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Author Topic: Non-Academic Job Search/Experiences Thread  (Read 54272 times)
yumyumdonuts
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2011, 10:56:11 PM »

The fact that you have a doctorate and got a TT position means you have the qualities that lead to an interesting, successful life.  Keep that in mind and look for new adventures.

polly_mer, I want to thank you for your post and for letting me realize that reading and analyzing other people's blogs/websites on leaving academe is not where I should focus my attention. (I was hoping that I would be able to get some insights on transitioning to a non-academic career through those blogs/websites.)

I greatly appreciate your upbeat message and would hug you for making my night if I could!
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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2011, 9:37:54 AM »

The fact that you have a doctorate and got a TT position means you have the qualities that lead to an interesting, successful life.  Keep that in mind and look for new adventures.

polly_mer, I want to thank you for your post and for letting me realize that reading and analyzing other people's blogs/websites on leaving academe is not where I should focus my attention. (I was hoping that I would be able to get some insights on transitioning to a non-academic career through those blogs/websites.)

I greatly appreciate your upbeat message and would hug you for making my night if I could!

You are very welcome.  As I tend to go back and forth between academia and not-academia, I know a good bit of the struggle.

Hang in there, and do do the informational interviews people mentioned upthread as well asreading of biographies to help you figure out what the next step could be.  Lots of people successfully make the transition from academia to a great life.  You can be one of those people.
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yumyumdonuts
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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2011, 1:32:29 PM »

I must be the only person currently looking for non-academic jobs. Please keep me company!

Anyhow, I got very excited this morning because I received a phone interview out of the blue from one of the many applications (by now upwards of 20-30) industry applications I've submitted. It ultimately wasn't a good fit because they needed someone right away and it required a cross-country move. I've also received 2 more email rejections from industry positions since the last time I posted.

I've also started applying to established non-profits in the east coast that fit my research skill-set so we'll see how that goes.

I am continuing to apply to about 2-5 federal jobs a week.
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zharkov
or, the modern Prometheus.
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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2011, 6:51:34 PM »

It ultimately wasn't a good fit because they needed someone right away .....

I spent my "first life" in Corporate America, and generally speaking, when industries advertise for someone, they need someone rather soon.  So, in general, if they put out an ad in December, they want someone to begin in January or February at the latest.  Maybe even March, but not May or June.  An exception might be large industrial employers that just hire bunches of people every year and may be less concerned about having to wait a couple or more months for someone to start.  Another point, for many companies that work on a "fiscal year begins in January budget," they will advertise more in December and January, so keep looking.   

If there is an area in the country you'd like to work in/move too, find out who the largest 15 or 20 or 30 employers in the area are, and begin checking on their websites.  Find out which would be most likely to hire people with your skills.  Get a sense of the sort of openings they have.  There is also nothing wrong with sending in a cover letter and resume "blind" to HR, not for a specific job.  Although it was some time ago, I got a job at a Fortune 100 company that way.  (The form letter that told me they'd keep my resume on file and contact me if they found a position was -- surprisingly -- truthful.  But it was a few month later.)
 
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__________
Zharkov's Razor:
Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2011, 7:03:07 PM »

It ultimately wasn't a good fit because they needed someone right away .....

I spent my "first life" in Corporate America, and generally speaking, when industries advertise for someone, they need someone rather soon.  So, in general, if they put out an ad in December, they want someone to begin in January or February at the latest.  Maybe even March, but not May or June.  An exception might be large industrial employers that just hire bunches of people every year and may be less concerned about having to wait a couple or more months for someone to start. 

Another exception may be the federal folks who hire a lot of people with doctorates and particularly in areas where people often move in and out of academia.  Those searches seem to move at a glacial pace so that six months or more may pass before you are called for an interview, so that applying now to start at the end of your current contract is reasonable.

Otherwise, yeah, the industrial people who aren't looking for people to fill academic type jobs (I'm told those jobs in my field are making a slight comeback) want someone to start immediately.

Yumyumdonuts, I would join you in working through the search, but I'm running dual searches in academia and non-academia with this month being crunchtime for the academic searches.
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merinoblue
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« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2011, 12:31:20 PM »

Seeking advice from non-academic job seekers.  

I've just learned about a non-profit org that I'd like to work for.  The website is deliberately low-key: they don't advertise jobs or solicit applications, and they provide no contact info or bios for the staff.  They're clearly trying to discourage unsolicited applications.

Should I:

1) write a brief query email explaining who I am, and ask whether they would like to see a CV,  or
2) write the cover letter outlining my skills and interest in working for them, and email that with my CV, with a short message explaining why I'm sending them?

