I have been surprised and incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from friends and colleagues since announcing my departure from our PhD program. Many students have gone out of their way to let me know that they support me and think this was a brave move. To be honest, I never thought of it as being brave, just as something I needed to do to be happy with my life and career.
I have been working non-stop in research for over 4 years now (since finishing my master’s degree), so this break has been refreshing. I have had time to go to yoga, start on some yard renovations, and witness the staggering amount my cat sleeps during the day.
I have also been using this time to search for open positions across the country, in the sections of industry I’m interested in moving into. These searches have made it clear that the skills I have developed working in academic research are not always (or ever) obvious to industry hiring managers. Therefore, I have spent much of my time this past week putting together resumes for the positions I’m both interested in and know I’m qualified for.
However, there is not much room on a one page resume to detail your various work experiences and explain how those experiences have prepared you to fill the available position. This is a difficulty that academic researchers wanting to transition to industry are warned about. In order to overcome this hurdle, academic researchers are most commonly advised to network their butts off, establishing professional connections, starting 12 months before anticipated graduation. Seeing that I don’t have a financial nest egg capable of sustaining me for the next year, I have had to get a little creative.
In an effort to better describe how my research experiences and responsibilities prepare me for non-academic and non-laboratory work, I have set up a new section to this website. Under the “Qualifications” tab above, you can see the different positions I am interested in and qualified for. For each position, I have included my understanding of the common responsibilities of that role, in addition to how my experiences and activities have prepared me for them.
I am including links to these pages in my resumes and hope they will assuage any doubts of my capabilities, or the relevance of my experiences. I know that I am prepared [and qualified] for a career transition and a new life. I’m working now to convince hiring managers of that fact.