Hosted By

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

Join Isaiah as he explains what a dead-end career is and shows you what you have to do to get out of it in you’re in one

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

  • First, Isaiah discusses how you can recognize whether you’re in a dead-end career
  • Next, Isaiah discloses the solution to get out of a dead-end career: knowing how to market yourself
  • Finally, Isaiah shows you some simples ways in which you can market yourself

From This Week’s Show… 

What’s A Dead-End Career

If you’ve been in a position for years – whether it be an academic postdoc, adjunct teaching position, professorship that’s going nowhere or even an entry-level industry role – and have yet to acquire any new skills, move up the proverbial ladder, or take on new challenges, you’re in a dead-end career.

And while this situation is frustrating for anyone, job stagnation is particularly hard on PhDs. After all, you spent years acquiring knowledge, fine-tuning your skills, and keeping up with the latest innovations.

For what? To have no impact? To stay where you are? Unappreciated. Underpaid. Stagnant. If you find yourself in this situation, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent Joblist survey found that almost three quarters of employees don’t see any opportunities for growth in their current role.

How To Get Out Of A Dead-End Career

First – know you can escape it. You may feel exhausted by a job that takes up so much of your time and so little of your mental capacity… but there are ways to market yourself out of a dead end.

Take full advantage of training opportunities and communicate this training to companies. Some institutions will provide you with in-house training or give you access to larger training platforms.

But if you’re at an institution that doesn’t do this, look to reputable continuing education programs offered online or in person.

To decide which training programs are right for you, study the developments in your field and determine which skills you’ll need to stay relevant. A good way to do this is to identify several jobs that you’ll be targeting in your next career move and take note of the most frequently listed skills.

If you’re aiming for an analytical role, identify the most popular statistical tools, brush up on your biostats, or learn a new programming language. While you won’t be able to tout an official degree from these courses, they’ll show employers your willingness to gain new skills.

That’s the point – to do something that shows you’re a lifetime learner and eager to advance, and then communicate these facts to new employers. This is what I mean when I say you have to market yourself out of your dead-end career. You have to take action and communicate that action.

Additional Ways To Market Yourself

You may be surprised at what opportunities are available – you just have to ask. You should also focus on adding to your transferable skills like communication, leadership, management, and so on.

You can jump at any chance you may have to give a presentation or write an article or review for your institution’s website or newsletter.

You can also work with a mentor. This can be someone you work with, or maybe someone who has the job that you want. A good mentor will provide you with ideas and suggestions that perhaps you haven’t thought of.

They may also provide you with insight into your target company, or a referral to someone at your target company.

Lastly, be intentional. This is especially true if you’re isolated in academia or in any hybrid or remote setting.

The ivory tower or increasingly isolated and remote workspaces don’t always afford casual conversation so, to make yourself visible, schedule purposeful meetings where you can discuss your interests with mentors, coworkers, and potential colleagues.

And again, make sure you’re communicating all of this activity – or, rather, marketing all of this – to employers on your resume, LinkedIn profile, during networking, and in interviews.

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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