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NavigatingI was recently gifted with a copy of “Navigating the Path to Industry: A Hiring Manager’s Advice for Academics Looking for a Job in Industry,” by M.R. Nelson.  It’s a slim volume, building on the author’s experience as a biotech hiring manager to provide a step-by-step outline to transitioning from a MS/PhD/Postdoc to your first industrial job and beyond.

The advice is both specific and practical, guiding you from the nebulous “discover what you want to do” to fielding inappropriate questions about family planning.  Little of the advice is earth-shattering, but it’s rare to see so much common sense in one place. The author should also be commended for finally offering a number of concrete benefits to signing up for LinkedIn, for example:

“Job-seekers considering different fields or making a career change [ie. from academia to industry] search their LinkedIn network to identify second level connections who might make good people to have informational interviews.  The standard procedure is to email your first level connection and ask to be introduced to the person with whom you want to have an informational interview.  Since you are being introduced by someone he or she knows, the new contact is more likely to agree to a meeting.”

Chemjobber provided his own impressions last month, which helped put the book on my radar.  Like him I highly recommend you get your own copy, and would go so far as to say it should be required reading for ~2nd year graduate students, regardless of their career aspirations.  That early in grad school the future is far from certain, and it takes several years to build a good network [1].



[1] Worst case, much of this book’s advice works equally well for finding collaborators.