Are you a PhD with your heart set on becoming a CEO? Pause for a moment and recognize how rare you are. The majority of PhDs will never cross the gap between working for other people and working for themselves. Entrepreneurship in general is rare, but becoming an entrepreneur after completing a PhD is exceptional. Study EU examined the largest companies on each continent, and they reported that among these companies’ CEOs, a mere 10% can boast a doctoral degree. But the question is this: Why don’t more PhDs go this route? After all, as a PhD, you have a substantial business advantage: You know how to learn. You worked awfully hard to develop your PhD skill set – as just a few examples, you know how to: Gather evidence and collect data through rigorous research and experimentation Respond to experimental feedback Identify trends and outliers Optimize and innovate systems Manage multiple projects at the same time All of these items are core ingredients of a good entrepreneurial strategy. PhDs know how to navigate uncertainty, even if it means fumbling around in the dark, blindly looking for clues. Hypothesize, design, test, fail and iterate – it works in science, and it works in business too. Going from PhD to entrepreneur is a natural transition, but there’s one other thing to mention. A study by Kerr et al. identified “locus of control” (LOC) as a key trait in entrepreneurship literature – your locus of control can be internal or external. Entrepreneurs benefit vastly from having an internal locus of control because it means they conceptualize that their own decisions control their lives. In other words, they source control inside themselves – not in random external forces. Just by obtaining their degree, a PhD has drawn from an internal LOC to show initiative and move forward in a self-empowered fashion. The final mental shift for PhDs is to move from valuing knowledge for its own sake to valuing the translation of knowledge into a product or service that improves other people’s lives and drives a profit.Read More
Academic abuse is no joke. The University of California’s Mental Health Committee reviewed a variety of examined trends in mental health, and some of what it uncovered is disturbing. For example, a UC Berkeley study of 3,100 graduate students indicated that nearly half of respondents had suffered an “emotional or stress-related problem that significantly affected their well-being and/or academic performance.” Worse yet, almost 10% reported that they had considered suicide sometime within the last year. Are these reports deeply saddening? Of course. But they are not surprising. Too many graduate and professional students are at risk of isolation from campus support, and there are too few systems in place to protect them. At a minimum, you’ve probably seen this in action – or worse, you’ve been targeted by it. The Workplace Bullying Institute documents a series of common abuse tactics that will likely sound familiar: False accusations of errors; disregarding satisfactory or even exemplary work; stealing credit for someone else’s work; abusing the evaluation process by lying about someone’s performance; and ensuring the failure of someone’s project by deliberately avoiding collaboration – not signing off on work, not taking calls, etc. PhDs have heard this story before. Due to their commonplace nature, terms like “gaslighting,” systemic abuse, and PTSD have become dark, well-trodden lanes along the highway of academic parlance.Read More
To put it mildly, the road to a PhD can be rough. The Berkeley Science Review once reported that over half of grad school students claimed to feel “frequently overwhelmed, exhausted, sad, hopeless, or depressed.” And sadly, the American College Health Association has announced that 15% of college students were depressed. They added that suicide was a major issue within this demographic. Is it starting to look like academia has a problem? It should look that way — it’s true. Not to mention post—grad problems in finding careers. For all the value in a PhD’s education (and there is tremendous value here), PhDs are struggling. A lot of them are worried, and sometimes, these worries can seem too big to handle. But you can’t give up. Your talent is too valuable to be stifled. You will find your place in industry, and the first step is to think clearly about your prospects.Read More
The Pew Research Center found that in nearly half of all two-parent families, both the mother and father work full-time. Within this same set of two-parent families, 26% consist of dads employed full-time and unemployed moms. Ready for the most revealing data? In a mere 2% of families, this is reversed: full-time moms and unemployed dads are 92% less common than the more traditional family models. The takeaway is that, statistically, women run a much higher risk than men when it comes to two-body compromise. Supporting this is research by Wolfinger et al, which found that a massive 89% of female academic faculty members have spouses in full-time employment. Only 56% of male faculty members can say the same. And, as reported by Rose Krieder and Jason Fields, women maintain a higher probability of being married in the first place (though only by a relatively small percentage). This gives sex and gender psychologists plenty to work with, but it doesn’t change the sheer challenge presented by the two-body problem. What can a couple do in the face of the two-body problem?Read More
PhD hiring in industry is up by 500%. You read that right. A recent MassBio report shows that science PhD job listings were sitting at 27,700 in Massachusetts alone. That’s the second-highest number on record, and only by 3%. If you were wondering, Massachusetts is home to 3 of the most PhD-populated cities worldwide. The American Institute of Physics displays a long list of employers who have already hired PhD-holding employees between 2009 and 2016. So why are some PhDs struggling so hard to get industry jobs? They’re going about it the wrong way. Your PhD is an asset, not an excuse. It’s only a waste if you allow it to be, so treat it like what it is: a huge advantage.Read More
