29M graduating with Ph.D no real job experience follow up. What can I do with my current resume/CV credentials? Would vocational rehabilitation be helpful?

Hey everyone,

I (29M) am about to graduate with my Ph.D in Experimental Psychology with what is now slated to be sometime in the Spring 2024 semester. I will be 30 by then but that is alright with me. This post is sort of a follow up to an old post I made in this subreddit. I am a far enough in my program to the point I only need to take extension credit hours each semester other than the summer. I cannot get an assistantship now that I am this far into the program (not that I needed it), but I am a full-time instructor at a small liberal arts college for this year thankfully (pays $56,000 and is the highest paying job I’ve ever acquired). You do not need to read my old post for this specific post, but if you search “29 M graduating soon…” you will find it.

Long story short, I am a disabled individual about to graduate with my Ph.D sometime later this academic year. Based on feedback from other academics, my CV and resume are both extremely underdeveloped and questionable. To top it off, I recently went through another neuropsychological evaluation and the evaluator told me that I likely developed PTSD from the graduate school experience as a whole due to a combination of poor guidance at the Master’s level and my first advisor at the Ph.D level who was emotionally abusive. My current advisor who saw what happened to me and took me as his advisee is awesome, thankfully. Notably, my symptoms were bad to the point I did not do any work related to my studies this summer since I was so stressed and burned out I had a tendency for reckless driving and intrusive thoughts among other symptoms that affected my ability to function. I have also self-diagnosed myself with RSD as well because of how many professional development situations I avoided all throughout my early to mid 20s due to fear of rejection and thinking the “worst that could happen” would be career ending when it was not. I wanted to use this Ph.D to rebound back from my lackluster Bachelor’s and Master’s experiences, but factors outside of my control (advisor and COVID) were a major stumbling block to developing the “typical resume” most Ph.Ds have at this point.

Here is what I have:

\-Soon to be 6 years of graduate level lab experience.

Hard skills: Literature reviews, grant writing (see bottom bullet point), data analysis in SPSS (mostly correlations and regressions), project management for one project at a time (four projects throughout my Master’s and Ph.D – Pilot study for MA thesis, follow up study for MA thesis cut short due to COVID, Ph.D qualifier project, dissertation), and scoring measures for individual differences (e.g., ADHD traits, word reading skill level).

Soft skills: Attention to detail, training two dozen undergraduates in my advisor’s lab (MA level), and teaching full-time for what is soon to be a year and a half (not going to list all of the soft skills associated with teaching to save space)

\-Two conference poster presentations in graduate school (a 3rd if the undergrad one is counted)

\-Two years of TA experience (Ph.D only)

\-Soon to be two years of instructor experience during my Ph.D program

\-One $225 grant and a $35,000 fellowship I earned for the 2023-2024 academic year (this fellowship process was similar to how I would write a grant). I also wrote a grant for summer funding but it was rejected due to a clause where I could only apply for it if I was a doctoral candidate in my program (I was not at the time).

I am concerned since, even though I have reasons for my underdeveloped resume and CV (e.g., lack of guidance and health reasons), an employer is likely to see it as an excuse. I am contacting my state’s vocational rehabilitation (I am in the US) to see if they can help me with post Ph.D employment, but I am worried that having a graduate level degree (even if it was just my Master’s) may be just outside of what they are used to working with in this case. It is certainly better than nothing, but I really cannot ignore that my poor stress management now affects how I literally function nowadays while I still want to work to live no less.

What could I do with my current credentials? Would vocational rehabilitation, given what will soon be a newfound PTSD diagnosis on top of my neurodivergent conditions, be helpful at all?

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