Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel
Isaiah Hankel
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Academia is cut off from industry… But if your PI can’t help you, what can PhDs do to get hired?

They can get a referral – Isaiah is going to tell you how.

This week on the Cheeky Scientist Radio Show, Isaiah shares his own experience as a former jobless PhD struggling in a recession. Sound familiar? The good news is that you can find career success as a PhD, even in a recession like this one. Isaiah is proof that it can be done, and if there is one single way to get a job right now, it is to get a referral first. How do you get a referral? 

That’s what this episode is all about.

In this episode, Isaiah digs deep into the networking processes that PhDs need to get a referral. In the current economy, referrals get jobs. Period. Networking may not be your favorite, but if you value your industry career, it’s absolutely necessary. You don’t have to love it to be good at it though. Obtaining a referral follows a formula you can memorize and apply to get results. But not everyone knows this formula…

Let’s cover these expert secrets for getting job referrals.

Show Excerpt #1: Academia Can’t Save You

After the financial crisis of 2008, I started looking for a job. I had uploaded hundreds of resumes. I realized I needed an industry network. I didn’t have one, and panic overcame me. I reached out to my PI and I said, “Is there anybody in industry you could introduce me to?” 

And to my surprise, he said, “No, I don’t really know anybody in industry.” Those were his exact words: I don’t really know anybody in industry. I couldn’t believe it because, like many PhD students or postdocs, you think of your PI or professor as kind of like a demigod. It seems like they have all-seeing awareness and all kinds of connections to anybody in your domain, whether it’s science, engineering, humanities, etc. And for him to tell me that he could not connect me to people in industry…

It really woke me up to the fact that I had wasted many years by not nurturing or building a network. I asked every member of my thesis committee about industry connections, and they gave me the same answer as my PI: I don’t really know anyone in industry. One of them knew somebody doing an industrial postdoc, which is a topic for another radio show. But I do not recommend an industrial postdoc. Instead, just get into that full industry position where the company will keep you in a full-time position. Many companies do not keep on their industrial postdocs…

Show Excerpt #2: The 5 Major Categories Of Informational Interview Qs

We’re going to look at the types of informational interview questions you can ask based on the level of professional intimacy. We’re going to look at the 5 major categories, and then we’re going to look at them in different stages: the beginning, the middle and the end. First, let’s look at the five major categories of informational interview-style questions. The first is preparation. How did they learn about and get the position? How did they get into it? With this line of questioning, what you’re really asking about, is their preparation for the job. Their transition is what you’re asking about…

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

Want to learn more about the secrets to getting an industry job referral? For access to our live training webinars, exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the waitlist for the Cheeky Scientist Association now.

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