mid to senior level career move

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mid to senior level career move

Postby A. Clase » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:07 pm

Hi All,
I am a mid-senior level professional looking for a slight career change and having a hard time.

I am a PhD microbiologist/immunologist and have been working in the government (biodefense)for about 10 years with the last almost 7 year within the intelligence community. This is making career change difficult because I have no publications/open reputation due to the classified nature of my work.
I have significant experience in program management (PMP certified), supervisory, budget, strategic planning, operations etc but only within the government with no industrial exposure.
I would like to stay in the microbial/infectious disease arena and continue with program management/strategic planning but am having a hard time locating any opportunities that don't require industry/drug development experience.
Does anyone have any advise that does not require starting my career over at the entry level just to get into industry?
A. Clase
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Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:57 am

Re: mid to senior level career move

Postby PG » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:52 pm

I think that you should be looking at your current situation similar to someone who have already been in industry for some time. Some of my best work isnt published or at least not published with me as a coauthor. When applying for something else than entry level industry positions that typically isnt a problem but rather something that is expected.

What you need to do is to figure out what you can say. You may be able to provide examples of problems that you have encountered in your Projects and how you solved them without giving away any classified information. For example "we were working on a Product development Project when we encountered unexpected technical challenges. I was able to successfully lead the team to finding a solution to this problem by organizing a series of crossfunctional meeting with participants from several different countries. Based on discussions with this Group we created an action plan......"

Some areas of government drive activities that are at least more similar to industry than classical academic research such as for example goal oriented Product development. As an example we have successfully recruited scientists from places such as the center for disease Control and have observed that this step have been a smaller change than when we are recruiting people with a pure academic background.
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Re: mid to senior level career move

Postby A. Clase » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:04 pm

Thanks for your reply.
The classification isn't as much of an issue, but more the lack of industrial experience. If a job posting specifically states industrial experience required (for example drug development experience), is someone without that experience even going to be considered.

A. Clase
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:57 am

Re: mid to senior level career move

Postby PG » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:30 pm

That depends on what position you are applying for. In general advertised position from well known companies gets lots and lots of applicants which means that they can be a bit picky with their choice of candidates. On the other hand less well known companies or companies located in geographical locations that limits the pool of applicants cant afford to be that picky but will still have plenty of applicants for advertised positions.

Especially when you dont meet all the criteria in the typical ad you need to look at other options of marketing yourself. Networking is a key part of this. If you can get into Contact with some of the companies that you are interested in working for and make them know who you are you would be in a much better Place when a position opens up. As compared to applying for advertised positions this will be true also if you actually had industry experience since being one of relatively few networking candidates always beats being one of 200 applicants for an advertised position regardless how good your fit for the position is.
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Re: mid to senior level career move

Postby D.X. » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:56 am

Hi A Clase,

Look at Project Management roles as a first step in industry. You can start to target companies that have Infections Diseases Portfolios and or Vaccines, some companies to look at can include GSK and Merck.

Good Project Management skills are desired and your scienitific Background could help. Some titles can be Project Manager and/or or Program Manager. Start Networking with People with those title and or located in a "Global Project Management" function.


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