PhDs who cultivate an awareness of industry hiring trends will find it easier to create an effective job search strategy. An effective job search strategy is one that includes the right kind and the right amount of preparations. Learn the top 5 hiring trends savvy PhDs leverage to get hired in industry.Read More
The ideal time to start focusing on your job search is now. No matter if you have just started your PhD or if you are unemployed and want a job ASAP, the best thing you can do it start now. Balance Careers reported that roughly it takes one month to find a job for every $10,000 of the paycheck you would like to earn. So, as a PhD if you want to earn $90,000 per year, your job search could take about 9 months. BUT this is an estimate. Depending on the effort your put in and any networking efforts you did before needing a job this time frame can change. The bottom line is that you want to give energy to your job search as soon as possible, but don’t worry if you feel like you are late to the game. In the US alone, in just one month, there were 7.5 million job openings, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.There are lots of opportunities for you out there. There is a job that will fit with your specific career aspirations and allow you to do meaningful work as a PhD. Don’t lose hope.Read More
The advice that you should remove your PhD from your resume is antiquated and just generally bad advice. Your PhD gives you many advantages over other job candidates, and employers are hiring PhDs more than ever before. Science reported that for the first time ever, the number of PhDs employed in industry is on par with the number of PhDs employed at academic institutions, where each sector employs 42% and 43% of PhDs respectively. But if you dive into the data from the National Science Foundation that this Science article is based on, the numbers are even more compelling. NSF found that the majority of PhDs are actually employed outside of the university setting, where 56% of PhDs reported having positions in private companies, non-profits, government organizations, or are self-employed. Your PhD is in demand across all industry sectors.Read More
As an international PhD looking to get hired in the US, you face additional hurdles when compared with US citizens. But you are tough and you are determined. You earned a PhD in a new country. You made a place for yourself in a new country. You just need to direct that determination and your intellect toward the process of getting hired in industry in the US. And it starts with educating yourself. Here are the answers to 5 questions that international PhDs often ask about the US green card process.Read More
You have the skills that an employer needs in a new hire, but you must know how to showcase those skills and you need to learn how to stay up to date with the latest industry trends. The ‘soft skill’ of commercial acumen or business acumen develops out of a strong understanding of current market trends. By constantly staying informed about what is happening in your industry you can make sound decisions for a company. So you need to start learning about the latest trends in your industry.Read More
In biotech and biopharma the demand for talented employees is high and hiring is up (Forbes and Biospace). But it’s not just biotech and biopharma hiring PhDs. Many other large companies hire lots of PhDs. Amazon employs 14,663 PhDs, Google 9,136 PhDs and Facebook 1,943 PhDs (Paysa). Your PhD is in demand in industry. But in academia there is an oversupply of PhDs and not enough professor positions to go around. In just one year, 54,904 PhDs were granted in the United States alone. That’s a huge number (NSF). This creates a huge disparity in the number of PhDs and the number of available professorships. The math just doesn’t add up, and many PhDs find themselves stuck in a dead-end postdoc making half the salary that they are worth. But doing a postdoc is not the only option for PhDs. There are many industry positions where PhDs are valued, where you can do meaningful, impactful work, and make a nice paycheck at the same time.Read More
As a PhD you can learn things incredibly fast and you have developed numerous transferable skills that translate well into industry. These are the skills that you need to make clear to employers and are the skills that will compensate for your lack of industry experience. According to Balance Careers, Business Insider, LinkedIn and many others employers are more interested in your ‘soft skills’ than your technical skills. LinkedIn reported that 57% of employers said soft skills are more important than technical skills. The World Economic Forum reported that the two most commonly desired core skills are complex problem solving, where 36% of jobs listed this as a core skill, and social skills, where 20% of jobs listed this as a core skill. Employers want people who have these key soft skills. And you have them.Read More
An article published in the Scientist reported that only around 15% of US postdocs secure tenure-track jobs and that the unemployment rate for postdocs is increasing. Lack of opportunity and low pay have made PhDs realize that there is so much more available to them outside of the ivory tower. And, PhDs in these industry positions are happy with their careers. Recently, Nature published a large-scale survey that examined the salaries and job satisfaction levels for PhDs and MSc holders. Overall, the survey showed that respondents were satisfied with their industry careers across the different types of organizations in industry. The survey found that 73% of respondents working for non-profit organizations were satisfied with their jobs, followed closely by 71% respondents working in public and private companies, and 68% of respondents working in government. In addition, those who were working in industry were more satisfied with their work-life balance than those working in academia: 79% versus 68%. The data is clear: PhDs are finding opportunities outside of academia and they are happy.Read More
