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The Top 6 Most Difficult R&D Interview Questions Every PhD Should Know

The Top 6 Most Difficult R&D Interview Questions Every PhD Should Know

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Why are you a good scientist? Are you an ethical scientist? What could you bring to other companies? Imagine getting these questions in rapid fire succession at the very beginning on an industry interview. How would you answer them? By challenging yourself to think about how you would respond to these and other tough interview questions, you will put yourself ahead of the majority of PhD job candidates who are just winging it and hoping for the best. Here are 6 tough interview questions you should know.

Negotiate A Higher Starting Salary With These 5 Email Templates

Negotiate A Higher Starting Salary With These 5 Email Templates

By: Aditya Sharma, PhD

As a PhD who has spent many years in academia, it is possible to lose sight of your value. But, when you are transitioning from academia to industry, you must reconnect with your value in order to get the pay you deserve. The only way your future employer is going to see your value is if you communicate it to them. Once you know what your skills are worth, negotiate to get the salary to match. Sending the right type of email will help you secure a higher starting salary. Negotiation emails should be polite but direct. Here are 5 email templates, addressing various stages in the negotiation process, to help you reach your salary negotiation goal.

3 Ways To Avoid Disclosing Your Salary During A Job Interview

3 Ways To Avoid Disclosing Your Salary During A Job Interview

By: Gemma Paech, Ph.D.

In the middle of your industry interview, you may be asked to disclose your current salary. Not only is it an uncomfortable question, it’s an inappropriate one — and if you answer, you may reduce your value and your salary offer before you even get a chance to negotiate for what you deserve. The bottom line is, you don’t have to, and shouldn’t, disclose your current salary. Doing so will only work against you. Managing the question should revolve around focusing on the value you can provide the company. This will increase your odds of a fair salary negotiation for your industry job. Here are three strategies to use to avoid discussing your current salary during your industry interview.

7 Reasons Why Your PhD Is Causing Stress And Depression

7 Reasons Why Your PhD Is Causing Stress And Depression

By: Gemma Paech, Ph.D.

No one said your PhD would be easy. But no one said it could pose such a significant risk to your emotional and mental health, either. With growing rates of depression globally, PhDs are not immune to the impacts of academic stress. If academic stress has started a downward spiral into depression, you need to be able to recognize the symptoms early and ask for help. The right treatment plan can build the resilience you need for your successful PhD completion and industry transition.

5 Types Of Departments In A Company's Organizational Structure PhDs Must Know

5 Types Of Departments In A Company's Organizational Structure PhDs Must Know

By: Catherine Sorbara, PhD

Getting hired into a successful industry team means recognizing the importance of the systems that operate within the industry company you will be working for. You must develop your business acumen so that you have a strong understanding of teamwork and a keen awareness of how each industry department works together to bring products to market. Being able to highlight your business acumen during networking events, informational interviews, and site visits is crucial to getting hired. Here are 5 more key industry departments PhD job candidates must understand.

5 Visa Options International PhD Students Must Know To Work In The U.S.A.

5 Visa Options International PhD Students Must Know To Work In The U.S.A.

By: Arunodoy Sur, PhD

International PhDs do not have an easy ride to full-time employment if they want to stay in the U.S. You are competing with a growing number of foreign students for the same capped visas or hoping for a visa lottery win. To work in the U.S., you need to know your facts and be prepared so that when you leverage the value you bring to the company, the immigration piece seems less significant. In addition to networking and strategizing, give yourself ample time to learn about the visa options available to you and start the process before you graduate. Here are 5 visa options you need to know about.

12 Tips On How To Negotiate A Job Offer To Increase Your Starting Salary In Industry

12 Tips On How To Negotiate A Job Offer To Increase Your Starting Salary In Industry

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Whether or not you understand how negotiating works, it is being used against you. This is especially true when you’re applying for an industry job, interviewing, or vying for a promotion. The problem is that most people, especially PhDs, don’t know how to negotiate salary. These people don’t understand how negotiation works or why it’s important so they refuse to do it. The problem is that refusing to negotiate can severely limit your career success. Being willing to negotiate, on the other hand, can push your career forward. This is, in part, because your starting salary and career trajectory are tightly linked. Here are 12 tips to help you negotiate a higher salary contract.

