Hosted By

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

Join us as we talk about…

In this week’s episode…

  • You’ll learn why how to combat academic stereotypes
  • Next, you’ll learn about the different stereotypes
  • Finally, you’ll learn highlight your transferrable skills during the interview

Don’t Be One Of These 5 PhD Stereotypes

Indeed recently looked at unconscious bias in hiring practices, and while data is still being compiled for this study, it’s clear that education factors into a hiring manager’s preconceived notions of a candidate.

Today we’re going to talk about how you can combat academic stereotypes during your job search. When most people think of PhDs they think of the typical nerd stereotype you see on sitcoms wearing superhero shirts and angrily writing equations on whiteboards.

Obviously, the first stereotype PhDs are up against is the “brainiac nerd.” Hiring managers assume potential job applicants with PhDs are introverted, awkward, and have bad communication skills.

We all know that guy, so show them you’re not that guy. Highlight sections of your work history that show a lot of collaboration and cooperation between other academic entities or departments. You can also showcase your communication skills by having a concise and clear cover letter and resume.

Our next trope is the “ivory tower” stereotype that says PhDs are out of touch with the real world and don’t have any modern transferable skills. We all know that’s untrue.

Your entire experience in academia is nothing but transferable skills and learning how to interpret the data you’re given to analyze any given situation and understand the outcome. Highlight this during your interview by giving solid examples of how your skills translate into the job description; specifically how your skills will help them solve their problems.

Third, we have the “absentminded professor,” categorizing PhDs as forgetful, overwhelmed, disorganized, and unable to manage their time, making potential employers assume they’d be unable to meet deadlines or effectively manage projects.

Make sure your resume includes deadlined projects and emphasize your dedication to time management.

Fourth is the “theoretical” stereotype or the idea that academics are too focused on theories and not practical applications or outcomes, and overall suffer from analysis paralysis.

When you interview or network, talk about the concrete outcomes of some of your work. Explain that project X produced outcomes A, B, and C, or similar to start dispelling that stereotype.

Our final stereotype is the “tunnel vision” PhD. This myth promotes the stereotype that PhDs are only focused on their area of expertise. Potential employers who are tuned into this stereotype might think you’re not well-rounded and can’t see the bigger picture.

You can dispel this myth the same way you’re combatting the communication concerns – be concise, be personable, and show you know how to work well with others. And, obviously, don’t show up to your networking event or interview wearing a superhero t-shirt.

Ready to start your transition into industryApply to book a free Transition Call with our founder, Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists here.

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