So far, 2018 has been a fruitful year for the life science sector and the future looks promising. According to the report, EvaluatePharma® World Preview 2018, Outlook to 2024, the spending on pharmaceutical R&D is expected to continue to increase. In 2017, the total worldwide spending on pharmaceutical spending was $162 billion and it’s forecast to rise to $202 billion by 2024. However, we will have to be watchful regarding pressure imposed on the life science industry by external factors, such as: pricing challenges, a new geopolitical climate, and new regulatory guidelines. Each company within the sector is striving to adapt to these changes and challenges. Embracing changes and adopting new technologies and policies that will shape the future of the life science industry will be key to any organization’s success. The industry will also have to continue to deal with the threat of decreasing returns on R&D investments and increasing competition from biosimilars and generics. If you are a graduate student in the life science field and you are eager to pursue a career in industry, it is essential to be aware of current trends and upcoming changes in this sector.Read More
Companies want to hire PhDs. Some of the most highly sought after skills are things that PhDs excel at. PhDs are highly competent in a range of important industry-relevant skills, including ability to gather and interpret information, the ability to analyze data, ability to solve problems, ability to learn quickly, creativity/innovative thinking (PLOSone). Having these skills is a major advantage. But, the study wasn’t all positive. It also showed that PhDs are lacking in some of the key skills required to move into industry, especially at the management level. The skills gaps included: the ability to set a vision and goals, ability to work on a team, and ability to manage others, also known as leadership skills (PLOSone). And, in industry, these leadership skills matter. 35% of hiring managers rejected candidates because they lacked the required leadership skills (SHRM). So, how will you prove to the hiring manager that you have what it takes to bring great value to their organization?Read More
As an academic PhD, you have probably never even heard of an “earnings call”. But, as you transition into industry, it’s important that you become more well-versed in industry concepts — such as earnings calls, because industry needs employees who have good business acumen. 65% of business leaders said that a lack of business acumen strongly inhibits the execution of company strategies (BTS). If you develop strong commercial and business acumen, you can be a great asset to a company. And, listening to earnings calls is a great strategy to develop and improve your business acumen.Read More
On average, an industry research scientist will make $41,000 more per year than a postdoc. 41,000 extra dollars (Glassdoor). In industry, they value your time and contribution more than in academia. But, they also offer you even more ways to earn money. Many companies offer employees stock options. Approximately 9 million employees hold stock options (Society for Human Resource Management). These stock options can result in thousands of dollars of extra wealth for you. But, in order to make the most of the opportunity to invest in the company you work for, you need to have a basic understanding of how it all works.Read More
In this Q&A Evguenia Alechine, PhD discusses what she does as a scientific editor and how this position is meaningful to her. She also discusses how transitioning into industry brought out her management skills and allowed her to develop her strengths even further.Read More
57% of business leaders reported that soft skills are more important than technical skills (LinkedIn). Skills like leadership, communication, collaboration and time management were at the top of the list. Business intelligence also made 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. 41% of Chief Human Resources Officers cited business acumen as the most lacking skill when sourcing new talent (Consultancy UK). Your PhD makes you a highly desirable candidate. And, a solid business understanding will put you right to the top of the list.Read More
Industry employers want to know that you are not just an awkward PhD. 93% of employers rank “soft skills” as essential or very important when making hiring decisions (Wonderlic). If you don’t communicate that you have the necessary transferable skills, you will not get hired. Continuing to develop your transferable skills and showcasing them will not only get you hired, it will help you get promoted once you are in industry. 94% of recruiter professionals think that employees with stronger soft skills have better chances of getting promoted (ICIMS). Bottom line, your soft skills are essential to getting hired and succeeding in industry.Read More
Most women won’t apply for a job until they meet 100% of the job requirements, while men don’t apply until they meet at least 60% of the job requirements (Hewlett Packard). Women are known to suffer from Imposter Syndrome at a higher rate than men, but everyone experiences this feeling. Especially PhDs. As a PhD, you were taught to be extremely critical of yourself and this can lead to a feeling of not being good enough. This is detrimental to your job search. Many PhDs feel unqualified for a job unless they meet 100% of the job requirements. This is ridiculous. 57% of top business leaders rated soft skills as more valuable than technical skills (LinkedIn). Put away your feelings of being unqualified and go get the industry job you want and deserve.Read More
Most PhD students begin their graduate studies with the goal of becoming a professor. They think their path is clearly laid out in front of them: PhD → postdoc → professor. But, this is far from reality. Only 0.45% of PhDs will become tenured professors (Royal Society). That means 99.55% of PhDs follow a “non-traditional” career path that does not lead to a professorship. However, PhDs are highly skilled individuals, with an incredible amount of value to offer employers. Industry positions offer a place for PhDs to find meaningful work outside the university setting. But, even in industry, your career will not be linear. Long gone are the days of spending your entire career, 30 or 40 years, with the same company. The average employee will have 12 different jobs over their working lifetime (The Balance). Stop fighting the urge to move on from your stagnant position and welcome a new and exciting phase in your career.Read More
As a PhD, you have spent years developing your technical skills. You are an expert in your field (there is no doubt about that), but you must have certain transferable skills to succeed in industry. And, believe it or not, you already have many of these “soft skills”. A recent study found that graduate school equips PhDs with many of the transferable skills they need to succeed in industry (PLOS). And, these transferable skills are key to being successful in an industry position. 57% of business leaders identified soft skills as more important than hard skills (LinkedIn). That means not only are your transferable skills important, they are MORE important than your technical skills.Read More
Biotechnology and pharma have been growing steadily for many years now, and there is no sign that this growth will plateau any time soon. Despite a decrease in biopharma market capitalization last year, the industry still saw a 14% increase in the number of employees (Ernst and Young). And this year, the industry has bounced back and is looking strong. In a single year, the biopharma industry added $1.2 trillion dollars to the US economic output (US Department Of Commerce). There is no shortage of opportunity for PhDs in the biopharma industry. But, to beat out the competition and land the industry position you want, you MUST be aware of current industry trends.Read More
Outside of academia, your PhD is valued and in demand. But, industry is very different from academia. Your PI cannot help you get hired in industry because in industry, more than 50% of new hires come from a direct referral. Industry does not care about a recommendation letter from your PI. Your PI is so focused on surviving academia, that they do not have the time or energy to help you get a job. It is a waste of time trying to keep your PI happy. Doing this will not help you get a job. Instead, you should be implementing a job search strategy, and networking with people in industry who can give you referrals.Read More
Do not execute your job search as merely a way to get away from academia. As a PhD, you deserve to have a fulfilling job that you enjoy. To reach that goal, you must take the time to figure out what you want from a job, and then implement a strategic job search to reach that goal. To figure out if you will enjoy a position, you should consider the career growth trajectory for the position, the culture of the company, the salary level and compensation, the work-life balance, and the location. Each of these factors is important in finding an industry position that will leave you fulfilled.Read More
I was a fifth year PhD student, and I had already started looking for jobs, but the thought of having “the talk” with my supervisor about graduation terrified me. I was trapped in a vicious cycle. I was hesitant about fully engaging in my job search because I didn’t know when I would finish my thesis. At the same time, the subconscious fear of, “What will I do after graduation to pay the bills?” paralyzed me when I tried to work on my thesis. But, one thing was crystal clear: I couldn’t leave my thesis up to chance. Here, you will find 5 shortcuts to finish your thesis 12 months sooner.Read More
Not all industry-academia collaborations are the same. The ways in which academic organizations form partnerships with industry can vary in scope, size, and structure. Each type of collaboration offers a unique opportunity for PhDs. These partnerships are certainly creating new roles for STEM PhDs and postdocs. If you are interested in both academic research and commercialization of innovation, or wish to be involved in collaborative projects, then you might be interested in positions involving industry-academia alliances. You will find out about 4 different types of industry-academia collaborations that benefit PhDs here.Read More
Accepting a postdoc as a PhD might seem like the next logical step. It might seem like the only step. The truth is, you do not need to finish, or even start, a postdoc to be successful in industry. In fact, the best thing you can do for your career is quit your postdoc and start transitioning into industry as soon as possible. There are too many PhDs for academia to employ and if you accept or stay in a postdoc, you’re halting your career progress and settling for an embarrassingly low salary and unfulfilling work. Take your career into your own hands and quit your postdoc now. You’ll find out the things your academic institution isn’t telling you about industry work and the top 5 reasons you should quit your postdoc here.Read More
Making the transition from academia to industry requires you to gain some knowledge of how businesses work. It’s not enough to have technical skills. Industry employers don’t care about your technical skills. They care about a solid set of transferable skills combined with astute business acumen. If you’re applying for jobs, particularly in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, you need to add the patenting process to your knowledge base. Knowing that you understand the process and how important it is to businesses to protect their ideas shows you are a business-informed PhD with the company’s success in mind. Learn the 4 steps of the patent filing process in this article.Read More
