It’s not uncommon for researchers to be preparing for their viva at the same time that they’re applying for jobs and going for interviews. And vivas and job interviews are often compared to one another. I think there’s a superficial comparison to be made (people tend to dress up, the candidate is asked a lot of questions by a panel) but the focus is quite different. In a job interview, someone is being asked questions to discover if they’re a good fit for an organisation; in the viva they’re being asked to demonstrate what they’re claiming to have done during their PhD.

However, I think there could be an overlap between the kinds of areas of preparation that could help both vivas and interviews. If your viva is coming up and you’re applying for jobs then think about your skills to begin with: what have you developed in the last few years? What’s your best evidence? What can you do now that you couldn’t do at the start of your PhD? Think about times that you’ve shown initiative. Think about times when you’ve solved problems. Reflect on what you can do that others find hard, because that’s valuable.

Vivas and job interviews might not be the same, but they get to the core of what you do well. Reflect on how you can share that.

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