I'm leaning towards the second, as it gives them the option of seeing my CV without rejecting it up front. (It's a US non-profit based in NYC, and my sense is ballsy is the way to go.)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 12:34:10 PM by merinoblue » Logged

Defender of whimsy
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2much2do
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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2011, 8:35:07 AM »

I'd lean towards the second.  Your goal is to tell them how great you are, with the hopes that in some meeting in the future, somewhat says "What about that Merinoblue?  I think that would be a good match with this job!" Or, that they will file the CV and look at it as a position opens. If you give them the option of seeing it, they may say no, and then you are no further ahead.  Good luck!
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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2011, 8:50:24 AM »

I also vote for the second.  Busy people who aren't looking for new talent will likely not be pleased about a multistep process.  However, busy people who are intrigued by a concise email and only have to open an attachment to read a bit more may read a bit more.
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I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
merinoblue
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« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2011, 9:21:50 AM »

Thank you both for your comments (and reinforcing my instinct).  The second approach it is.
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Defender of whimsy
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dr_prephd
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« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2011, 10:44:44 AM »

I must be the only person currently looking for non-academic jobs. Please keep me company!

I am also.

I gave up on the TT search (for now). I did a TT search in '09-'10 for the '10-'11 year, and I only got one offer (in a place I COULD NOT see myself). I got a TON of interviews, though, so I was worn out and discouraged after that search.

I've also eliminated the TT (for now) because I'm not in a position to move anywhere. A recent divorce has made the idea of leaving my support network very unappealing. So, for now, I'm staying put, but luckily I'm in a place where there are a ton of jobs. I just need to find the right one (and soon, as savings are running out QUICKLY).

I've been searching for the perfect job since '08 (while being employed & in grad. school). I've kept a spreadsheet and some basic stats. Essentially I've worked out that I get 4 interviews for every 10 applications, and from those interviews I get slightly more than one offer. It doesn't seem to be the worst ratio, but the applications and interviews do take time and energy away from finishing the dissertation.

I have one offer for a position that begins in January. The offer includes meager pay but fabulous benefits. I have a couple other interviews scheduled for this week. I've always had good luck finding jobs in December, so I'm hoping that luck holds true this time around.
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alleyoxenfree
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Countin' all these posts as publications


« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2011, 11:05:41 PM »

Thank you both for your comments (and reinforcing my instinct).  The second approach it is.

There is a third possibility, depending on your job circumstances, which is to seek out volunteer, part-time, or consulting opportunities.  Call their volunteer coordinator if you believe in their cause and want to know more about their organization.  I got my first NGO full-time job because I worked, post-grad school, for minimum wage as an intern for three months.  At the end of it, a full-time job came open elsewhere in the organization and I was a known quantity in terms of ability to work with everyone.
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merinoblue
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« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2011, 11:26:33 PM »

There is a third possibility, depending on your job circumstances, which is to seek out volunteer, part-time, or consulting opportunities.  Call their volunteer coordinator if you believe in their cause and want to know more about their organization.  I got my first NGO full-time job because I worked, post-grad school, for minimum wage as an intern for three months.  At the end of it, a full-time job came open elsewhere in the organization and I was a known quantity in terms of ability to work with everyone.

Thanks for that suggestion. It's an approach I would take with other organizations, but it won't work with this one.
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Defender of whimsy
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frog111
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« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2011, 8:15:54 PM »

Regarding federal positions and applications, it has been my experience for research jobs, the position is often not posted until the group has a good idea of the desired skills, much akin to a faculty search.  Universities get 7 years to evaluate a tenure track professor, while in the gov't, you go from probationary to career conditional in a year, and career in 3.  There's a reason why virtually no one gets fired in federal service ;(  I have been in DoD for 16 years, doing research, and it is interesting to read the fora and see the many parallels between federal jobs and academia.  Minus the students.

For positions where the skills are more mainstream, and don't require a PhD, the process is indeed glacial, and in some cases you will never know whether your name made it past the automated screening based on keywords and skills.  One time, we got someone hired in 4 months, and HR thought it was great we moved so fast.
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southerntransplant
A man on a porcupine fence and a
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No recess.


« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2011, 10:50:51 PM »

Regarding federal positions and applications, it has been my experience for research jobs, the position is often not posted until the group has a good idea of the desired skills, much akin to a faculty search.  Universities get 7 years to evaluate a tenure track professor, while in the gov't, you go from probationary to career conditional in a year, and career in 3.  There's a reason why virtually no one gets fired in federal service ;(  I have been in DoD for 16 years, doing research, and it is interesting to read the fora and see the many parallels between federal jobs and academia.  Minus the students.

For positions where the skills are more mainstream, and don't require a PhD, the process is indeed glacial, and in some cases you will never know whether your name made it past the automated screening based on keywords and skills.  One time, we got someone hired in 4 months, and HR thought it was great we moved so fast.

I hear you. Before moving to academia I was at a DoD lab for 11 years as a Fed and a year postdoc before that. We had to have an excellent idea of who we wanted prior to advertising and getting the paperwork in order.

When I was a post doc and getting ready to move to the Federal job at a different campus of the same lab, I had to move all my belongings into storage because my offer letter was not issued before my lease ran out, and so was not authorized for a federal move. I finally got my offer letter 2 days before my post doc was up and a week before reporting for my first day of work.
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frog111
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« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2011, 1:44:51 PM »

Southerntransplant's experience is not unusual.  I was a post-doc initially, and it got extended by 2 months to allow me to have a paycheck while the hiring process dragged along.

Informational interviews work for trying to find a federal job as well. 
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