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February 01, 2017

10 Career Tips From Recent Science Grads

Preparing to enter the workforce in a science-related career after graduation can be a little scary—even if you’ve done your due diligence. Your professors and advisors will offer their expert take on the industry, but chances are it's been awhile since they were out in the field. Today we’re looking at advice recent science grads gave Silicon Republic about what they’ve learned since graduation.

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Real World Reality

  • Stop Fixating on a Specific Degree
    If you’re pursuing a science career, it makes sense to major in something science related. But as one biotechnology graduate discovered, none of her jobs have required a specific science degree.
  • Expand Your Skill Set
    It is a stereotype that all scientists are ferreted away in some lab running endless experiments. As last week’s post pointed out, having skills outside of your major will give you depth and make you more employable.
  • Do Your Research
    Spending your time hunkered down doing ground-breaking research may sound exciting, but the reality of it may be quite different. Try to get a good picture of what the job entails and weight the pros and cons before you commit.
  • Try an Internship
    Not quite sure which specific direction you want to go in? Try a short-term internship. Not only will it give you valuable experience, but could also be your ‘in’ to a job in the future.
  • Start Networking Now
    Networking is crucial, and some may argue that it carries more weight than your grades. Make the most of the college connections by staying in touch via social media platforms and local professional meet ups.
  • Use Recruitment Agents
    Large companies don’t have time to read online career boards or hundreds of resumes. The best way to get their attention is to use recruitment agencies. This is how most companies find their employees and it’s a great jumping off point for new graduates who are light on experience.
  • Pace Yourself
    Alan Costello, a Ph.D. student suggests graduates take their time: “You don’t have to jump on the first opportunity that comes your way, especially those who wish to pursue a career in research.”
  • Look Beyond Experience
    Most job descriptions will say, ‘two or more years’ experience,’ which is enough to send job seekers on to the next listing. Apply anyway and show them why you should be considered for the team. We all start somewhere.
  • Keep an Open Mind
    Working for a well-known company sounds appealing and looks fantastic on your resume, but you could end up in a very specific role that is repetitious and unchallenging.
  • Explore Other Options
    A career in academics isn't guaranteed since contracts that are short-term and academic positions few and far between. “Jobs arise so infrequently, most likely due to someone’s death or them being forced to retire.”

Final Thoughts

Remember, scientists often deal in experiments, research, and facts. So, don’t be afraid to apply those same principles when preparing for your life beyond academia.

Tell us the best career advice you've received.
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Photo Courtesy of: Ivan Zhukevich

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