Top 10 List Of Alternative Careers For PhD Science Graduates

Top 10 List Of Alternative Careers For PhD Science Graduates

By: Arunodoy Sur, PhD

When choosing the next step in your career, be sure to consider not only the title and salary you want to have, but the lifestyle you want to live. PhDs should gain a thorough understanding of their non-academic career options. Otherwise, they will be forced by circumstances to take positions that are not in alignment with their long-term career goals. To help you avoid this fate, we’ve collated a list of the 10 hottest non-academic jobs today. Understanding which industry positions are on the rise will help you see what’s available to you outside of a traditional postdoc or professorship. This will help you get off and stay off the dead end career track you're currently on. Here are 10 of the hottest industry jobs for science PhDs.

An Insider's Guide On How To Write A Thesis When You're Short On Time

An Insider's Guide On How To Write A Thesis When You're Short On Time

By: Dora Farkas, PhD

I thought about quitting graduate school in the beginning of my 6th year. I was almost certain that there was no way that I could graduate that year, or ever for that matter. I started several dead-end projects, and most of my data was inconsistent and did not support any of my hypotheses. I felt stuck and trapped in my own life. The irony was that I actually created this life for myself because I thought that getting a PhD degree was the road to a better life and a career that I would be passionate about. I finally summoned…

10 Things Smart PhDs Do NOT Put On Their Industry Résumés

10 Things Smart PhDs Do NOT Put On Their Industry Résumés

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Most PhDs are taught that more is always better. Triplicates are better than duplicates. An N of 200 is better than an N of 2. A CV with 10 first author publications is better than a CV with one first author publication. On and on. But, when it comes to creating a strong industry résumé for a PhD job, less is more. Adding the wrong things or too many things to your résumé will keep you from getting the industry job you want. A better strategy is to simplify your industry résumé down to only the things that industry hiring managers and recruiters actually want to see. Here are 7 things smart PhDs like you should remove from your industry résumé.

7 Advantages PhDs Have Over Other Job Candidates

7 Advantages PhDs Have Over Other Job Candidates

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Having a PhD is a significant advantage. PhDs get paid higher than non-PhDs and are in high demand. Trained professionals who know how to create information, not just repackage it, are desperately needed. Entrepreneurship and innovation are at an all time high. These trends will continue as the economy continues to favor innovation. If you have a PhD or are on your way to having one and you’re reading this, the future is yours. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself—by choosing to be one dimensional and choosing to ignore the less objective soft skills that will complement your PhD and make you a magnet for industry success. A PhD offers you great advantages over other job candidates and over the population in general.

If You’re A PhD And Do This, You’ll Never Get A Job

If You’re A PhD And Do This, You’ll Never Get A Job

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

The number of PhDs who will have a business job at or soon after graduation is below 40%. And the number of Life Sciences PhDs who will have a business job at graduation is below 20%. The truth is most PhDs will never get a job in business even though they’re doing all the right things. The problem is they’re doing the wrong things too. The key to starting a great career in business learning what not to do. Here are 5 things to avoid.

Recent Articles

How PhDs Can Avoid The Overqualified Label To Get Hired

How PhDs Can Avoid The Overqualified Label To Get Hired

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“We regret to inform you that we will not be moving forward with your application due to concerns that your qualifications exceed those required for the role.  We feel it would not be a good fit. Thank you for applying.”  Oof, that’s part of a rejection email a PhD sent me. An employer had sent it to them after the first interview.  Another PhD told me this recently… “I feel like I’m both overqualified and underqualified for the jobs I apply to Isaiah.”  Which do you feel is more of a problem for you? I asked.  “At first I thought…

How To Answer “Why Are You Leaving Academia?” (& 4 Scientific Ways To Convince Employers To Hire You) 

How To Answer “Why Are You Leaving Academia?” (& 4 Scientific Ways To Convince Employers To Hire You) 

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“‘Why do you want to work here more than anywhere else? And why are you leaving academia?’ Those are the questions I got stuck on, Isaiah.  I told them why I liked their company, mainly because it was aligned with my values, but I also wanted to be fair and ethical so I told them that I was considering other companies. Then I explained that academia was no longer a good fit because I wanted to do more than write grants all day.”  “Okay, I replied, anything else? What did you say after that?” “I asked them a few clarifying…

Should You Apply To More Than One Job At A Company? (& 3 Other Tough Job Search Questions Answered)

