Written by Jeanette McConnell, Ph.D.
When I finished my PhD, I was very anxious and scared about getting a job.
I felt unprepared for the “real” world.
For about 20 years, I had been calling myself a student — and, that was about to end.
I was excited to leave academia and get a job, but I was unprepared.
All of my skills revolved around academia and I was sure that no one would want to hire me because of that.
I had no business skills.
I went to a few interviews and everyone was talking about things that I had no idea about.
Sales, marketing, clients, customers, leads — it was overwhelming.
They don’t teach these things in graduate school.
When I landed my first job, the business concept of learning only intensified.
I was constantly playing catch-up.
I really wish that I had taken the time to learn more about how businesses work before I started working in industry.
It would have been a much smoother transition if I had a little bit of MBA knowledge.
Why Having Business Know-How Makes PhDs Highly Desirable Employees
Your technical skills as a PhD might get you in the door for an interview or a phone screen, but it’s not enough to get you hired.
To be the one candidate who gets hired, you must have a solid understanding of business.
According to a survey by LinkedIn, business intelligence was on the top 20 list of in-demand skills.
When companies have a pool of talented job candidates, having a solid understanding of business can make you the top candidate.
Consultancy UK reported that 41% of Chief Human Resources Officers cited business acumen as the most lacking skill when sourcing new talent.
And, according to BTS, 65% of business leaders said that a lack of business acumen strongly inhibits the execution of company strategies.
Bottom line, businesses need employees who are business savvy.
If you develop strong commercial and business acumen, you can be a great asset to a company.
Your PhD makes you a highly desirable candidate.
And, a solid business understanding will put you right to the top of the list.
Cheeky Scientist Top 7 Business Acumen Articles
We’ve said it before, your PhD alone is not enough.
A company wants to hire an employee who will make the company more successful.
That might seem obvious.
But, how do you show a potential employer that you will add value to the company?
Not by flaunting your degree.
But rather, by demonstrating your understanding of the industry and their business goals.
They want someone with a keen business acumen who has a good understanding of the technical side of things, but can also make strategic business decisions.
You can be that candidate.
All you have to do is invest in yourself and increase your business acumen.
Here are the top 7 Cheeky Scientist articles to help PhDs become a top job candidate by expanding your business acumen...
As a PhD, you already have the high-level thinking and technical skills companies want — you just need to increase your knowledge of the business world and learn the concepts that drive businesses.
No matter what role you are targeting in industry, every position in an organization will require business knowledge.
The better you understand key business concepts, the more desirable you become to companies.
You cannot think like an academic and rest on the accomplishments of your PhD if you want to succeed in industry. It just won’t work.
Instead, you must adopt a business mindset and take the time to learn key business concepts.
To learn more about how to write a killer resume and other essential tips on how to land your dream job in industry, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the waitlist for the Cheeky Scientist Association.
Latest posts by Jeanette McConnell, PhD (see all)
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- 5 Science Communication Careers For PhDs Who Enjoy Talking And Writing About Science - February 19, 2019