Tips & tricks for your job search (from a scientist in business)
Mariana really enjoyed doing research, but never strived for becoming a professor or PI. However, like most young researchers, she was not exposed to other career options – so she embarked on an expedition for the right fit herself. Thinking strategically about your career path is something she suggests doing during your PhD – check out her tips below.
While hard skills seem to be more appreciated in science, it was soft skills that turned out to be really important for Mariana. She build on and expanded them specifically in science communication – she participated in a TED-talk, in science slams, and wrote a well-clicked piece on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn: 7 lies the academic world keeps telling you
- It’s Time to Burst the Academic Bubble | Mariana Cerdeira | TEDxHUBerlin
Today, she found the job she wanted to do in pharma consulting.
Mariana on Consulting
»I did not leave science, I left academic research.«
- Consulting is one of many possible career paths for researchers
- Also called “Business/Management/Strategy Consulting”, this field defines best strategies and solves problems that companies (or other organizations) have
- There are not only the big, well-known companies, but also small boutique consulting firms focusing on topics, such as Life Sciences and organizational development, or sectors (public, private, nonprofit)
- The “consultant profile”: extrovert, socially confident, pro-active, ability to work more than 9-5
- Meeting and working with clients while helping in delivering solutions is very rewarding
Tips & and tricks for your job search
1. Get informed
… about what’s out there & get informed about YOURSELF. Be honest to yourself: what am I good at? What’s important to me?
GSO resources on career strategies:
- How to build a career strategy and why this might help you
- I Did Not Become a PI – Now What?
- Career Strategies in Crisis: How to reframe your career path
- A helpful tool for finding available job options is MYIDP.sciencecareers.org.
2. Narrow down your options
Let’s say you find consulting interesting, apply filters using keywords, such as a location, a field, English-speaking options, …
You can do that easily using LinkedIn as a research tool.
3. Target your options
Use LinkedIn to write direct messages to someone with a relevant job profile or to someone who works at a company you’re interested in; ask them for an informational interview – it’s better than a standard email, because your CV is right there.
- For the informational interview ideally meet in person or via video call.
- Be respectful of your interviewee’s time and ask specific questions.
4. Know you transferable skills
Skills you acquired in academia are useful in other sectors – but the wording might be different.
- time management,
- analytical skills,
- building collaborations,
- being resilient etc.
5. Take the advice that works best for YOU
You might want to adjust your CV, and go with the gut feeling when exploring career options.
- 2 Pieces of Advice that helped me in my Career Transition by Anne Schreiter, PhD
- Tipps für einen gelungenen CV für nicht-akademische Jobs (GER)
6. Just TRY – a “No” you already have
The more you reach out to people the more comfortable you get and the more you learn!