No one said getting your PhD would be easy. But at one point, there was the idea that it would at least take you into a career that was fulfilling. For many, reaching the goal of their PhD was met with bleak future prospects for meaningful work in the academic halls they had invested so much of their time. So when it’s time to leave academia and fully commit to an industry transition, many PhDs don’t know the best way to do it. It can feel like taboo to talk to your advisor about your plans to leave academia. Read the five things you must consider before announcing your intentions to leave academia and get an industry job…Read More
Many PhDs are miserable and needlessly suffering in a negative academic environment. If not managed effectively, these PhDs can end up sick and depressed. A successful industry transition requires a smart job search strategy and a strong mind. You can stop being a victim of academia and take control of your own wellbeing, and your future. When you decide to overcome the PhD issues that are making you miserable, you will place yourself into a great position to secure a job in industry. Here are 5 common issues that compromise PhDs health and wellbeing and how to beat them.Read More
Your mindset is the catalyst for your job search and the determinant of your ultimate success in landing an industry job. Not just any industry job, but one that you really want that can provide you not only with job satisfaction and fulfillment, but also start your entire career trajectory. Finding the right position requires mental strength and strategic action. If you clearly define your why before you submit a job application and keep an eye on your long-term goal, the unavoidable obstacles that appear during your job hunt will not be as demoralizing. Getting out of academia and securing a position requires the right mindset. Here are three mindset strategies to use in your industry job search.Read More
As a woman with a PhD, you have the ability to move into high industry leadership positions. To ensure your success in these male-dominated environments, you need a strong group of like-minded women in your network and as mentors, but you also need to become skilled in networking with men to capitalize on the opportunities available to you. Building your confidence and recognizing the value you bring to an industry job are your starting points. This article shows you 5 ways to advance your career as a woman PhD.Read More
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.Read More
Scientists are already well-equipped to thrive in industry, but it is up to you to extract the skills from academia and apply them to your roles in industry. There are key differences in industry that every PhD must be aware of. From your interviews, through your industry transition, recognizing these differences will help you excel in your new environment. Here are four key differences between academia and industry that every research scientist should know.Read More
It is not uncommon to lose motivation at various points of the long haul of a PhD or postdoc. In fact, it would be abnormal if you didn’t see your motivation wane at some point. When all the self-pep talks you give yourself don’t work to bring back the passion you once had for your work, there are techniques that can help. Reject the comfort zone of the structure you’re currently operating in and try these seven techniques to help you regain your lost motivation and focus.Read More
There are many exciting things around the corner for the life science industry, giving optimism to PhDs looking for a future in academia. PhDs need to leverage their technical and transferable skills in these key life science trending areas to prove they have the business acumen necessary to succeed in areas of high growth and high demand. Armed with critical knowledge about these 8 trending industry areas, PhDs can target their industry transition with confidence.Read More
Written by 6 successful Associates. Have you ever considered what it’s like to transition into an industry job after spending a lifetime in academia? Have you ever wondered if you could transition into a non-academic career? If so, who better to ask than other PhDs who have transitioned successfully… 1. What is your name, your…Read More
The increasing popularity of online job boards and job sites means that the number of applicants per posting is increasing exponentially. Job descriptions posted for these jobs are a wishlist of traits the hiring manager is looking for, but doesn’t necessarily expect all the applicants to possess. Many PhDs make the mistake of assuming that they must have all of those traits to even apply — so they don’t. To avoid missing out on being considered for industry jobs that you’d be the right fit for, follow these guidelines.Read More
Transitioning out of academia into industry can be an intimidating journey. As a PhD in academia, you already know the bleak future that staying in academia holds for you. You already have a sense that there must be something better out there. You know that there should be a way for you to do meaningful work and get paid well for it. The answer for many PhDs is transitioning into industry. This is because many industry jobs offer a chance to do real science while being supported within a corporate culture designed to foster progress, purpose, and job satisfaction. Here is why now is the time to leave academia.Read More
One of the biggest mistakes PhDs make when transitioning into industry is going into interviews or accepting job offers without doing their research. Many of these PhDs transition into industry without knowing anything about their new company’s structure or culture. As a result, they look naive and unprepared on the job. Beyond that, they can become trapped in an entry-level position. Companies want to hire PhDs that they would feel comfortable working with. If you do not understand the values of the company, no matter your experience or technical expertise, you will be passed over for the job.Read More
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.Read More
