From Academia to Business

In our recent webinar, we discussed how to leverage a strategic approach to transition from a career in academia to business. Our two guests – Eva-Maria and Silvia - talked about their career path, how they figured out what to do after academia and how they found and landed their jobs.
Bild von Eva Maria Reuter
Eva-Maria Reuter
Medical Writer @ AMS Advanced Medical Services GmbH
Silvia Keppler
Technology Engineer @ DöhlerGroup

Key quotes from Eva-Maria and Silvia


On the start of their job search:

»At the beginning, I was not really sure what I am good at, or if I was good enough for a job outside of academia. I can really relate to these problems. Just start somewhere with something that sounds interesting and go from there«  – Eva-Maria Reuter

On networking:

»The most important thing is really to use your network, to talk to people. During the job hunt, so little is under your own control. The most unlikely things you do might end up in a job – so just do everything and talk to everyone.«  – Silvia Keppler


On required skills:

»Whenever I got a rejection, I thought I am not good enough. But it’s not like that. We have so many skills from our PhD and the Postdoc and actually, it is all there. You have acquired enough skills for a job.« – Silvia Keppler

On job interviews:

»What is most convincing to people is to tell a story.  For every skill, I wrote down one, two, three stories that proved the skill.« – Silvia Keppler

On career advice:

»The first post-academic job does not need to be your dream job – it does not need to be perfect. You can always go somewhere else if you do not like it.« – Eva-Maria Reuter

Webinar Part 1: From the decision to the job search

(00:00) At what point did you decide to transition to another field? How was the decision-making process while you were still in academia?

(03:52) Once you made the decision – how did you find companies or job titles?

(06:36) What exactly did you do on LinkedIn?

(08:21) How did you find your employer? Did you already know that the company exists?

(11:21) Did you talk to people you did not know? How did you identify and approach them?

(12:21) What kind of questions did you ask?

Webinar Part 2: The application process

(00:00) Now you are in a situation where you found a job that you like. Did you have the feeling that you fulfilled all the requirements in the job description?

(03:51) How do you discover hidden strengths?

(05:44) How do you convince employers that PhD is relevant experience and not “school”?

(08:51) Do you think that age is a “dealbreaker”?

(09:50) What are your learnings about creating application documents, such as cover letters?

(12:50) What about additional certifications?

(14:00) How much did you learn on the job vs. preexisting skills?

(16:50) Thoughts on how to get feedback on your CV?

(17:25) Do a Postdoc or better leave academia after the PhD?

(18:57) How to prepare for an interview? What were your learnings?

Part 3: Final thoughts

(00:00) At what point did you talk about money?

(03:42) What about work-life balance?

(06:00) How long was the process from the idea of transitioning to industry until signing the contract?

(07:25) Best and worst career advice?

You can also watch the complete webinar: