How To Get Hired In 3 Months Or Less When You Have A PhD (5 Action Steps)
I had a client named Sarah years ago who needed to get hired in less than 60 days.
She was very concerned, and rightly so, that this wasn’t possible. She had her own reasons why she had to get hired so quickly, as everyone does. There were family obligations she had to pay off. She had been unemployed for a few months at this point. And she was about to lose her visa. This was an urgent, uncomfortable situation to say the least.
When I first talked to Sarah, she was frantic. She couldn’t keep a thought in her head and kept repeating the same thing to me over and over. “Maybe I should try to go back to academia.”
“Is that what you want?” I would ask.
“No” she answered every time. But she was afraid.
The problem was she did nothing for her job search other than randomly apply to jobs posted on LinkedIn, using the same resume every time. She had no strategy. She was just stressing out and living in her head, playing out the worst case scenario over and over. There was no action plan. She didn’t know what to do first. She had no idea where to start.
Eventually I was able to slow her down enough to help her see this kind of time-restricted job search as a type of experimental protocol, or like a lesson plan. There was a sequence that had to be followed.
As she started to follow this sequence step by step, taking action on the easy but repetitive (and often boring) tasks, she started to get responses from employers, then interviews, and then she got hired. She got hired in 57 days from the time we started talking.
Now she’s in a great career and she’s already been promoted once. All because she submitted to the sequence of a time-restricted job search.
Beat A Time-Restricted Job Search By Submitting To Sequence
One of the questions we get asked the most from PhDs is how to get hired in a short timeline.
Often these questions come from PhDs who graduated and are now unemployed. Or from international PhDs who have three months on their OPT to find work.
Regardless of the reason for your time-restricted job search, there are some key action-items that you want to do right away. The key is doing the right things in the right sequence.
Just like you can’t do the last step in a protocol or lesson plan first and expect the correct result, you can’t reach out to someone for a referral before your LinkedIn profile and resume look professional.
You also have to balance following up assertively without being too aggressive, and never putting all your hopes into one company. As a recent report by U.S. News, you should avoid being too aggressive in following up and should never stop pursuing other opportunities just because you got one interview.
What should you do then? If you want to get hired in a short timeline, you need to do the right things in the right order. By following the below six action items in order, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of getting hired in three months or less.
6 Action-Items That Will Get You Hired In 3 Months Or Less
1. Define your career goals.
To expedite your job search, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your career goals. Determine the industry, role, and type of organization that align with your skills, interests, and long-term aspirations.
This clarity will help you focus your efforts and target the right opportunities, increasing your chances of finding the perfect fit within a shorter time frame.
2. Optimize your application materials.
Your resume, cover letter, and online profiles are your first impression with potential employers. Ensure that they are tailored to highlight your PhD-level skills, accomplishments, and relevant experiences.
Showcase your transferable skills and demonstrate how your research background can add value to the industry. Utilize keywords and industry-specific language to pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and catch the attention of hiring managers.
3. Network strategically.
Networking is a powerful tool for accelerating your job search. Leverage professional platforms like LinkedIn to connect with industry professionals, attend virtual conferences, and join relevant groups.
Reach out to alumni, mentors, and colleagues who can provide insights, referrals, or informational interviews. By building a strong network, you can tap into the hidden job market and access opportunities that are not publicly advertised.
4. Conduct informational interviews.
Informational interviews are invaluable for gaining industry insights, expanding your network, and uncovering hidden job opportunities. Reach out to professionals in your target industry and request a brief conversation to learn more about their roles, career paths, and the industry landscape.
These conversations can provide valuable guidance, help you establish connections, and potentially lead to job leads or referrals.
5. Ace your interviews.
Preparing for interviews is essential to stand out from the competition. Research the company thoroughly, understand their mission, values, and recent initiatives.
Practice answering common interview questions, highlighting your relevant experiences, and showcasing your problem-solving abilities. Additionally, prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer, demonstrating your genuine interest in the role and the company.
6. Follow up strategically.
After each interview or networking interaction, follow up with a personalized thank-you note or email. Express your gratitude for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position. This simple gesture demonstrates professionalism and keeps you top of mind with hiring managers.
Securing your dream job in three months or less is an ambitious goal, but with the right strategies and mindset, it’s achievable. By defining your career goals, optimizing your application materials, networking strategically, conducting informational interviews, acing your interviews, and following up strategically, you can expedite your job search and land the position you desire. At Cheeky Scientist, we believe in your ability to succeed, and we’re here to provide the guidance and support you need to make it happen.
ABOUT ISAIAH HANKEL, PHD
CEO, CHEEKY SCIENTIST & SUCCESS MENTOR TO PHDS
Dr. Isaiah Hankel is the Founder and CEO of Cheeky Scientist. His articles, podcasts and trainings are consumed annually by millions of PhDs and other professionals in hundreds of different countries. He has helped PhDs transition into top companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Intel, Dow Chemical, BASF, Merck, Genentech, Home Depot, Nestle, Hilton, SpaceX, Tesla, Syngenta, the CDC, UN and Ford Foundation.
Dr. Hankel has published 3X bestselling books and his latest book, The Power of a PhD, debuted on the Barnes & Noble bestseller list. His methods for getting PhDs hired have been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Nature, Forbes, The Guardian, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine and Success Magazine.More Written by Isaiah Hankel, PhD