You don’t need 48 hours in the day to finish your thesis while also focusing on your career advancement. Just a few simple shifts in your writing strategy, time management, and communication skills will give you the confidence to take leadership of your education and career. In fact, if you can package the challenges in graduate school into learning opportunities to drive you to finish your thesis, you will become the independent, assertive, and proactive person that all employers are eager to hire. Here’s how.Read More
Industry companies rely on many departments to be successful. Not knowing how the industry position you’re vying for fits into the larger framework of a corporation will make you look unprepared and irrelevant. Knowing what transferable skills you can highlight while offering an understanding of the company as a whole shows that you have the business acumen necessary to be a well-rounded asset. Here are 5 key industry departments and how they work together to bring industry products into the marketplace.Read More
Alliances in the biopharma sector have evolved, giving rise to multiple models of open innovation so organizations can reap maximum benefits. As the Open Innovation model becomes more prevalent, it influences how big pharma functions and restructures more broadly. As a result, Open Innovation programs exist today that would not have existed even 15 years ago. Knowledge in this area is essential for any PhD looking to transition into industry. The insider information in this article will help any PhD get hired at companies whose structure aligns with the PhD’s interests.Read More
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.Read More
Trying to find an industry job, satisfying your visa requirements, and completing your PhD as an international student is tough. Maintaining a positive attitude, getting the right information, and being patient will help you minimize the stress and anxiety of an uncertain and lengthy immigration process. Consulting specialized professionals while honing your industry skills and networking prowess will keep you focused and moving forward until you reach your goal of successfully transitioning into industry while juggling immigration challenges.Read More
PhDs are highly qualified and have the ability to land any industry job, but this can take time. Transitioning into industry takes much more than just having your diploma and sending out resumes. You need to learn and be able to deliver a targeted personal brand and marketing strategy to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Here are 5 ways to prove yourself as the top PhD candidate that industry companies want to hire.Read More
PhDs have many core competencies that other job applicants lack. The key is identifying your core competencies and communicating them effectively on job applications, during networking events, and at in-person interviews. Once you’ve identified your core competencies, the next step is to determine their orientation. All core competencies are either people-oriented, systems-oriented, or self-oriented. By correctly categorizing your core competencies, you’ll know when and how to best communicate them. Here are 26 core competencies that science PhDs have over other industry job applicants.Read More
The Association is a program that turns PhDs into confident and successful industry professionals. But why did we start the Association? In short, we wanted to make sure that other PhDs would not have to struggle as hard as we did to get jobs in industry. Let’s face it, PhDs are given little help when it comes to transitioning into alternative career tracks. Many academic advisors are unsupportive, to say the least, when it comes to pursuing anything other than a professorship. Most Universities has little or no funding when it comes to bringing in outside speakers to talk about non-academic careers. As a result, most PhDs end up unemployed at graduation. This is why we created the Association. To make sure that other PhDs would not have to struggle as hard as we did to get jobs in industry.Read More
If you think a postdoc is necessary for getting an industry job, think again. As a PhD, most industry jobs require “less training” than you have and no postdoc experience. Even if the job posting says postdoc experience required, it is often is not required. Many new PhD graduates and master’s degree graduates are hired into these “postdoc required” roles. A postdoc is not required for an industry job. It won’t help you get an industry job or higher-tier job in industry. So, quit lying to yourself. Stop obsessing over titles and publications. Instead, start marketing yourself for your new non-academic career. Here’s how…Read More
Do you know what business and commercial acumen skills means?
Business acumen doesn’t mean the ability to say smart-sounding business words like “costs of goods sold” or “rolling forecast.” It refers to a deep understanding of current industry trends. The more you understand the trends in your industry, the better you can handle business situations. Non-academic industries are highly innovative and evolve at a rapid pace. To be successful, you need to be aware of these trends and the implications each trend has on a specific project. Here are 3 top industry trends to help you develop your business acumen.Read More
Why didn’t someone tell me that a postdoc will do NOTHING for my career?
Have you ever asked yourself the above question? A report from The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited highlighted the shocking truth about doing a postdoc—a postdoc is a “lousy decision” for PhDs. An academic postdoc will neither result in an academic job nor otherwise advance your career. This is why there is a pile up of postdocs around the world. A report by the National Institutes of Health found that there are between 37,000 and 68,000 postdocs in the U.S. alone. The truth is the academic system is hurting your career and the careers of talented PhDs around the world. Here are 3 reasons why academia is ruining PhD careers.Read More
Academia does not take care of its PhD-level employees.
