from academia to industry

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from academia to industry

Postby Ashar » Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:55 am

Dear All:
After having postdoc'd for 8(long??) years in the field of Biochemistry and Biophysics, I'm thinking of moving into the Biotech industry in the UK. The reason mostly being my age(37+) and lack of job stability(i.e., having to wait for the next grant to be approved). I'd therefore like some advice on how different it will be working industry versus academia? Also, what should one look out for when applying in industry, in terms of stability and growth?

It'll be great to hear from you on this.

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Re: from academia to industry

Postby PG » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:58 pm

Before you start apply for industry positions you need to determine for yourself why you want to work for industry. from your post it looks more like you dont want to continue workign in academia which is different. Hiring managers wants to hire someone that wants to work for them and do their best to avoid people who just dont want to do what they are currently doing.
Industry is different from academia but different doesnt mean that it is easier to find a position or easier to have a good career.

My next point may initially look a bit hard but reflects how I would look at an applicant like you unless your cover letter can make me think something else and what I would suggest doing about it.

8 years postdoc is a long time and is probably long enough that it will start causing problems in your job search (with reservation for that I dont specifically know the field of biophysics in the UK). My initial impression of an appliocant with an 8 year postdoc would be that I am looking at an academic scientist who has failed in creating an academic career and this is unlikely to be my first choice. The way to turn this around is to use your cover letter to explain your career choices and goals. For example something like this " following my PhD I decided to pursue a postdoc with professor xxx to allow me to develop my skills in yyy. Three years into this postdoc I got the opportunity to take responsibility for research project around zzz whcih gave me the opportunity to continue to develop my skills in my field of research as well as start developing my skills in leadership by leading the research efforts of one PhD student and a technician."

You can follow up this part with how the skills you have learned can be applied to a problem that the Company is working on and why this is a logical next step in your career. If you can make the 8 years make sense and also to make going to industry look like a logical next step in your career you should have a good base to use for your networking efforts.
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Re: from academia to industry

Postby Dustin Levy » Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:42 am

PG wrote:gave me the opportunity to continue to develop my skills in my field of research as well as start developing my skills in leadership by leading the research efforts of one PhD student and a technician.

To this point, experience gained in managing projects will be very important to highlight in your cover letter, resume, and other communications with a prospective employer. Project management skills would be highly valued and likely a prerequisite for somebody with your years of research experience.
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Re: from academia to industry

Postby Dick Woodward » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:19 am


I would also suggest that you spend a little time with the "search" function of this forum. The academia-to-industry transition has been discussed at length, and how you pursue it depends to a large degree upon what your goals are in making the transition.

This is not meant to discourage people from asking questions that have already been asked; however, reviewing what has been discussed previously can certainly serve as a catalyst to develop more focused questions, thereby adding to the value of this forum.

Good luck.

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