Should You Apply To More Than One Job At A Company? (& 3 Other Tough Job Search Questions Answered)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“Isaiah, I applied to ThermoFisher two weeks ago and a hiring manager got in touch with me and I had my first interview…. But then a second hiring manager reached out to me about another job I applied to there.  I started talking to this second manager and they asked if I applied to any other positions there.  I couldn’t lie so I told them about the other job and the other hiring manager.  Now, neither of the hiring managers will get back to me.  What should I do?”  This is what a PhD told me over the phone last…

How LinkedIn Ranks Job Seekers With PhDs, EdDs & Other Degrees

How LinkedIn Ranks Job Seekers With PhDs, EdDs & Other Degrees

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“Be real Isaiah, there’s not a government bureau keeping track of how our resumes perform.”  This is what a frustrated job seeker said to me recently.  “What do you mean I have a reputation score?” they asked.  “Of course there’s not a bureau dedicated to this, at least not yet” I said.  “But you absolutely are being scored and ranked” I went on, “and your ranking is used to indicate how reputable you are as a job seeker.”  This is what I’ve explained to countless people looking for a job in today’s job market, most of whom were getting initial…

How The Academic PhD Job Market Was Destroyed

How The Academic PhD Job Market Was Destroyed

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“I spent over a year looking for a job in academia and flew to multiple interviews. I didn’t get one offer.” A PhD told me this recently and many other PhDs have told me similar stories.  Of course, the stories involve more than just looking for a job for a year.  They involve living on a meager academic budget, trying to support themselves and their families, often in very expensive cities where many of the biggest universities are located.  They involve decisions to never go on a vacation, to feed their kids cheaper, less healthy food, and to work all…

Give Yourself The Gift Of Leaving Academia Forever

Give Yourself The Gift Of Leaving Academia Forever

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

My last year in academia, I didn’t have enough money to fly home for Christmas. So I spent it in Iowa City, mostly alone.  I was broke (of course) so I decided to shovel snow out of driveways for $10 per driveway. I remember thinking how ridiculous it was to be a PhD shoveling snow for money. “What I wouldn’t give to have a better job”, I thought.  That was the gift I wanted for Christmas and the holidays.  A better job.  Not to be a student or a postdoc or an academic PhD getting paid less than I was…

The Ideal Keyword Density For Targeting Your PhD Resume To An Industry Job Posting

The Ideal Keyword Density For Targeting Your PhD Resume To An Industry Job Posting

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Writing a resume for an industry job is one of the biggest sticking points I see with PhDs entering the job market.  What worked even a year ago is not working today due to recent and rapidly accelerating advances in Applicant Tracking Systems.  These systems, called ATS or just AI today, are software tools used by companies to filter resumes.  They scan for specific keywords related to the job role, abilities, credentials, and qualities desired in a candidate.  As a PhD seeking very competitive roles, including relevant keywords in your resume is essential to pass through these systems and get…

AI Is Replacing Recruiters. Here’s How PhD Job Seekers Should Adapt

AI Is Replacing Recruiters. Here’s How PhD Job Seekers Should Adapt

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“I had a recruiter reach out to me, Isaiah, and after I gave them my resume and answered their questions, they never got back to me. What should I do?”  I hear this a lot.  I also hear, “Isaiah, I was on the phone with a recruiter and as soon as they heard that I needed a visa, they hung up” …”or as soon as they heard I had no industry experience, they hung up.”  Man, I personally hate this. What a waste of time. The recruitment industry is broken.  The good news is its being devoured by Artificial Intelligence,…

Why PhDs Are Powerhouses Of Productivity (& How It Can Get Your Hired)

Why PhDs Are Powerhouses Of Productivity (& How It Can Get Your Hired)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“Nothing makes sense today in the job market”, a PhD expressed to me recently.  “No one is responding to my resumes. I don’t understand why they would ask for a scientist at the company and then not even want to talk to me”, they said. They went on: “I’ve even had some friends refer to me, but still didn’t get an interview. I feel like I made a mistake getting my PhD.”  It’s hard hearing this from PhDs who invested so much in their education and in advancing research for humanity.  Still, I hear it a lot.  My response is…

