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Job Skills Applying for Jobs as a Phd student

  1. Dec 28, 2017 #1
    Hello all,
    Hope the holidays are treating everyone well. I am currently finishing up my first year in a top medical physics PhD program. I currently hold a BS and MS in physics and am starting to consider careers in industry. I am looking for careers in companies like Lockheed, Northrop G, and others. However, when applying should I apply as a current Phd "student" or should I apply as a recent MS graduate? I am unsure what is the best route to make me look the most competitive. I am in good standing, on fellowship and currently an RA. What do you all suggest?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 28, 2017 #2
    Perhaps you should clarify your intent. So, you plan to drop out of your medical physics PhD program, and get a job in the military aircraft industry? Is that correct?
  4. Dec 28, 2017 #3
    That's correct. If the salary/job was competitive then I would consider leaving my program
  5. Dec 29, 2017 #4
    What does it mean to "apply as"? Is there a dropdown box on the submission form you have to choose from?

    Because from what I can tell, that's all true: You're a recent MS graduate who is currently in a PhD program but is exploring alternatives.
  6. Dec 29, 2017 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    My advice would be to list only the recent MS degree. Since you are not very far along in your PhD studies, it wouldn't do much good in an application, and it could harm your possibilities of getting a job.
  7. Dec 29, 2017 #6


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    Education Advisor

    The above advice is sound if the OP is looking for a full-time job with the intent of leaving the PhD program. If he/she is looking instead for an internship, then mentioning the PhD studies shouldn't be an issue.
  8. Dec 29, 2017 #7

    Dr Transport

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    Gold Member

    The salary for a position with a major air-framer (Boeing, Lockheed Martin or Northrup Grumman) , or for that matter any company like that will exceed the salary and benefits you are getting as a PhD student.
  9. Dec 30, 2017 #8
    I would leave your PhD student status on your resume. Your desire to leave the University can be explained during a phone screen. It's better than leaving it off and then explaining an apparent gap in employment/status, which does not make you look good.

    I hope you are not going to tell them that you may or may not leave the University depending on the offer. That makes it sound like you are not serious about leaving. If they make you an offer, you can decide then whether it's worth your while. But don't try to negotiate the salary before you even have an offer. That would make you look arrogant.

    You can give another (truthful) reason for leaving, like research is not what you want to be doing, or something along those lines.
  10. Jan 1, 2018 #9
    I agree with the above. Transparency is important. If you hide the fact that you are currently a grad student, you will eventually be outed. As mentioned in the above post, an apparent gap will probably come up during an interview. But, assume it doesn't. Further assume you're given an offer, and you accept. There will then be a background check, and it will come out that you are enrolled as a grad student. Your lack of candor would likely raise red flags (and might lead to withdrawal of the employment offer). So be truthful, and have good reasons why you have decided to drop your current grad school program and why you want to work in the particular industry sector (other than you're shopping around for a good deal, and you'll switch if the price is right).
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