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How Applying For A Postdoctoral Position Can Ruin Your Industry Career Options In Science

Doing a postdoc does not entitle you to a good job. Applying for an academic postdoc may seem like the obvious next step in your career, but it’s not. In fact, doing an academic postdoc could keep you from ever getting an industry job. The competition to get an industry job is intense. Staying in academia longer—becoming more and more removed from the real world—is only going to work against you. On-the-job training is much more valuable than a postdoc. The longer you stay in academia, the more likely you are to end up poor and unhappy. Here’s why.

Best Industry Transition Articles Of The Week For PhDs (April 24th, 2016)

Every week we scour the internet to find the best industry transition articles for PhDs, so you don’t have to. We have two consultants independently search for the most informative articles on networking, CVs/resumes, transferable skills, interviews, academic blues, and industry positions. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and for a top overall article each week. This week’s best articles are here.

3 Common Interview Mistakes That Keep Qualified PhDs From Getting Job Offers

Industry interviews are very different from the academic interviews you once prepared for. Technical skills matter very little at the interview stage. Hiring managers are looking for you to demonstrate your critical thinking, communication, interpersonal, organizational and management skills, to name a few. You need to effectively demonstrate these transferable skills while showing that you are both personable and dependable. Most importantly, you must avoid the easily overlooked aspects preventing you from performing well during an industry interview. You must get comfortable with your own voice, practice answering questions aloud in front of others, and more. Here are 3 common mistakes to avoid during your first or next industry interview.

Best Industry Transition Articles Of The Week For PhDs (April 17th, 2016)

Every week we scour the internet to find the best industry transition articles for PhDs, so you don’t have to. We have two consultants independently search for the most informative articles on networking, CVs/resumes, transferable skills, interviews, academic blues, and industry positions. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and for a top overall article each week. This week’s best articles are here.

What Is An Informational Interview And How To Ask For One With An Industry Professional

When a current employee of a company refers a job candidate, that candidate is hired by the company about two-thirds of the time. Top companies only resort to advertising a job when they cannot find the right candidate through other channels, such as ‘word of mouth’ or referrals. This is because advertising jobs online is a painful process for hiring managers. These managers have to wade through thousands of job applications from people they do not know. By setting up an informational interview, you are able to learn about an alternative career while also strategically placing yourself within the hidden job market of the company. Here’s how to quickly and effectively set up informational interviews.

I was struggling for over a year to get a job in industry without realizing that I was using the wrong workflow for job hunting. I thought all I was supposed to do was write resumes and upload them to job sites. I thought I could easily get a job. Of course, I was wrong and didn’t make much progress. Once I joined the Cheeky Scientist Association, I learned the correct workflow for getting an industry job. I made large gains and expanded my network significantly. However, I was still very busy and very disorganized. I needed an even higher level of organization and accountability. That’s when I decided to join the Small Group Consulting program. I’m really glad I did because the Small Group Consulting program gave me the extra push I needed to get into industry. The program gave me individual help, focusing on my specific needs. The program helped me organize all my job search materials and gave me daily action items to follow. The consultants were great and they provided me with close supervision that was both supportive and highly structured.The weekly calls forced me to stay on track and make progress. We went over my targeted resumes in real time, they gave me individualized scripts, and I had access to the consultants on a daily basis in the much more targeted and exclusive SGC private group. Overall, the Small Group Consulting program provided the structure and organized habits I needed to get hired. I’m very happy with the result.

The content in the Association was very valuable. I enjoyed the online webinars and catalogued interviews, and I really enjoyed hearing the experience that various industry professionals had during their transition from academia into industry. I was also very surprised by how active the private online group was and much great material was shared in it. The group helped me keep refining my job search approach and my message, including my elevator pitch. Most importantly, the Association taught me the importance of networking and following up with ALL of my professional contacts. Before joining the Cheeky Scientist Association, I hadn’t kept in touch with any of my past professional contacts. As soon as I started getting back in touch, things changed. Suddenly, I was going on referrals and getting interviews. Now, I have the industry job I always wanted and am excited for my future.

The Cheeky Scientist Association is literally the only training program you need to transition into industry. Before joining the association, I was doing a postdoc in a fantastic lab. . . and hating every minute of it. After nearly a decade on the bench, I loved learning about science, but I hated doing it. I had lost my drive to become a professor (or even do experiments). I felt like I was always trying to push myself into this box of who I was supposed to be (a bench scientist) rather than highlight my unique skills and interests. I knew that I wanted to join the medical communications industry for years, but felt guilty admitting that to my boss, to my colleagues, and even to myself. After I became an associate, my whole world opened up. The transition plan helped me place my goals and dreams into tangible, results-driven actions. The webinars with industry professionals were invaluable. Most importantly, access to the private group with over 500 members gave me the support and confidence that I needed for success. I knew I could ask any question, big or small, and every step of the way there were numerous members who wanted to help. Reading about the successes (and hardships) or other members gave me the energy to push through the job search. Within a few months, I had hiring managers, recruiters, and even C-level executives reaching out to me for advice about their business challenges. As a result of joining the CSA, I received numerous interviews and had my pick of job offers from many clients all over the world! Seeing that I could help many businesses achieve the growth they desired, I founded my own medical consulting company, JLJ consultancy, with clients including Novartis, MyTomorrows, Cactus Communications, Springer Life Sciences, various academic journals, venture capital firms, and more! My future couldn’t be brighter, and I couldn’t be happier! If you’re considering leaving academia for good to follow your dreams…join the cheeky scientist.

Mihaela Marina, Ph.D
Mihaela Marina, Ph.D.

My story is like a lot of other Cheeky Scientist Associates in that I spent a lot of time just writing resumes before joining the Association. Becoming an Associate gave me access to all the information I needed to get an industry job. The problem was I felt a bit overwhelmed. There were so many people getting jobs in the group and so much information coming in on a daily basis that it was hard to keep up. I needed a more careful and structured approach, which is why I went on to join the Cheeky Scientist Small Group Consulting program. The Small Group program was exactly what I needed because it gave me individualized help with consultants who had the same type of job I wanted. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I felt supported. I felt like my specific needs were being addressed. The weekly calls kept me focused and centered one what I needed to do next. The individualized networking scripts and resume fixes really helped me too. In fact, I got hired because I applied an SGC networking script. The consultants worked closely with me to design better scripts and this time I got a response, built rapport, and added value. Then I had an informational interview and after following up by emails, I got a call two days later to set up an interview. I started getting a lot of interviews and it was nice to have consultants helping me who, again, already had the same type of job I wanted. Thanks to the SGC program and private group, along with CSA and everyone in my network, I now have the industry job I want.

Bartosz Balczerski, Ph.D
Bartosz Balczerski, Ph.D.

I was a postdoc for 4 years before finally getting an industry job and the only reason I got the job I wanted is because I followed the Cheeky Scientist Association’s follow-up strategies. After staying in touch with some key hiring managers and following the “3-4 touch point” rule, the job was mine. I was also able to negotiate a higher salary and a signing bonus using the Association’s negotiation gambits. Joining the Cheeky Scientist Association was the best investment I’ve ever made. The program takes you from unsure scientist to confident industry professionals. It changed my life.