Transitioning from Academia to Industry

Although transitioning from academia in pursuit of careers in the industry seems non-typical, it can be achieved with ease if a number of elements are considered in line with WHAT you need to make the right move, WHEN to move, WHERE to move to, and HOW to be relevant there.

1. Learn about the organization

It is important to understand the industry you intend to work in—where you fit and how you can be productive there—if you want to excel there. Tailor your CV and all other materials to each application.

2. Focus on skills

Employers are much more interested in transferable skills than a publication records. Ensure you highlight all your skills in your job application and CV.

3. Develop teamwork skills

Team building is the best way to work; that is the way most industry jobs thrive. Unlike the academic world which values individual achievements above all else, a successful project in an industry depends on the team working together. So, it is important to connect well with other colleagues in order to have an ideal team.

4. Place your key skills

Your skills are either a technical academic (specific to your research, hence not useful everywhere—developed during your doctoral programme), technical applicable (useful everywhere e.g. problem-solving), or non-technical applicable (not job-specific—useful for almost every job e.g. time management).

5. Gain additional skills

You need to stand out from the crowd by acquiring soft skills especially leadership, commercial awareness, and interpersonal skills. These are skills many PhD holders are usually lacking in; so, possessing them takes you a step ahead of your counterparts.

6. Prepare for the interview

Ensure you are prepared for the interview. Practice over and over again until you are sure that you are good to go. Be ready to answer difficult questions, including personal ones and “Why should we hire you rather than someone else?” Endeavour to be as convincing as possible in your responses. Talk about how you handle challenges. All in all, ensure you are cool, calm, and collected.

You are just a step away from landing that job!

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