SciPhD Workshop: Preparing for Professional Careers
On Friday January 13th, 2017, CNSPY co-sponsored the SciPhD event with the Office of Career Strategy and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. This event featured Randall Ribaudo, PhD, who has experience working in academia, biotechnology, consulting, and government. He created the SciPhD workshop to help scientists transition to careers in industry. There were over 130 graduate and postdoctoral attendees.
This interactive 4 hour workshop covered many facets of transitioning from academic to non-academic work and pursuing non-academic positions. Dr. Ribuado emphasized that when applying for a non-academic position, we need to understand the major differences between the academic and non-academic scientific environments and overcome stereotypes about PhDs. For example, when applying for biotechnology positions, you may consider emphasizing your understanding of making a profit for the company, patents, and improving existing products. This will demonstrate that you understand that the goals of a biotech company are fundamentally different from those in academia and that you have thought about your role within the company. Additionally, you should emphasize important non-technical skills that you have gained throughout your PhD, such as leadership, communication, and collaboration. Which skills are most important to emphasize can be found by carefully assessing the job announcement. Dr. Ribuado went through the basic steps for this process and provided worksheets that can be used for collecting and organizing the information. The information gleaned from the job announcement should be used to tailor your resumé to the position you are applying for and to prepare for your interview. During the workshop, interactive exercises helped the attendees practice the shift in focus and language that is required when applying for industry jobs. However, Dr. Ribuado mentioned that the most effective way to get a job interview is through networking and having someone inside the organization recommend you.
In total, this workshop covered many of the important steps for preparing to transition into a non-academic career and practical tips for being successful outside of academia. CNSPY would like to thank SciPhD for an excellent workshop.