Physics Grad Looking for European Industry Work: Companies to Apply To

In summary, the individual recently completed a PhD in Physics with a focus on X-ray spectroscopy of transition-metal crystals and has experience in soft X-ray synchrotron and solid state science as well as vacuum science. They have realized that academic research is not their long-term interest and have considered pursuing management consultancy, but have decided against it. After writing and defending their thesis, they have become nostalgic for physics and are interested in applying their knowledge in industry. They have applied to a company in the Netherlands, but have not had success and are looking for other potential companies to apply to in Europe. The individual is open to working at Intel, but has heard negative reviews from employees and would prefer to work in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, or
  • #1
(Put in a lot of context, and post is long now. Question and TL;DR are at the bottom!)

Recently finished my PhD in Physics: X-ray spectroscopy of transition-metal crystals, a lot of soft X-ray synchrotron and solid state science, vacuum science etc. I knew after a few months of starting the PhD that academic research, while enjoyable as a project, was not where I was interested in going long term. Personally, I just don't possesses that drive or interest to pursue questions and research for the sake of themselves. I'd toyed for a long time with the idea of doing management consultancy... and have decided against it since writing and defending my thesis.

What changed my mind was 1) writing the thesis was oddly enjoyable in a masochistic sort of way and made me nostalgic for physics and wanting to further apply what I've learned. 2) A friend works for ASML in the Netherlands (EUV lithography, design and engineering) and after hearing what he does I became rather excited knowing I would be very well able for it. 3) If you normalise hours worked in the very best consultancy job with my friend's job, the pay was the same... and I would prefer not to be working 60+ hours per week.

I applied to ASML in three different ways. Directly via their website, through a Dutch agency (Xelvin) and via my friend who handed my CV to his boss. None of them have panned out and I know I'm aiming too narrowly.

What I'm lacking is knowledge of what I can do or find in industry. The only place I know for sure would hire me here in Ireland is Intel, but (if you'll forgive my gripes) it's in my old hometown and I've never met anyone who works there who likes working there. I'd love work anywhere on continental Europe, but having only English the most viable places outside academia are in the Netherlands or Scandinavia... I would work in the UK too though. I'm going to make an open application to Philips in the Netherlands today. Does anyone know of any other companies that I can apply to?

TL;DR: Irish X-ray physics PhD graduate, want to work in industry in Europe. Looking for companies to apply to.
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  • #2

Intel an't a bad gig. Go for a few years and move on if you don't like it. Intel is good resume material.

1. What types of companies should I apply to as a physics graduate looking for industry work in Europe?

As a physics graduate, you may want to consider applying to companies in a variety of industries such as technology, renewable energy, aerospace, automotive, healthcare, and finance. These industries often have a high demand for individuals with a strong background in physics.

2. What qualifications do I need to have in order to be considered for industry work in Europe as a physics graduate?

In addition to a degree in physics, most companies will also look for relevant work experience, technical skills, and personal qualities such as problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and teamwork. Having a strong understanding of programming languages and data analysis tools can also be beneficial.

3. Are there any specific countries in Europe that are known for having a strong demand for physics graduates in industry?

Many countries in Europe have a growing demand for individuals with a background in physics. However, some countries that are known for having a strong focus on scientific research and development, such as Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, may offer more opportunities for physics graduates in industry.

4. How can I stand out in my job application as a physics graduate looking for industry work in Europe?

One way to stand out in your job application is to highlight your technical skills and any relevant work experience you have. It can also be beneficial to showcase your problem-solving abilities and critical thinking skills through examples or projects you have worked on. Additionally, make sure to research the company and tailor your application to their specific needs and goals.

5. Are there any resources or job search engines specifically for physics graduates looking for industry work in Europe?

Yes, there are several resources and job search engines that cater to individuals with a background in physics looking for industry work in Europe. Some popular ones include EuroScienceJobs, Indeed, and LinkedIn. You can also reach out to your university's career center or alumni network for potential job opportunities.

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