Employers Are Hiring PhDs Because They Learn Faster Than Other Job Candidates

Employers Are Hiring PhDs Because They Learn Faster Than Other Job Candidates

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“Why would any employers hire me… I don’t have industry experience, my skills don’t match the positions I want, and I’m not hearing back from any positions I’ve applied to… Plus, I don’t know anyone in industry.” I heard this from a PhD recently who was mentally broken from their job search.  They had been applying to jobs for months and either hearing nothing back or getting rejected very quickly.  When they asked their peers for insights as to why, they heard the usual stuff, “maybe you’re overqualified?” Or… “Actually, you’re underqualified because you don’t have industry experience.” “You can’t…

What Are Ghost Job Listings & How PhDs Should Handle Them

What Are Ghost Job Listings & How PhDs Should Handle Them

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“I’ve applied to hundreds of job postings” a PhD recently told me. “Using the same resume?” I asked.  “No.” they replied.  “I targeted every resume. I’ve heard nothing back. In some cases I was sent a rejection email within the hour. What’s happening?!”, they wailed.  “Ghost job listings.” I replied.  They asked me what a ghost job listing is and I explained that ghost job listings are jobs posted by real companies but they’re jobs that these companies have no intention of actually filling. Of course, this PhD wanted to know why and I told them that the answer is…

Haven’t Heard Back From An Employer? Maybe It’s Your Digital Footprint

Haven’t Heard Back From An Employer? Maybe It’s Your Digital Footprint

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

I was talking to a job candidate who had everything on paper.  3 advanced degrees. Industry experience before getting their degrees.  A long list of skills that were easily matched to a variety of job postings.  But, the same negative thing kept happening.  They’d get to the first or second interview, and then, after the interview went really well, not hear back.  This happened 22 different times. Now, they’re not even getting interviews.  That’s when I asked if they’d reviewed their digital footprint.  “My what?”, they said?  Your digital footprint – a review of everything you’ve posted online that employers…

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Podcasts

Cheeky Scientist Radio Podcast

Hosted By: Isaiah Hankel - Chief Executive Officer at Cheeky Scientist

The premier podcast by industry PhDs. With thousands of monthly listeners, the Cheeky Scientist Radio podcast is dedicated to helping PhDs transition into their first or next industry position. Every episode provides leading edge insights on how PhDs can avoid career failure and job search rejections, and instead attract hiring managers and recruiters to get hired into top industry jobs. Recent shows cover industry resumes, LinkedIn profiles, creating a job search strategy, identifying surging career tracks and avoiding dead end career tracks, successfully preparing for and passing phone screens, video interviews and site visits, and much more. This show features top industry PhDs in 50+ different industry positions. Subscribe now and listen.

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Academic Blues

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The top articles covering essential transition topics- including resumes, business acumen, academic blues, and more- put together each week to help you stay current in your job search strategy.

Industry Careers

Insights from some of our top Associates on the best industry careers for PhDs that you can use to determine which role(s) are right for you

Interviewing

What to expect from an industry interview and how to prepare.

Linkedin

Tips on how to build a stand-out profile on the #1 job-search platform according to employers and recruiters.

Negotiation

Learn how to avoid common pitfalls and develop the mindset needed to negotiate a compensation package that pays you what you’re worth.

Networking

Why networking should be the focus of your job search efforts and how to do it the right way.

Resumes

Find out what top industry employers want to see from PhDs and how to create a resume that exceeds their expectations.

Special Interest

Top tips and tricks for building a business mindset, transitioning during challenging times, surviving academia, and more!

Tech & AI

Transferable Skills

Transition Spotlights

Read about how some of our Associates overcame a variety of common challenges PhDs face in their transitions to land the top industry position of their dreams.

Top Industry Career eBooks

63 Best Industry Positions For PhDs

63 Best Industry Positions For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD & Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Learn about the best 63 industry careers for PhDs (regardless of your academic background). In this eBook, you will gain insight into the most popular, highest-paying jobs for PhDs – all of which will allow you to do meaningful work AND get paid well for it.

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Learn how to craft the perfect industry resume to attract employers. In this eBook for PhDs, you will get access to proven resume templates, learn how to structure your bullet points, and discover which keywords industry employers want to see most on PhD resumes.

AI & ATS Resume Filters

AI & ATS Resume Filters

Isaiah Hankel

In today's competitive job market, understanding the impact of AI is crucial for career success. This involves ensuring your resume stands out in the digital realm, mastering your online presence, and being aware of how AI assigns reputation scores. Discovering how to leverage AI to your advantage is essential, as it plays a pivotal role in shaping professional opportunities.

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel

The LinkedIn tips & strategies within have helped PhDs from every background get hired into top industry careers.