Career support for PhD candidates

Career Thursdays

Career Thursdays 2020

Discover who you are, where you would like to work and stand out from the crowd! Dynamic workshop sessions to strategize your next career move. Join Career Thursdays!
We are offering Career Thursdays workshops with Rob every other Thursday in the month, starting September 2019, and for the duration of 4 Hours.

Why Career Thursdays?

As more and more PhDs move into industry and/or will eventually work with industry it is critical to discover and develop skills and expertise that is attractive to hiring managers but at the same time consider whether they're driven by the singular pursuit of their own ideas. This is our starting point, creating an individual focus on how to get into the mix, right now.

What Career Thursday workshops focus on?

What we try to cultivate in each workshop session is an understanding of 'company life' and talk about your personal strengths and talents, and more importantly how these fit into a workplace culture, a company's history moving forward, their mission and vision in relation to business-development plans and how you fit into the marketplace,. The workshops will foster learning about company cultures, products and competition and how you, as an expert in your fields, will be able to contribute and benefit.

Firms looking to hire PhDs are especially frustrated by the candidates’ lack of self-awareness and specific personal ambitions with regards to the company in its scientific and future business context. The most important workshop outcome is understanding how you, as PhD candidates fit into prospective employer’s portfolio with their desirable skills without forgetting about any of your own needs. 

How does Career Thursdays change the way PhD candidates think about the market?

In the workshop sessions we aim for a 'transition into industry thinking' by converting academic thoughts and ideas into a personal approach that is specifically appropriate for industry. You will actively prepare for an interview process that might be a bit different than what is expected in academia where everyone will in the end have a clear individualized and personalized strategy to move forward in their career. 

Is Career Thursdays a very personal approach?

Yes - we're focusing on how the individual PhDs standout from the crowd, figuring out who they are, thinking about what they truly want to do and what they're especially good at, even changing their views on their personal skills and talents, backing it up with (whether hard or soft) real-world examples from their life, in subsequently telling the hiring manager why they should hire them, rather than someone else.

The first workshop, “SKILL DEVELOPMENT” .
-    Drive and Motivation: which roles do you (subconsciously!) allocate yourself to? (practical and immediate confronting exercise) (45 minutes)
-    Building blocks of success: which fundamental principles and values will help you become successful in the Dutch labor market? (45 minutes theory)
-    Pisa’s Tower: a biblical portrait of leadership: focusing on (soft) skills needed to perform (Communication, Planning & Organization, Problem Solving, Teamwork) successfully: both theoretical and practical exercise and interactive evaluation on both team- and individual performances. (lots of fun!)

The second workshop “TALENT MANAGEMENT” uses the ‘Business Canvas Model’ as a tool to visualize how each individual skill can be used and communicated as a talent and how these talents can be utilized as an added value and benefit to the organization.
-    This tool will concentrate on their characteristics, their effectiveness, their personal organization, their added value, their benefits, their life experiences, their ambitions, their corporations, their investment and how all these talents form their contribution and purpose(!)
-    This tool is something they will physically fill in during the workshop and take with them: participants can use this as a tool to communicate all their most important “features and benefits” and make themselves understood as an unique, irreplaceable, knowledgeable character.

The third workshop ‘’ADVANCED CAREER WORKSHOP’’ focuses on teasing out who you are, which skills you have, how to present these to your employer, practicing answering some questions you might expect at an interview and more...


NEW 2020 TIMETABLE (all workshops from 10.00-14.00):
13 February 2020: Skill Development - Global Room, VU Main Building 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36) 
20 February 2020: Talent Management - Global Room, VU Main Building 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36)
27 February 2020: Advanced Career Workshop- Global Room, VU Main Building 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36)
5 March 2020: Skill Development - Global Room, VU Main Building 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36)
19 March 2020: Talent Management - Global Room, VU Main Building 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36) 
26 March 2020: Advanced Career Workshop - Global Room, VU Main Building 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36)
2 April 2020: Skill Development - Global Room, VU Main Building 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36)
9 April 2020: Talent Management - Global Room, VU Main Building 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36)
16 April 2020: Advanced Career Workshop - Global Room, VU Main Building 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36)

Duration: 4h per workshop (with a short break and coffee/tea)
10h – 14h

We recommend taking all three workshops in order to get a full and well-rounded career advice and support.

Place: Global Room, Hoofdgebouw VU-main building, 1A-36 (first floor, wing A, room 36) 

Price: FREE. Minimum 10 participants. Maximum 15.

For whom: suitable for PhD candidates at every stage in their PhD trajectory. The sooner you  narrow down your qualities, profile your skills and define what type of career you envision the better the chances at finding future career pathways.

Apply HERE!

Contact: [email protected]

NOTE: Graduate Schools and Departments award ECs for attending these workshops. Please consult your graduate schools or PhD coordinators to obtain further information. We provide attendance certificates.

Anonymous Testimonials:
The quality of the coach and the content was absolutely outstanding. The coach was very perceptive and anticipated personal views flawlessly.
I love the workshop! The instructor is very good. This should be mandatory for every Ph.D in the first year.
I would recommend the workshops to every PhD. Most of time we are only aware about current research issues and not planning the future. The awareness brought by the coaching could improve the way we design, run and publish scientific evidences.

