Industry job talk and career change problem

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Industry job talk and career change problem

Postby AKK » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:43 pm

I am in the last few months of my PhD in geoscience. Towards the end of my undergrad (also in geoscience), I became interested in instrument science and chose my PhD advisor with the expectation that my work with him would be instrument-related. However, that did not work out. I have managed to jump onto a couple of small instrument-related projects outside of my lab group, but on the whole my work has been traditional geoscience research, about which I am not nearly as passionate. Because of this, I have decided to leave academia and am leveraging my small amount of experience in instrument science to land an industry job. To my surprise, the first job I applied for landed me an interview and I am told that I am a strong candidate. However, during my in-person interview, I will have to give a 45-minute seminar about my work. The managers I have talked to so far have told me that they want to hear about my skills related to the job. My advisor recommends that I spend the majority of the talk discussing one of my geoscience chapters to show general analytical skills and expertise in a field, but the connection of the subject matter to the job is abstract at best. I will probably be the only geologist in the room. Is this a good idea?
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Re: Industry job talk and career change problem

Postby E.K.L. » Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:28 pm

I'd go with what the people who will interview you have told you: they want to hear about skills related to the offered job position. If you worked on few instrument-related projects, than use this for your presentation to showcase your skills.

As for being the only geologist in the room, my old biochemistry professor used to say that the keeping your audience engaged is by far the most difficult part of giving a good presentation. Scientists often make the mistake of focusing too much on the technical content, and not enough on how to present it.

(My prof had this funny exercise: imagine you arrive to give the presentation, and the computer doesn't work... Well, you should be still able to deliver this presentation, he'd say.)
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