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Transitioning from science to business and back again

PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:49 am
by John Curious

How difficult is it to get a Ph.D.-level scientist position after being away from the bench for a few years?

What suggestions do you have? I want to join a pharmaceutical company but I have not had any luck landing scientist interviews lately (I have been away from the bench doing pharmaceutical market analysis, consulting, and other related work for the last three years). My goal is to gain a position in the future that is more closely tied to drug development research--late-stage preclinical/early-stage clinical, ideally.

Do I need to go back and do a post-doc again? Do I try to get a job more in line with my current positon and then try to move within the company to get a bench position?

I highly value the experience I have gained from my various positions and recruiters/HR people I speak with are generally intrigued with my background but things never progress. What can I do to make the transition back to the bench a reality?

Thank you.

Transitioning from science to business and back again

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 5:59 pm
by Bill L.
Hi John,

The answer is: ridiculously hard. Perhaps unfairly so. But the theory is that while you've been away your bench work skills have rusted, and it's not clear whether or not you're still current in your field. Therefore if I'm considering you compared to another 'more traditional' candidate, why take the risk?

One solution is to use your network to get to the PI directly, rather than go through the recruiters/HR people. Have contacts hand your application material to them directly; find a way to get an informational interview with them, etc.

The reason for this is that HR folks won't be able to grill you to see if you still are on the top of your game at the bench. They won't be able to ask you about current research. You won't be able to convince them (and it's not them you have to convince) that you can do the work and return to the lab environment.

Good luck,

Bill L. & Naledi S.