Career Tuesdays and Thursdays 2020 online- FULL


Want to know what your biggest asset is for a potential employer? Then meet Rob! Due to COVID-19, companies want to do more with less and this influences the jobs they offer. Find out what makes you stand out from the crowd, even before you send out that CV and motivation letter. 

After Career Thursdays at campus, he now offers Career Thursdays online… But with a twist. Instead of three hours at once, one session takes place on two separate days (2 x 1,5h): Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00-11:30. 

Each week, Rob will address a topic to help you improve as an employee. To have maximum results, it is important to follow all sessions. 

Find the schedule below! 

- Skill Development:
Tuesday 23 and Thursday 25 June (2 x 10:00-11:30)
- Talent Management:
Tuesday 30 June and Thursday 2 July (2 x 10:00-11:30)
- Advanced Career Support:
Tuesday 7 and Thursday 9 July (2 x 10:00-11:30)
All of the sessions are for free, but we have limited spots available! 

New schedule is coming up in September 2020.

As the course is very popular, please cancel when you decide not to participate and give others a chance to sign up.

For sign ups and information please contact [email protected]

Online Executive Career Coaching by Experiential Insight

Experiential insight

At VU Amsterdam, we want you to go out into the world and reach new heights, and because of that we are pleased to offer you with a unique development opportunity that will help you accelerate your career and overall success regardless of whether you plan to be a researcher or step into the corporate world.

Our Executive Coaching Tracks are designed to help you push the boundaries on creating impact and influence. We understand that development means staying ahead of the game, being prepared to navigate your career, and tackling difficult decisions and challenges.

With access to top ranked Executive Coaches, who are developing C-Suite executives and CEO's across the world, our mission is to inspire brilliant minds such as yourself to be the world's future leaders of society with the right curated opportunities. Let’s get you ready for the Future of Leadership.

Each Coaching Track is comprised of 6 individuals in an intimate cohort, for 6 sessions (1 hour long), over 6 weeks using Google Hangouts and using video conference set-up. The tools and techniques of executive coaching will play an integral role in heightened development through self, others, and the executive coach. Each individual will converse and add value to the cohort in a safe and trusted digital environment. Your forward progression and development is the main focus. The six sessions will be on different topics that build on each other week over week. They will cover questions you are not even thinking of yet, and the things you don’t know you don’t even know.

1 hour per week for six weeks

Prior to the beginning of the Coaching Track you will need to complete a short Me Myself and I Assessment so your executive coach can get to know you on a personal level. To provide you with a heightened development experience, your coach will continue to engage with you as much or as little as you desire between the weekly Coaching Sessions.

Beginner Track: Driving to Results

Session 1: Time for a selfie

Session 2: What does your personal brand say about you?

Session 3: Your Differences Are Your Strengths

Session 4: Leading with Emotional and Social Intelligence (ESQ)

Session 5: Growth Mindset for a Transition

Session 6: Creating real impact

Advanced Track: Getting Your Dream Job

Session 1: Designing Your Lifestyle Career

Session 2: Tapping into Strength and Certainty

Session 3: The 4 Second Resume / CV Skim

Session 4: Rethinking the Monstrous Job Search

Session 5: The Power of Influence and Networks

Session 6: Want to Achieve More? Negotiation is Key


Coaching Track 1 (Beginner)

Date: 12 February - 18 March

Day of Week: Wednesday

Time: 12:00 PM CEST

Coaching Track 2 (Beginner)

Date: 13 February - 19 March

Day of Week: Thursday

Time: 5:00 PM CEST

Sign up HERE! 

Price: FREE

Coaching Track 3 (Advanced)

Date: 12 February - 18 March

Day of Week: Wednesday

Time: 12:00 PM CEST

Coaching Track 4 (Advanced)

Date: 13 February - 19 March

Day of Week: Thursday

Time: 5:00 PM CEST

Sign up HERE! 

Price: FREE

Meet Your Employer

Meet your employer events were created in 2019 in order to stimulate employment of our bachelor, and master students, PhD candidates, and postdocs. Events are also open to partners or spouses of our academics and staff who are actively searching for an employment in the Netherlands. 

Every other month, we organize events with a company looking for potential employees in variety of fields and professions. The company presents its portfolio of activities, relevant job profiles and engages into a lively discussion with the audience about working at their company. 

The 2 hour events are opportunities for bachelor, and master students, PhD candidates, and postdocs to get informed about opportunities outside academia as well as to speak with company's current employees and share relevant work experiences. 

The events are always held in the Global Room located in the main building, first floor, wing A, room 36, and accompanied by food and drinks. For a full timetable and registration please see the table below. 

For additional information regarding Meet Your Employer events feel free to email [email protected]


If you would like to participate and co-host our Meet Your Employer event we kindly ask you to fill out the Intake Form. We will then get in touch and schedule a meeting in which we can discuss all the relevant details regarding a possible event at VU. 


Company nameDate and timeLocation Registration
Picnic Technologies

October 22, 2019


Global Room, 1A-36HERE
3SC Analytics

February 10, 2020


Global Room, 1A-36HERE

April 23, 2020


Global Room, 1A-36HERE