Career Choice Looming

Year’s end prompts us to re-examine where we are and where we are headed.

For scientists, the question of future career development usually means choosing between two environments – the focused application of science to the R&D of products, or the fundamental discovery of scientific processes.

Each option has its own pros and cons, and while some people adapt easily to either situation, most are better suited to one environment or the other.

Traditionally, academic, government, or private research institutes explore the basics, often doing discovery without knowing how findings will be exploited. In providing a solid foundation of knowledge for others to build upon, in-depth experimentation is necessary to prove and disprove hypotheses. Academics determine what questions to ask and to what extent they will follow a lead. Publishers and reviewers validate that it’s a question worth asking and whether or not sufficient evidence was provided to support conclusions. Productivity is measured by publications and grant awards.

In industry, teams of specialists work together on multiple projects simultaneously. An individual may contribute to several projects and be accountable to multiple teams. The pace is faster, interpersonal communication is more critical, and timelines are more constrained. Decisions to go forward (or not) are often made without knowing all the answers, and leaps of logic are made and tested without all of the intervening steps being elucidated. Many effective therapeutics are marketed and used beneficially without full knowledge of their mechanism of action! It is a creative and competitive race which could impact millions (or billions) of people and bring in similar dollar amounts for the company.

Industry has room for all scientific personality types but those who succeed best learn how to see possibilities, solve problems, and communicate their results and ideas to others who may not speak the same ‘technical’ language. If you like working in teams, like creative problem solving, and can work with goals and timelines, doing science in industry can be especially rewarding.

But how do you communicate that you are collaborative, communicative, and productive with a C.V.? The truth is . . . you don’t.

A Curriculum Vitae is for academic positions and is part of a larger application package. For industry positions, you can’t just use an industry-style resume template and write, “I am collaborative,” and expect anyone to believe it. These, and similar issues, prompted the development of to help scientists like you transition into, or even advance in, industry.

Created by scientists for scientists, provides the tools you need to re-think and re-present your experience in a way that is meaningful to a hiring manager in industry. Check out the information on our website and if industry is a path you want to explore for your career, invest a few dollars into developing the right document for the job.

Once you’ve done so, use your new industry-friendly resume to apply for positions that do not require prior industry experience. This month’s list of 70+ positions for MS and PhD level scientists can be found HERE.

Send me a Friend invitation to connect and request a 10% discount code for use on the site!

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