The number of PhD graduates getting employed in industry in the EU has seen significant increase in the past decades. Although studies show generally that personal networks play an important role in the labour market process, little is known about the actual role networks play in the specific case of PhD graduates’ transition from academia to industry. Consequently, this study aims to provide insight into the roles played by PhDs’ networks in the job search after graduation. The study benefits from a social network perspective, in which extended inter-sectoral networks can be of central importance for doctorate holders’ careers. Such extended networks are developed and managed within the broader context of university-industry collaborations to facilitate knowledge exchange between the two sectors. Accordingly, the study builds on the notion of ‘overlapping internal labour markets’, which refers to the emergence of career models based on university-industry links. Our data comprises 31 interviews with industry-employed STEM doctorate holders from Sweden, Norway and the UK. Our findings show that networks can play a facilitating role in matching the PhD’s specific scientific expertise with labour market demands. Further, we elucidate country-specific patterns and characteristics of university-industry transition after PhD graduation, with regional career paths more (Scandinavia) or less (the UK) noticeable. Finally, the study has practical implications, in particular for doctoral students and PhD graduates related to their career orientation post-PhD.