According to a report by the Royal Society, the proportion of PhDs who now manage to secure academic tenure positions is only 1-in-200. That’s right—academia only provides a future for 1 out of every 200 PhDs. The rest are left to fend for themselves. But, if things are so bad in academia, why do so many PhDs choose to stay in academia after getting their degrees? They’ve listened to myths and lies perpetuated by other academics. If you want to transition out of academia, you need to stop believing these myths. Here are 5 myths keeping you stuck in academia.Read More
Why are so many PhDs unemployed? Why do so many PhDs drop out?
The problem is too many PhDs allow themselves to become either reliant on or beat down by the academic system. All too often, the academic system thrives on eliminating an individual’s self-confidence. The system convinces its members that working longer and harder hours in the lab is the answer to all of their problems. Feeling unhappy, unsuccessful, and unappreciated? Work harder in the lab. Getting treated poorly by your advisor? Can’t afford rent? About to lose funding? About to lose your visa? Work harder in the lab. The only way to make it through graduate school and transition into an industry job afterwards is to stop being dependent on the academic system. The second step is to start valuing the same things that successful industry professionals value, like networking, results, and building industry credibility. Here are 3 things smart PhDs prioritize to get hired quickly over other job candidates.Read More
The idea that focusing solely on your thesis and publications will guarantee you a job in industry is a myth. This myth has kept many graduate students from exploring careers and networking with professionals during graduate school. If you put all of your focus on your research during graduate school and neglect to explore other careers or develop skills that are valued in industry, you will leave tens of thousands of dollars on the table. By reframing your graduate school experiences and challenges into learning opportunities, you can make the most out of graduate school and set yourself up to get an attractive job offer in industry. The key is to value networking, transferable skills, and the job search process itself above merely finishing your thesis and wrapping up your publications. Here’s how.Read More
There’s nothing better than a positive principal investigator who inspires and trains you to be a better scientist. At the same time, there’s nothing worse than an abusive investigator who refuses to support your career. If your academic advisor is mistreating you, don’t sit there and do nothing. Don’t keep giving away more and more of your rights and self-respect until you have nothing left. Instead, start setting strong boundaries for yourself and your career. Speak up about what’s happening and begin making plans for your future. Know your rights and know what’s expected of both you and your advisor. By taking the right steps, you can protect yourself and your career from any kind of abuse. Here are 7 steps to take when your academic advisors starts working against.Read More
Technical skills are not enough to get you hired in industry.
You need additional, transferable skills to get hired. You need to develop knowledge and expertise beyond scientific research to set yourself apart from the competition. Most PhDs fail to develop the transferable skills they need to get an industry job. Instead, they make excuses like being too busy in the lab or being under too much pressure from their academic advisor. The truth is there are many ways to learn and nurture transferable skills while still in the lab. The key is that these skills are best learned first-hand, not by reading books. If you want a job in industry, you must find time to engage in activities that will help you identify and leverage the non-academic skills you need quickly. Here are 7 ways to develop transferable skills for industry while still working in the lab.Read More
Postdocs are not valuable in academia.
It’s simple economics. The supply of postdocs in academia far exceeds the demand for them. This makes postdocs essentially worthless in academia. The data don’t lie. Postdocs make less than librarians, mail carriers, and garbage collectors. This means that if you’re an academic postdoc, professionally you are worth less than librarians, mail carriers, and garbage collectors. The end. This can’t be denied. The good news is that in industry you are worth much more. The only way to escape a dead end postdoc is to develop an intelligent job search strategy. But before you do this, you need to drop your poor academic mindset. You need to change your perspective and change what you value. Here are 3 stories of people who did changed their perspectives, took action, and got the industry positions they wanted.Read More
Too many PhDs and PhD students become mentally weak in academia.
These highly intelligent individuals get caught in the vicious circle of accepting less than they’re worth and feeling entitled to something better. Academia can either be a launching pad for your personal and professional growth, or a breeding ground for negativity, isolation, and despair. Ultimately, it’s your call. You must decide what you will tolerate in academia and what you will not tolerate. What will your boundaries be? What will you accept for yourself? What are you doing to improve your situation? How you answer these questions will determine whether or not you become mentally weak in academia. Here are 5 keys to staying mentally tough and using academia as a launching pad for your professional success.Read More
Things may be depressing in academia, but you don’t have to be depressed.
Academia is no longer able to provide PhDs with jobs, funding, or even support. But there are many things you can do to avoid academic stress. You can make a decision to stop giving everything to a system that has nothing to offer you in return. You can decide to leave this broken system and transition into a non-academic career. This decision alone can make you feel better. At the same time, you can work to develop a kind of immune system against the doom and gloom in academia. The only way to develop this immune system is to set up some new positive habits for yourself. Here are 9 habits that will help you overcome academic stress.Read More
Written by Dora Farkas, Ph.D., founder of Finish Your Thesis 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…Read More
If you get depressed or anxious as a graduate student or postdoc, don’t be ashamed.
