Career Transitions - Graduate Student & Postoctoral


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This presentation is directed toward graduate students and postdoctorates that are considering careers outside of academia. It identifies some myths that affect many PhD candidates in their career decision-making, as well as some perceptions about working in industry. The presentation focuses on transferable skills developed during a graduate program, and presents some ideas to enhance the career search.

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Career Transitions - Graduate Student & Postoctoral

  1. 1. Graduate Student & Postdoctoral Career Transitions The NovoCareer Institute TM modern people. modern tools. modern careers.
  2. 2. Contents <ul><li>Myths </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative Paths </li></ul><ul><li>Perceptions about Industry </li></ul><ul><li>Transferable Ph.D. Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Closing Remarks </li></ul>
  3. 3. Myths
  4. 4. <ul><li>You must publish papers to get a job. </li></ul><ul><li>You won’t be able to publish after you leave academia. </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t lead your own research group outside of academia. </li></ul>Academic Myths
  5. 5. <ul><li>You must lead your own academic group to be a success. </li></ul><ul><li>You’re most likely not good enough if you left academia. </li></ul><ul><li>Your skills are not transferable to fields other than your research topic. </li></ul>Doctoral Myths
  6. 6. Alternative Paths to Meaningful Work
  7. 7. Alternative Paths from Academia (not to scale) WYHNDY – What You Have Not Discovered Yet.
  8. 8. Perceptions about Industry
  9. 9. <ul><li>Advisors may not encourage other careers, especially the unfamiliar ones. </li></ul><ul><li>Your name most often will not be recognized for the work. </li></ul><ul><li>You might have the impression that industry is not flexible. </li></ul>Why Avoid Industry?
  10. 10. Industry can be Attractive <ul><li>Industry typically provides a larger paycheck than academia. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not necessary to re-apply for grants or write proposals for funding. </li></ul><ul><li>More resources are typically available. </li></ul><ul><li>The number of published papers does not define success. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Being Realistic About Industry <ul><li>Company cultures vary significantly, as do supervisors. </li></ul><ul><li>Established companies may offer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>work-life balance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>career development opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Less stable environments such as startups require long hours in exchange for the chance of a large payoff (some day). </li></ul>
  12. 12. Transferable Ph.D. Skills
  13. 13. PhD Skills <ul><li>Your skills as a PhD are transferable and may be applied to nearly any field. </li></ul>Leadership Sales & Marketing Project Managemt. Technical/ Analytical Finance Writing Public Speaking
  14. 14. Analytical Skills <ul><li>Forming and testing hypotheses is both creative and systematic . </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical and systematic problem solving abilities are mandatory in any successful company. </li></ul><ul><li>You had to plan your research, analyze results, and create conclusions. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>You had to sell your research results to critics even before your thesis defense. </li></ul><ul><li>You advertised your results/capabilities in your publications and other communications. </li></ul><ul><li>You had to market yourself to get to where you are right now. </li></ul>Sales and Marketing
  16. 16. <ul><li>You wrote and/or edited papers, reviews or abstracts. </li></ul><ul><li>You prepared presentations for meetings or conferences. </li></ul>Technical and Creative Writing
  17. 17. <ul><li>You have been heavily involved in teamwork and collaboration. </li></ul><ul><li>You may have managed projects and (in many cases) equipment. </li></ul>Project Management
  18. 18. Finance <ul><li>You may have written a grant or proposal for funding , which included budgeting. </li></ul><ul><li>You may have managed a budget for your research, or for your research equipment. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Leadership <ul><li>You may have trained and/or mentored junior PhD students. </li></ul><ul><li>You may have taught a class. </li></ul><ul><li>You may have organized a meeting or conference. </li></ul><ul><li>You may have mediated discussions. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Public Speaking <ul><li>You presented your research and results to diverse audiences. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Closing Remarks
  22. 22. <ul><li>Know what you want; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>at least identify what you don’t want </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>remember that someone will set your goals for you if you don’t have your own </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Set goals then define your objectives. </li></ul>Set Goals
  23. 23. <ul><li>Find a mentor or coach besides your current advisor; to help you </li></ul><ul><ul><li>discover options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>make your experience more efficient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>avoid repeating common mistakes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Always search for role models. </li></ul>Alternate Mentors
  24. 24. <ul><li>Talking to people outside your field is liberating and can be an eye opener. </li></ul><ul><li>Experiment by volunteering or freelancing in an area of interest to you. </li></ul>Networking
  25. 25. The NovoCareer Institute Visit: