Job security outside of academia?

2018-10-02T02:29:29+00:00December 30th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

As I present to PhDs on college campuses and conferences, graduate students express their concern about the lack of job security in nonacademic careers.  The academic career path comes with a sense of job security because job options are clearly set. You either get a postdoc fellowship, visiting professorship, lecturer position, research position, tenure track job, or the dreaded adjunct or contingent position (but that's another topic for another day). Take note of the ratio of temporary to long-term positions among these options.  Perhaps what PhDs are really saying is that academic careers come with a high level of job predictability, rather than job security. Nonacademic careers are the vast unknown for many graduate students who may not have spent much time in career planning, career exploration or out-of-classroom/department/university experiences.  When beginning to look at careers outside the academy, PhD career changers tend [...]

Take Advantage

2018-10-02T02:29:29+00:00December 19th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Some of the most common concerns I hear from PhDs considering a career outside of academia go something like this: How do I know what kind of job I would be good at? What company will want to hire someone my age with little “real world” experience? Who will serve as references for me when all my references are from my lab or dissertation committee? These concerns are valid for any graduate student who wants to be a viable candidate for industry careers. However, the divide between the academic and the workplace can be bridged with one or two well-placed volunteer, intern or part-time work experiences.  A little experience goes a long way to helping you get your foot in the door in a new field. You’ve heard this advice before but you aren’t sure where to find such opportunities and the [...]

How to present yourself to employers

2018-10-02T02:29:29+00:00December 5th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , |

Yesterday, I participated in a cool Twitter chat led by Jennifer Polk - @phdtolife - on the subject how academics talk about themselves to employers and nonacademic audiences.  Academics from ABDs to postdocs to tenure track professor weighed in with questions and comments on positioning and branding.  You can check out the Storify compilation here or you can follow the entire Twitter chat by searching for hashtag trend #withaPhD. Some of my tips from our chat: Don't lead with "I have a PhD in..."  - This type of introduction quickly derails any introduction or interview.  Your listener begins to focus on your degree rather than the skills, interests and values you bring to the position.  The conversation can go down a deep rabbit hole really quickly, especially if you have not learned to quickly describe your research in terms that nonspecialists find [...]

Quick Tips for The Entrepreneurial Academic

2013-08-29T12:17:41+00:00August 29th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Here are a couple references for those interested in making extra money with your side gig or pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors as an alternative to or alongside a career in academia. Some of you have told me about your hobbies or side gigs which include photography, building websites, editing, a business idea with a social mission, and more. These resources will help familiarize you with cutting edge approaches in taking your idea and turning it into a reality even if you have little resources. You'll notice that new technologies are at the core of how these people work in their entrepreneurial projects. Check them out and let me know what you think! Young Entrepreneurs Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only membership organization comprised of hundreds of the world’s most elite and successful young entrepreneurs. Our goal is to provide entrepreneurs [...]

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