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Transitioning to industry

  1. Apr 24, 2010 #1
    I am defending my PhD thesis in Physics in May.

    While I've done some solid work that has pleased my advisor and collaborators, I feel that academia is too "cut throat" for me.

    I'm looking to transition into industrial research/development/engineering. I find the idea of making things that directly benefit people to be motivating. Is there any general way to go about transitioning into industry?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2010 #2
    Apply :smile:! I recommend finding labs in industry that you might be interested in working with and seeing what they have available. See if you can get in contact with anyone to ask about the type of work they do. It's easy enough to find major research centers online, like: http://ge.geglobalresearch.com/careers/niskayuna-ny-usa/working-here/.

    Not all opportunities will be located in R&D departments, so you can expand your search to engineering departments or smaller companies or whatever you're interested in. Companies in finance and other industries may also be interested in your skills.

    Make sure you tweak your resume and do all of the proper networking for industry jobs. Online applications are usually black holes. You probably want to work with career services at your school and with any industry contacts you have or make.
  4. Apr 24, 2010 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    I am concerned that you are graduating in a month and have not made any plans (as far as your post indicates). Personally, it has historically taken (on average) a year for me to find a job, from the time I started looking for one.

    What skills do you have that someone else would pay you for?
  5. Apr 24, 2010 #4
    Thanks for the link!!!!
    I see some jobs I think I'm pretty qualified for. You say "Do all the proper networking" like it's something I ought to know how to do. Neither my advisor nor collaborators are well connected out side our small subfield, and I realized a little too late that I should have been more proactive in meeting people. I've contacted people out of the blue, but my "charm skills"..... Let's just say you can only expect so much from a physicist. I've read some books on networking, but I feel like I'm either coming off too pushy, or not pushy enough.
  6. Apr 24, 2010 #5
    Andy Resnick: I've been looking on and off for a year. If I want a postdoc in my field, I don't think finding on would be a problem. However, I think my field is dying.... We have had one post doc in our lab, and don't think he was able to find a job afterward. In short, a post doc in my field would be career ender. I would do a postdoc if I knew that my employer had connections in industry.

    "What skills do you have that someone else would pay you for?"
    I have 6 years experience with UHV equipment, equipment in a typical clean room, signal processing, programming/coding/scripting in about 8 languages. There's more, but I feel weird posting my resume on a thread.
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