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David Mendes

Helping young researchers figure out and implement their next career readiness move.


David Mendes has interviewed close to 150 guests on the Papa PhD podcast over three years, and has distilled from all these conversations core lessons about how PhDs impact the social and economic world around them, about how employers outside academia view the PhD candidate profile, and about how graduates are blazing their trails in the academic and non-academic job market. Having honed his listening and interviewing skills as the host of Papa PhD, David leverages them as a guest with naturality and a congenial presence.


Since completing his PhD in cell biology at the university of Coimbra and at McGill University in 2010, David has been building a career in the medical communication and linguistic services industry. He has been a distance education tutor and has worked for 4 years as a medical writer in a medical communications agency. David has since started his own business offering language services in the biomedical domain and has co-founded PhDesign, a media agency dedicated exclusively to serving the research community and to bridging the gap between the lab and society.
In parallel, David is interested in exploring the different ways people have navigated professional and personal life after completing their graduate degree. This curiosity and a deep-seated wish to help those now going through graduate school is what led him to launch the Papa PhD podcast.

Approved Media:

Suggested topics:

The urgency of taking ownership of your professional narrative as a young researcher

The hierarchy of where young researchers should focus their time and energy investment.

The strategy behind focusing inward first

The power of building a strong professional narrative independently of your future career

The world needs PhDs outside of university walls

Suggested QUESTIONS:

So many people graduate each year? Does the world need so many PhDs?

You get into a PhD to become a professor - why is there so much talk about non-academic careers out there?

You've said looking for job posting and sending tailored CVs is not the way to go in 2022. What do you mean by that?

What is a better, smarter way to start improving your career readiness today?

Why do you propose introspection and building your professional narrative as the smartest starting point to preparing your next career transition?

PhDs can last as little as 3 years and as long as 6-7 years. When should young research start working on their professional narrative?

Once you've identified your core values, your core interests, what you want and what you don't want in your next position, you seem to defend that the next step is not looking at job postings. What is it, then?

Networking is often a bad word in the academic space, on a par with building your personal brand. It often is associated with schmoozing and being sleazy. How do you dissociate building a professional network from these preconceived notions?

And if one has more time, or the impetus to go further - what is the next step in building a professional narrative that is robust and does part of the work for you?

All the strategies and tools you've mentioned seem very very geared towards the non-academic job search. Do they apply if your goal is to stay in academia?