Many life sciences professionals enjoyed an academic education, but this doesn’t have to mean that their job will end up in their respective research field. In fact, a big percentage of academics finds a job in a more commercial field of work. There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when choosing a non-academic career.
It is important to be aware of the fact that you have to make your decision when in University, since it is very difficult for Universities to combine scientific excellence and employability training. This basically means that you need to be proactive and find a good mix of both. When the output of your work is good, the University is more likely to accept your participation in courses and seminars on employability skills.
Academic career centers are also great solutions, which have multiple initiatives and courses that bring young researchers in contact with the industry. For professionals who are already graduated and struggling with changing the direction of their career, it is incorrect to think that leaving academia means failure. If you think that working outside academia is a fallback, you’d be amazed how much opportunities there still are for professionals in the Life Sciences.
Always find genuine reasons why a position you’re pursuing is good for you, especially in this situation. Figure out what kind of work you really want to do, how you want to do it and in what kind of environment. Setting yourself up for success outside academia starts with recognizing which non-academic opportunities are a good fit for you. Keep in mind that the work, environments, goals and desired candidate skills can vary widely across markets.
It might be very handy to generate a list of promising organizations to research. These kinds of jobs are also listed on job boards, such as ours. The most suitable job boards are those who focus on a specific niche or sector. Furthermore, it might help if you connect and talk to many people about opportunities outside academia. Networking might provide you with great opportunities. Great examples of connecting to the right people are networking at events or participating in informational interviews, these sessions that will give you the opportunity to learn more about a person and their field.
Think strategically and plan ahead. When it comes to actually getting the job, do not assume that it will be easy! Try to rebuild skills, knowledge and experience, which is relevant for your target job. You might experience a situation where skills are desired, but not required, in these situations always try to become the perfect match. Last but not least, don't be shy and always show what you have! While some organisations may prioritise publications less than what’s typical in academia, many still rely on these to assess your skills.