The Non-Academic Job Search: Target the Job, Tailor the Approach
When venturing into the non-academic world for the first time, how do you know which career path would be a good fit and then how do you land a position in the field of your choice? To help demystify the job search process for scientists, Laura Stark Malisheski, a neuroscientist-turned-career counselor, came to the New York Academy of Sciences on May 12, 2011 to present the in-depth workshop The Non-Academic Job Search: Target the Job, Tailor the Approach. Using her more than ten years of experience counseling graduate students in the sciences, she taught the audience how to network their way into a job through informational interviewing and how to craft a resume tailored to the desired position.
Stark Malisheski advised that if you are exploring various career options, you should conduct informational interviews with people in the fields that interest you. During the workshop she covered the kinds of questions to ask in order to get a better sense of whether a particular job meets your skills, values, and interests and to get a better understanding of steps you can take to ensure you're qualified for the position. Of course, connecting with the person you want to interview with will require breaking out your networking skills. Stark Malisheski presented tactics to overcome anxieties about networking and debunked myths about this career skill. She also included an exercise to practice introducing yourself. The session ended with general informational interviewing guidelines and etiquette.
Stark Malisheski noted that once you have identified the job you want, it's critical to be able to craft a resume tailored to that position. Most academics are familiar with traditional CVs that tend to be a laundry list of all your academic experiences and accomplishments, but they often have less experience with the one- to two-page resumes or CV/resume hybrids preferred for non-academic jobs. She used sample CVs and resumes to show the different ways these documents can be tailored to highlight your strengths and qualifications for various types of jobs. Explaining the motivation for these adjustments, she remarked that while you may know that you're an excellent candidate for a particular career path, you still need to be able to communicate this to potential employers in a format that will resonate with them.
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Tailor the Approach: Example Resumes and CVs
Example CV for tenure-track academic position: Ellen R. Joseph
Example CV for industry research position: Keshia V. Thomas
Example resume for venture capital position: Anjan L. Subramayan
Example resume for non-profit consulting position: Maria T. Arroyo
Example CV-resume hybrid for patent law position: Isaac T. Abraham
Monica Kerr, PhD
The New York Academy of Sciences
Laura Stark Malisheski, PhD
Hailing from the Office of Career Services for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University Laura Stark Malisheski holds a PhD in neuroscience from Yale University and completed post-doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania before making a transition to career counseling. She has mroe than ten years experience counseling graduate students and PhDs through the challenges of graduate study and into careers, both within and outside academia. Laura specializes in working with those seeking academic faculty positions and those considering career transition beyond academia.
In addition to career counseling, Laura coordinates an extensive line-up of career events for graduate students and presents many career and professional development workshops. She has spoken at numerous professional conferences, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Microbiology, and the American Chemical Society and has written career articles for media outlets such as ScienceCareers.org and the Chronicle of Higher Education.