I made the transition from working life to doctoral studies. I tend not to think of myself as a “student” and think of my PhD as a full-time job. There are clear differences between doctoral life and professional life (at the end of each month I get a blunt reminder in my bank account that I am no longer working), but there are also many similarities. Many people consider quitting their job to start a PhD, but is it easy and how similar are the two?
I found the transition quite easy, although it took me a few months to fully settle in. I’m glad I took the chance and so far I’ve really enjoyed my PhD. My workplace was very busy and organized, and I found college life to be much more relaxed and a little more…random (in some ways). There is a whole range of “transferable skills” that can be transferred directly from the workplace to a PhD. Professionally learned presentation and organizational techniques as well as many other qualities of working life have contributed to my doctorate over the past two years. In everyday life, what about the similarities and differences between real life and doctoral life?
Identify where your skills match the market
I want you to take a few hours, a full day if possible, and dig deeper into LinkedIn. It’s a great platform, I can’t say enough about how powerful it is for those who have a PhD and can’t find a job.
This platform alone has everything you need to change your life: people, relationships, wisdom, jobs. (Create a profile if you don’t already have one – I have a guide on how to do that here.)
5 things that prevent graduate students from getting a job
You can start starting a new career can be a confusing process, especially if you are entering a new industry. The path is particularly challenging for PhD graduates looking to transition into business. Because the worlds of science and business are very different. It is also the case that most universities offer little or no professional training to doctoral students.
As a result, modern graduate students who are retiring from academia are thrown into the business world without thinking about how to find it. You’ll get some networking tips and be encouraged to keep sending resumes. But nothing happened. In fact, less than 40% of doctoral students will find a job in a company at the end of their studies or shortly after. And less than 20% of life science graduates will have a corporate job after graduation. The truth is that most graduate students will never get a job in business, even if they do everything right. The problem is that they also do the wrong things. The key to starting a successful career in business is learning what not to do. Here are 5 things to avoid:
1. Network only with your competitors.
The deadlock is in your head
When someone (with no industry experience) told me that big companies didn’t want to hire graduate students, I questioned my degree and my self esteem . Don’t let this happen to you.
The idea that a PhD reduces your chances of getting a job in industry is a misconception. In fact, most graduate students go on to industry jobs later, and most are paid more than non-graduate students in the same job. The only way a PhD will keep you from getting a job in industry is to use it as an excuse.