Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist
Image of Isaiah Hankel sitting in armchair

Join Isaiah as he busts the myths, misconceptions and biases that PhDs in industry are faced with in their job search.

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

  • First, Isaiah examines some of the biggest myths about biases PhDs have been warned about in their industry job search
  • Next, he considers what industry employers really think about PhD candidates
  • Finally, Isaiah offers tips on how to position yourself as a lifelong learner and lean into the advantages of your education

From This Week’s Show…

Don’t Let Misconceptions About What Employers Think Of PhDs Hold You Back In Your Industry Job Search

Overqualified. Underqualified. Too independent. Lifetime academic. Unemployable.

These are all terms PhDs have been called by others… or so the story goes. But is that what industry employers truly think?

That all PhDs are entitled know-it-alls that can’t be taught new things and cost too much to hire? That’s certainly what we’re led to believe in academia.

And, as a result, many PhDs don’t apply for positions outside of academia. Sadly, they think they’re not wanted.

But the reality is, industry employers have always sought out PhDs. Today, I’m going to discuss a few myths about what industry employers think of PhDs.

Position Yourself As An Expert Of Learning, Not Someone Who Has Nothing Left To Learn

One of these misconceptions is that you’re seen as overqualified for industry jobs.

Has anyone ever told you to leave your PhD off your resume? Many think that including any degree above a masters will automatically scream “overqualified!” and take you out of the running.

But this isn’t true. In fact, many industry roles require a PhD. Especially top positions. Your PhD is an asset, not a liability. It tells employers that, even when you don’t have the specific technical skills they seek, you have the ability to learn them – and quickly.

Sure, the job posting may not ask for a PhD, but highly driven and highly educated job candidates are always preferred.

Another myth is that PhDs are seen as too independent –  they think they’re better than everyone else and they don’t take kindly to instruction or feedback in their industry career.

The truth is employers see PhDs as self-motivated. And that’s a good thing. Employers are seeking exactly what your PhD has trained you to be – self-motivated and able to work interdependently – by yourself and with others.

Treat Your Lack Of Industry Experience Can Be A Selling Point, Not A Setback

The final myth is that PhDs are underqualified because they lack industry experience.

It’s easy to see yourself this way too when you’ve spent much of your adult life in academia where your skills and abilities are constantly undervalued and underpaid.

But industry employers often prefer to hire employees without previous experience because every company has their own proprietary way of doing things.

Experience doing things a different way can be problematic. Why hire someone you have to untrain before you can train instead of someone who you can train from scratch without any bad habits? This is where your ability to learn quickly comes into play again.

The key is whether or not you’re positioning yourself to be seen as moldable and ready to learn, rather than a know-it-all who has it all figured out.

So ignore the myths, lean into your advantages as a PhD, and go get hired into the right career for you.

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

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