Moving From Academia to industry

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Moving From Academia to industry

Postby Baya » Sun Jan 16, 2005 6:32 pm

HI everyone,
I got PhD in biochemistry, Since 2000. I did one year post doc, and now I work as research assistant, in academia. I was looking for an industry position as analyst in R &D like analyst since one year..but nothing..every time it's the same reply YOU DON'T HAVE AN EXPERIENCE IN INDUSTRY..I don't what,s the alternative to get that....
ANY suggestions??

Moving From Academia to industry

Postby Kim » Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:30 pm

What exactly do you mean by working as a "research assistant"? It may be your problem. Research Assistants are usually for PhD students or technicians. A PhD working as "Research Assistant" is going to impress no one.
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Moving From Academia to industry

Postby Val » Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:45 am


In the eyes of industrial employers, "PhD" means "specialised in a too narrow field and having high salary expectations". What industrial employers are looking for (as opposed to academic employers), is the ability to solve a bunch of different problems without getting too deep into any of them, just enough to satisfy the client.

"One-year postdoc" means that you have too short experience to be an R&D analyst. An employer would expect that you went through several years of work with responsibilties such as timely completion of a project on a scarce budget. On the way, you would interact with workers with different responsibilities along the whole production chain. Thus, you know how the system works, which is the evidence in the eyes of the employers that once in the job, you will quickly become productive. Industrial employers have a much shorter attention spand and smaller imagination than academic employers... they need to see that you have already worked in the same (or very similar) position and was successful at that.

So... the suggestion to you would be to work for several years more, get several years of experience on your CV. This will allow you to tweak your application and CV for any advertised position showing you have had the required experience.

I would love to hear from the other contributors if I am wrong with this assesment and advice.

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Moving From Academia to industry

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:38 pm

Like Kim, I don't know what that title means, but to mean it sounds as if you have some work experience doing technician level lab assistance. This isn't going to open the doors.

When employers write "Needs industry experience," they are saying something about what kind of person they are looking for. Much of what they are saying with that comment has to do with understanding the way that industry "ticks." They DO NOT want a person with the needs of many of those in academia, to rise up as an independent scientist. Instead, they are looking for people who have some sense of teamwork and who have experience working with multi-disciplined groups of people on timelines and on projects.

Find out what technical skills that employers are looking for in your field, and determine some way to integrate these skills (and the interpersonal ones mentioned above) into your background. Val is right about you needing to "tweak" your application to companies.

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