Industry Transition Spotlight: Seila Selimovic, PhD
An interview with Seila Selimovic, Ph.D.
What is your name, your full job title, and the full name of the company you work for?
Seila Selimovic, Health Science Policy Analyst / Program Officer, National Health Institute.
What is your biggest or most satisfying career goal you’ve reached since transitioning into industry?
Working independently as a Program Director – advising on scientific breakthroughs and evaluating research progress.
What’s been your biggest learning experience or Ah-Ha moment since transitioning into your new role?
My new work environment is open to people with very different personalities. The right leadership enables all of us to thrive and excel. So, leadership can make or break a work experience (this one definitely exceeds all my expectations).
How is your current industry position different from your academic postdoc or experience as a graduate student?
I have a 30,000-ft view of the scientific research. The big picture is what drives my work, not the details of a particular experiment. There is much more variety in terms of the research topics I come across, and I have to be very well versed in all of them. In a way, I am more of a generalist now, while still keeping up with the details of my own scientific field.
If you could go back in time, to before you received your job offer, and give yourself one piece of advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Be persistent and never assume anything. Don’t assume that someone doesn’t want to talk to you or answer your e-mail. Chances are, your e-mail got lost in their inbox or their assistant did not give them your message.
What was the most memorable moment for you (so far) as a Cheeky Scientist Associate?
I finally learned how to write an industry resume and cover letter. Besides that, what sticks out the most for me are the many helpful exchanges with other Cheekies. It is impossible to pick just one, so I’d say the most memorable thing for me is the continuous and unwavering support and advice from the entire Cheeky community.
What do you see as the next step in your career?
I am applying for the next level job in this organization, the Health Scientist Administrator job (Program Director).
How has the Association and the Association’s members helped you continue to achieve your career goals?
Accountability, with respect to continued networking and learning how to incorporate that into my current job structure would be highly useful. In particular, I would like to figure out how to incorporate industry contact into my job.
Now that you’ve spent some time working in industry, what is the biggest takeaway(s) you’d like to share with those who are still executing their job search?
Networking is key. I got the interview for this job solely through networking, but I got the job because of my credentials and my previous experience (and excellent recommendations).
Also, a positive attitude is helpful to both you and your colleagues. Whatever the day brings, a deliberate positive outlook makes everything easier and helps you make the best out of every situation.
Keep an open mind and try to learn as many different things as you can, as you want to become indispensable to your organization. Your colleagues and supervisor tend to notice and value that. It really speaks to the culture of the organization, so make sure it’s a good fit for you. I feel very lucky that I’ve chosen the right place in terms of job content and culture, and that they’ve chosen me.
To learn more about how you can transition into an industry career like Seila, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.
Isaiah believes--from personal experience--that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life, it’s a clear sign that you need to make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.
Isaiah is an internationally recognized Fortune 500 consultant, CEO of Cheeky Scientist, and author of the straight-talk bestsellers Black Hole Focus and The Science of Intelligent Achievement.
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