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break between postdoc and industry job

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break between postdoc and industry job

Postby M.J.P. » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:06 pm


I am going to be leaving my current postdoc position soon because my fellowship funding is coming to an end. I have been looking for an industrial job since last Fall, but haven't had much luck, mainly because 1) of my research (which I won't elaborate in this post) and 2) I'm limiting myself to a certain geographical location for family reason. When my time is up here, my plan is to move back to my family and continue to search for a job while at home. Obviously I have no idea when a job may come up, so there might be a good amount of time that I may not be working. I'm wondering how such a "break" in my CV may affect my record? I have considered a second postdoc close to home in the meantime, but that might be even harder to come by.
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break between postdoc and industry job

Postby Emil Chuck » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:18 pm

What are you going to do during your break? If it's a question of dealing with family-related concerns (caring for parents, siblings, children, or yourself), you should mention that in your cover letter. If it's just to sit around and catch up on episodes of your favorite TV show, you may not want to do that.
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break between postdoc and industry job

Postby Derek McPhee » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:19 pm

In several threads in the forum participants have counselled against second postdocs for an industry career. Your post raises other questions though: with your research experience will you ever be employable in industry? - are there any industries near the location where you are going that are or might be hiring? You are doubly handicapped in the job search if your research topic may not be of interest to anyone and you are constrained as far as relocation goes. A better way of filling a gap might be scientific temping (where you may even pick up some usable skills too).
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break between postdoc and industry job

Postby M.J.P. » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:54 pm

Thanks for such quick replies. To answer the first question, no I'm not taking this time off for any personal or family reason. It is only because I haven't found a job yet, but I can no longer stay at my current postdoc position because my fellowship is coming to an end (and my current advisor does not have the funding to support me further). That's one reason I'm considering a second postdoc to fill the gap, rather than just sitting around at home.

As for my research experience, I feel I'm fairly employable in the biotech industry, and my current advisor has a very strong track record of placing people in the industry. Unfortunately his contacts are mostly on the east coast, and I'm moving to California. There are a lot of biotech companies out there. It may just be bad timing -- there are just so few entry level positions available right now. I would be more worried if I get invited to a lot of interviews and people are turning me down because they don't like my research experience, but that's not the case.

I'm not familiar with temp jobs for scientists, is there a good place you can recommend that I should look?

Thanks
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break between postdoc and industry job

Postby Emil Chuck » Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:07 pm

Okay... if that's the case, don't take the second postdoc. If you want an industry job, you have to commit to getting a foot in the door for industry. It may be a bit difficult with the geographic factor, but it is not impossible. It's not the first degree of contact that your PI has with industry, it's the third degree... the people who those people know and whom they know. Biotech and pharma are not so geographically isolated that they only know people in their backyards.

Of course, there is also something to be said about applying for jobs from far away... it actually makes things difficult. Industry people have jobs to fill today and now, and they're not really interested in flying someone in like academic search committees are wont to do. Therefore, take the time to go to professional meetings now and talk with people in the business firms you want to work in. Have your advisor introduce you to people who can give you insight on the companies you might want to look into and maybe get some connections to west-coast leads.

But if you can find a good part-time or temp position, it would really be a great opportunity to give yourself a feel for "industry life." That may be your higher priority.
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break between postdoc and industry job

Postby Derek McPhee » Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:14 pm

Kelley Scientific Resources, Aerotek and Yoh Scientific come to mind. The former advertise on the forum (at least I have seen their ads on it). It is an option that keeps food on the table and for some people, leads to permenent jobs and/or good networking opportunities.
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