How to sell your PhD in Industry
If you are about to finish your PhD or if you have already graduated, then it is likely that you have acquired a particular set of skills. Depending on your personality and project experience the skills would be more or less developed. Nevertheless, the skills you have obtained are there waiting to be pulled out on the surface.
Of course, I am not talking about your laboratory skills where you are probably a master by now in pipetting PCR tubes, changing cell medium or using complicated and expensive software. I am talking about the other skills where most people in academia forget or they are unaware you have them.
The main skill I would like to address is your ability to ‘perform a task‘ under a specific deadline. Let’s explain this further. When you started your PhD, together with your supervisor decided the aim of the project. It is not important if the initial aim altered a bit from its course, but what is important is that you had a target, you found the potential obstacles, provided solutions and got results. And if you have already gained your PhD, I would say you performed this task successfully. This is what you sell to industry. Your ability to perform a task and get a result.
If you are more like me and not a super genius, I would say that you ‘ve learned how to deal with failure during your PhD. When an experiment didn’t work you had to come up with a solution. Therefore, there is no failure unless there is a plan B. Learning how to squeeze your mind and generate ideas is something that many companies would pay for.
So, the message to take home from this article is that apart from your hands-on experience in the lab what you also need to sell is your ‘mindset‘. Recruiters in industry have slowly started seeing this potential in PhD graduates but is only when you believe in it that will make the difference!
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