Three actions PhD-holders should take to land their next job

A recent article in Nature Journal [Nature Journal] suggests three key actions PhDs can take to improve their job search:

  1. Be Proactive: Shift from a research mindset to a job-seeker one. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, actively pursue them. Network with professionals in your field of interest, attend industry events and conferences to learn about current trends and make connections, and leverage your research skills to identify companies working on problems that align with your expertise. Reach out to alumni from your program who have transitioned to industry to informational interviews and gain insights into the job market and potential employers.
  2. Hone Your Pitch: While your PhD research is impressive, it’s important to translate it into terms that resonate with industry employers. Focus on transferable skills you’ve honed during your studies, like problem-solving, data analysis, or project management. Quantify your achievements whenever possible. For instance, instead of simply saying you “conducted research,” explain how you designed and executed a complex experiment, resulting in a 15% efficiency gain. Highlight your strong communication skills, both written and verbal, as you’ve likely had experience presenting your research to a variety of audiences. Don’t forget to mention soft skills, like time management, critical thinking, and the ability to work independently or as part of a team. These are all valuable assets that employers seek in new hires.
  3. Adjust Your Tone: Academic writing is dense and often uses jargon specific to a particular field. This can be a barrier to understanding for someone outside your discipline. For your resume and cover letter, focus on clear, concise language that a general audience can understand. Use keywords from the job description throughout your application materials to ensure your resume gets noticed by applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by many employers. Tailor your application materials to each specific job you apply for, highlighting the skills and experiences most relevant to the position. Proofread your resume and cover letter carefully to ensure there are no typos or grammatical errors.

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