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What are your future plans?

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What are your future plans?

Postby James Tyler » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:46 pm

I’ll repeat what I said in another thread first to put things into context:
“I have a BS in microbiology. As an undergraduate, I was a research assistant in an academic lab for 6 months. After I finished undergrad, I attended a Ph.D. program for about 1.5 years and then dropped out without getting any degree. In grad school, I rotated in a bunch of labs and joined a lab very briefly. After I dropped out of grad school, about half a year later (in May 2012), I started working at a company as a research assistant, which is where I am now.”

When an employer asks me what my future plans are, I don’t know how to come up with a good answer. I don’t want to go back to grad school to get a Ph.D. I want to work as a research associate doing hands-on benchwork. In a few phone interviews and one in-person interview, I said that I might want to get a Master’s degree in the future so I can still do hands-on benchwork but do more complex tasks and have more independence. I don’t know if that’s a good explanation, though. On my very first in-person interview, I just said that I want to keep doing research as a research associate and I didn’t get hired for that position.

I’m applying for research associate positions in industry and academia. In my situation, what exactly do employers want to hear when they ask a candidate what their future plans are? What do they not want to hear?
James Tyler
 
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Re: What are your future plans?

Postby P. Lues » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:15 am

What you said sounds ok. I doubt you didn't get it because of that. That being said, I wouldn't say much about what you don't want to do and don't dwell on dropping out of grad school. You want to emphasize the positive and minimize the negative. I would say something like: "I attended a Ph.D. program for about 1.5 years but it didn't work out because it wasn't the right fit. I started working at a company as a research associate, and realized that I really enjoy doing hands on bench work and I also enjoy working in industry. I might consider doing a masters in the future if I find the right lab (shows that you are interested in expanding and growth). But for now, I want to continue working as a research associate at a company.
P. Lues
 
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