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It’s impossible to get respect in a system that doesn’t value you at all.

Yet, most PhDs latch on to academia as their one and only hope for career success. The truth is a PhDs best option for both success and happiness is to transition OUT of academia. The system is completely broken. If you’re sitting in the middle of your graduate school career or in the middle of your first or second postdoc thinking that things will get better in the next few years, you need to wake up. The academic system is not being fixed. It’s becoming more broken. On top of this, staying in academia is devaluing your PhDs. Academia is a like a tax on your PhD. The longer you stay in the system, the more you are taxed. The time to leave academia is now.If you choose to stay, you’re choosing to throw away your career. Here’s why…

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Having a PhD does not guarantee you an industry job.

Too many graduate students fall into the trap of talking about their specific research niche when networking and interviewing for non-academic careers. They feel their strong academic record and long list of publications will get them the industry position they want. This is why it’s so easy for biotech and biopharma hiring managers to glaze over your industry resume and say you lack real work experience. It’s your job to show them how your academic experiences have prepared you for industry (even though they likely have not). If you want to get hired fast in competitive job markets, you need to show hiring managers that you are qualified. Not only that, you need to show them you are more qualified than other job candidates. Here’s how.

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Why aren’t more PhDs in sales?

The problem is that very few PhDs apply to technical sales positions. Most PhDs fail to apply for one of two reasons. First, they think they need sales experience to get a sales job. Second, they think that salespeople are manipulative or “bad” in some way—like they can’t be a scientist and a salesperson at the same time. Both are incorrect. As a technical salesperson in industry, you can apply your scientific skill sets to a variety of labs and projects. With your PhD in hand, you will maintain your credibility with customers and key opinion leaders, while having more resources and more support to help these professionals solve their problems. If you’re interested in a technical sales position, realize that you have already developed the transferable skills you need to get the job.You don’t need more skills or more experience. You just need to start thinking like a salesperson. Here’s how.

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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.

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When it comes to getting an industry job, transferable skills are more important than your technical skills.

No one wants to hire a candidate who is going to be difficult to work with. No one wants to hire a candidate who is going to be the new guy or girl on the team who is awkward to talk to and makes everyone feel uncomfortable. Studies show that hiring managers prefer to hire graduates who demonstrate strong transferable skills over graduates with demonstrate strong technical skills alone. You will not get hired into an industry role if you fail to develop your transferable skills. It doesn’t matter how many impressive publications you have or who your principal investigator is or how glowing your letters of recommendation are. What matters is how easily you can fit into the company’s culture and how quickly you can hit the ground running in your new position. Here are 5 more transferable skills to help you transition into the industry job of your choice.

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