Written by Jeanette McConnell, Ph.D.
Not only was I exhausted, but I felt very lost and uncertain about the future.
As I handed over the copies of my thesis, the receptionist said I should take a photo with my finished work.
I could hardly smile.
This document, that I had spent the last several years working on, seemed pointless. And, now that it was finished, I was completely unsure of what to do.
I knew what I didn’t want, though.
I didn’t want to work in a lab and I didn’t want to stay in academia.
But, what else had my PhD prepared me to do?
I felt unqualified for every single job.
But, I needed money, so I got a job as a server in a cafe.
Needless to say, I was not happy or satisfied with working in a cafe, but it seemed like the only thing I was qualified to do.
In a moment of clarity, I decided to ask other people what they thought I was good at and hoped they would say something besides, “serving coffee.”
The answers were eye-opening.
A few people said I was good at science, but most of the answers had nothing to do with science.
People told me I was good at writing, presenting, talking to people, teaching, organizing teams, persuading people, staying upbeat, thinking logically, dealing with conflict calmly… it was so surprising to hear these things about myself.
Especially when I was suffering so intensely from Imposter Syndrome that I barely felt qualified to work in a cafe.
But, the biggest thing I realized was that I learned many of those skills during my PhD, even though they had nothing to do with science.
A while later, I learned that these skills had a name — they are my transferable skills.
With a new-found confidence, I began highlighting these transferable skills during my job search.
I was finally on the path to a meaningful career, all because I realized the immense value of my transferable skills.
Why Your Transferable Skills Are Essential To Getting Hired In Industry
A recent report by LinkedIn found that 57% of business leaders think that “soft skills” are more important than technical skills.
The top skills they want to see in a job candidate are leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management.
They do not care if you are missing a few technical skills.
Companies can quickly train new employees in the techniques they want them to know, but it takes time to develop good communication skills or leadership skills, etc.
This makes the transferable skills you have developed as a PhD more valuable than the technical skills you’ve learned.
And, you have developed many important transferable skills.
According to a report published in PLOS, PhDs graduate with transferable skills that lead to a successful industry career.
Skills like communication, data gathering and interpretation, project management, innovation…
You just need to identify the transferable skills relevant to the types of positions you are interested in and then highlight these skills throughout your application.
You already have the skills required to transition from academia to industry.
Learn to leverage these skills, and it’s just a matter of time before you get hired into an industry position where you can do meaningful work and be well-paid for it.
Cheeky Scientist Top 9 Transferable Skills Articles
PhDs are qualified for a huge range of industry positions.
But, PhDs often mistake their technical skills as their most valuable trait.
To get hired and succeed in industry, you need transferable skills.
But, what are your transferable skills and how can you use them to get hired?
Here are the top 9 Cheeky Scientist articles about transferable skills to help you understand the value of your transferable skills and position yourself as a top job candidate...
Your transferable skills are the most valuable thing you have to offer industry employers.
Throughout your PhD, you have developed a wide range of transferable skills that are highly desirable. Instead of focusing on your technical prowess, you should be leveraging the relevant transferable skills you have in order to demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the job.
Every industry position requires transferable skills, from a research scientist position in biotech, to a management position in a non-profit.
As a PhD, you must leverage your transferable skills in order to get hired into the industry position that you deserve.
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