Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he explores why a PhD gives you an edge on the competition as well as a hurdle to scale in your industry job search.

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah confirms what you’ve already realized – a PhD candidate can and does face certain stigmas in the industry job market
  • Next, he shares three effective ways you can buck this stereotype in your job search strategy
  • Finally, Isaiah reminds you that you must translate your technical skills and accomplishments in the lab into industry language if you want to impress hiring managers

From This Week’s Show…

A PhD Does Not Automatically Guarantee You’ll Land a Great Job After Graduation

I really thought a PhD was my golden ticket to the good life. 

That everything would fall into place –  people would be lining up to offer me a job, I would immediately start making serious bank, and my life would be on the fast track to success. 

Boy, was I wrong. 

I had no idea I was up against a stereotype that made me simultaneously underqualified and overqualified – or as some say, overspecialized. 

While this stereotype isn’t as prevalent now as it was back then, it still persists in certain corners of industry. 

So, during your industry job search, expect to come across a few skeptics and haters.

To prove you have the skills and experience they need, ditch the academic speak. 

For one, industry doesn’t understand publications. 

If your bullet points consist of something like “published 10 papers, presented 8 posters, or presented 6 times” – guess what? No one cares. 

What they do care about are the skills that you obtained from said experience. One trick I like to use is to ask, “which means.” 

You’ve published a lot of papers… which means what? 

It means that you’re an experienced writer and communicator… which means what? 

Which means that you’ve honed your skills in technical writing… which means what? 

Which means that you’ve been able to publish 10 papers. 

The end result is: “A strong communicator with expertise in technical writing resulting in 10 publications.”

Now you’re speaking their language. 

You also want to make sure that you incorporate the keywords included in the job description. 

These are the words that automated resume filtering systems use to parse resumes and the words that hiring managers want to see. 

High-Level Technical Skills Aren’t Enough To Get PhDs Hired Into Industry

Second, build skills outside of your PhD. 

I’m not saying to put in hours and hours into learning a skill that you think will impress employers. 

Find something that you’re passionate about – then it won’t feel like work. 

Say you like writing – start a blog or contribute to an already existing blog that covers topics you enjoy. 

Even writing thoughtful posts on LinkedIn counts. 

When you seek out opportunities outside of your PhD, you not only show potential employers that you’re eager to learn, but you also develop skills that industry appreciates and comprehends. 

Everyone knows what a blog is – writing blogs puts your writing abilities in a relatable context.

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

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