and make a personalized roadmap with you.

Workshop 5: Action

This session is tailored to the needs of you and your fellow participants to prepare you for action. PhD candidates often tend to be hesitant to make a call to an organization or send out an email. Therefore, this session will focus on finalizing the tools you need to go after that dream job and we will also formulate your roadmap to success. We will finalize the emails, CVs, motivation letters, and other relevant information to give you the push you need to go out in the world.


The programme will conclude over drinks with an inspiring speaker. 

The training will be provided by a trainer from the Thrive institute.

THRIVE Institute is the knowledge institute for the purpose economy: an economy in which not only economic growth, but the wellbeing of people, animals and the environment is the aim. Driven by the belief that knowledge is the key ingredient for innovation with impact, we offer learning and innovation programs for researchers that revolve around learning in practice with relevant stakeholders.

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