Advice for getting jobs outside academia

I recently (a month ago) attended a seminar about jobs after graduation, and figured I’d share that information here.  This is the information on getting a job outside academia.

Lifestyle Questions

These are questions you should ask yourself when looking for a job:

  1. What would you be happy with? vs what could you do for a few years to get by?
  2. Would you rather do individual or team work?
  3. Do you want a job that’s intellectually stimulating all the time or not?
  4. How do the money and benefits stack up for that particular area?
  5. What are your current skills? (Make a list of your skills and things you are currently doing. Selling yourself outside of the academy is harder.)

Experiences Needed Outside of Your Academic Area

  1. Communication ability to a broad audience (giving the big picture)
  2. Leadership/management skills. (You can get these from clubs, organizations, volunteer groups: don’t just be a member, but have a position in the group.)
  3. Budget management
  4. Networking skills
    • Jobs usually posted within companies before nationally.
    • Seek out opportunities, do informal interviews: call up a company’s HR department and ask for things in the future, even if none are available right now.
    • LinkedIn is a good place to be
    • Internships and Summer Internships: consulting firms will bring people in for 3 days/week or short shadowing positions.

Applications And Materials

You should have a few versions of your resume. A CV generally lists all publications and presentations, running about 5-8 pages. For outside academia, have a resume as well, which runs only about 1-2 short pages. Note: filling out one job application can take 2-5 hours to prepare.

Getting a Job Unrelated to Your Degree

It is possible to get a job outside your degree area.  There are a few things that you can do to help out with this:

  1. Research the company you want to work for.
  2. Find out who they normally hire.
  3. What would you be doing in that position? Ex: identifying problems, research, problem solving, etc.
  4. In your cover letter to that company, say what they are looking for and then how your (different) set of skills match that description.