Getting a PhD and working at the bench is very hard. It requires a high-level of intelligence backed by even more tenacity. If you don’t keep your mindset in check, these things can spin out of control. Remember to take care of yourself and your mind by opening up about your problems, challenging limiting beliefs, celebrating your wins, and going your own way. Do this and you’ll be in a much better place mentally and emotionally. Your career will be in a much better place too. Here’s how to do it.Read More
Academia is broken. The time to transition out of it is now.
The academic career track is now a dead end career track. Hiding from truth will not protect you from this future. The only way to protect yourself is to take steps to change your situation right now. If you don’t take action, you will be one of the tens of thousands of poor, unhappy postdocs who are piling up all over the world. But the biggest reasons to transition out of academia are not in the numbers, they’re in the day-to-day lifestyle that PhDs have to endure. Ignoring these facts will not make them go away. Here are the 5 biggest reasons to leave academia now.Read More
Many academic advisors have too much unregulated power. Most have little to no management experience or training, yet they’re often given complete control over the fate of technicians, postdocs, and graduate students. Don’t ignore the warning signs. If an advisor shows signs of being one of the following 3 personality types, stay away.Read More
If you want a non-academic job, stop thinking like an academic. PhDs stay stuck in academia, not because they are incapable of transitioning quickly and successfully into industry, but because they refuse to trade in their outdated academic mindset for a new, industry-trained mindset. Here are the two biggest reasons some PhDs never trade in their academic mindset and, as a result, never transition into industry.Read More
There is immense value in getting your PhD. A PhD is a high-level achievement and it should not just be handed out to anyone.
That being said, you should not have to endure harassment or workplace bullying to get a PhD. You should not be forced to get some magical piece of data to graduate when your lab can’t even afford a working centrifuge. You should not live in fear and be pressured to stay in a system that does not have the means of compensate you fairly. You do not have to accept this. The academic career track is now a dead end career track. But the biggest reasons behind the death of academia are not in the numbers, they’re in the day-to-day lifestyle that PhDs have to endure.Read More
Tenured positions are disappearing fast. This is a problem because tenure is the only thing graduate school is geared to prepare students for. Now that tenure positions are drying up, students and postdocs are left empty handed.
If you’re a graduate student or postdoc, you are not alone. Everything that’s holding you back is also holding others back. The key is to know that your’e not the only one going through a hard time. Here are 10 things you should keep in mind as you continue down your academic career path.Read More
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.Read More
Even if you want to stay in academia, you should NOT limit yourself to staying in academia. You should identify your transferable skills, develop new skill sets, and position yourself for success at or away from the bench. Whether or not you want to transition into a research, applications, sales, marketing, management, or some other position in industry, the time to start preparing is now. Here are 3 things you can do to prepare.Read More
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.Read More
If you want a high-paying job, you have to come to terms with one simple fact–selling products makes money. Buying and selling is the transaction that drives all business. The closer a particular job is to that transaction, the more money the person doing that job gets paid. This is why most big companies pay their salespeople in the field more money than they pay anyone else. The great news for PhDs is they know a lot about the equipment, reagents, and technologies that companies sell. This knowledge is useful, not just in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries, but in any industry that wants to make money.Read More
If your academic advisor is treating you poorly, don’t just work harder and harder in the false hope that he will be nice to you or respect for it. The hard truth is that some advisors will treat you like dirt simply because they think it will make you work harder. Stop chasing the approval of an advisor who treats you unfairly. And stop being afraid of conflict. You’re not going to lose your position. The only way that you’ll lose it is by doing nothing and letting the system overpower you. Don’t let this happen. Instead, follow these 9 tips to make your situation better.Read More
Many PhD students struggle with getting interviews simply because they cannot articulate through their resumes and cover letters the value that they would bring to a company. If you refuse to actively explore career opportunities in graduate school, it will be very tough to market yourself well during your job search. This is because you will not have a good understanding of what companies are looking for. Given that it takes 6-12 months to find a PhD level position (even longer if you have no professional network), the time to start exploring career paths is now. The following 10 strategies will help you complete your research and plan for your career at the same time.Read More
A job search is not a lab experiment. It’s not a thesis. You shouldn’t learn it through trial and error and it’s not something you should do alone. If you’re looking for your first industry job, the smartest thing you can do is stop guessing what to do. The answers and best practices are already there. There is a right way and a wrong way to perform a PhD job search. Some experiences are normal while others are less than normal. Here are 10 things that will help you determine which experiences are normal and which are not.Read More