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Building a Career: Career Swifters

Outside Academia

Are you looking for your future job or wanting to strengthen your position in the Dutch labor market? The PhD Career Swifters program is set up to provide PhD candidates no-nonsense practical support in their professional orientation. The Career Swifters course is to prepare you for the working field in which you can flourish. In four sessions, you will discover your personal purpose and development points, get insight into different companies and roles, and get hands-on experience on how to take action to get the job you want.


New dates will be announced in September!

Course description

Why the Career Swifters program?

A large percentage of PhD candidates leaves the university directly after their promotion. Finding a job outside of academia can then be a great challenge. If you want to excel in a professional field, it is essential to be aware of the opportunities that present themselves in the labor market. For example, which positions fit the profile of PhDs - in particular those in Humanities - outside of the traditional ‘consultant’ or ‘researcher’ position, what your actual compatible skills are and how to translate these into business oriented value and language.

Especially for PhD candidates it is sometimes difficult to think of where your added value lies, what your options are in the work field, and what you truly want: what makes you thrive. This is where the Careers Swifters program comes in.

Career Swifters

Career Swifters is a unique step-by-step career program for PhD candidates who are either looking for their next job or wanting to strengthen their position in the labor market. In different workshops you will focus on aspects that are vital for finding a job and getting to know the world outside of academia in a way that fits your purpose and ambitions. The program is action focused: we do not only talk about what is needed, but we will apply our lessons learned as we go!

The program is hosted by THRIVE Institute and designed in strong collaboration with PhD researchers and alumni who currently work outside academia, thereby acknowledging PhDs' specific challenges and opportunities. The program distinguishes itself from other career programs by being specifically focused on the needs of PhDs by being a long-term rather than ad-hoc process and result orientated, by offering hands-on coaching focused on concrete action steps for your unique profile, situation and ambition.

  • Program

    The program is spread over a period of three months with four learning & work sessions in a group of maximum 10 participants. In between the sessions, we ask you to do homework to optimize your learning experience and put learnt lessons into practice. The workshops cover as follows:

    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/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 this session, you will gain insight into your qualities and pitfalls for your preferred jobs. We are identifying your personal (academic) qualities and pitfalls through a skills passport. After that, we are translating your classical qualities to meaningful business language/qualities. This provides tools for language that can be used in cv's, motivation letters, and job interviews. We will also identify which types of experience you are still missing and how to gain these specific skills alongside your PhD and/or job search.

    Workshop 4: Action

    We will customize this session to the needs of the participants and focus on preparing you for action. Often, PhD candidates are hesitant to give a call to an organization or send out an email. Therefore, we help you with finalizing emails, cv's, motivation letters, and other relevant products, and give you the push you need to go out in the world. In addition, we are formulating your roadmap to success.

    Program goals

    • Find your professional/personal purpose.
    • Link your purpose and qualities to fitting jobs.
    • Discover the different types of researchers outside of academia.
    • Understand the working field and what kind of organizations are out there.
    • Gain insight in your personal qualities and pitfalls.
    • Create a skills passport.
    • Formulate an individual roadmap to getting to your desired position.
  • Application

    Who can join?

    The PhD Career Swifters program is for PhDs from the Faculty of Humanities, that are in the 3rd or 4th year of their promotional trajectory. PhDs that are admitted to the course are:

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


    • You have to be present for at least three out of four workshops
    • Workload of 5-7 hours per month

    To apply, please register through the registration form on this webpage. You will then also be asked to send your CV and a short motivation to the program manager of the THRIVE Institute.

    You will be contacted by the THRIVE program manager who will schedule a call to get to know you better. We follow a first-come-first-serve principle, and have a maximum of 10 participants. If you are eligible for the program, we will get back to you within a few days to let you know if you have been accepted. When the class is full, we unfortunately will need to close applications, but please sign up on the waiting list. If a place opens up we will inform you.

  • What is THRIVE?

    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.

    THRIVE PhD Academy

    Within the THRIVE PhD Academy, more than 200 PhD researchers and postdocs have been trained to apply their knowledge and skills to help solve societal challenges. The Academy aims to prepare young scientists for impactful careers, whether they remain in the Academy or not. The Academy offers a variety of programs that focus on the strengths and weaknesses of PhD candidates. Within the programs, participants often develop missing skills and mindsets, such as entrepreneurship, project management (with real deadlines), collaboration and stakeholder management. We combine these with the PhD 'superpowers' in analytical thinking and the rapid absorption of complex information. The THRIVE PhD Academy was founded for and by PhD candidates and is continuously optimized with feedback from alumni from business, government and science.