Day 1: Pragmatic Training for Getting That Job

There are two approaches to preparing for your transition from academia to business: one is the “ultimate technical and business knowledge” approach and the other is the “pragmatic get and keep a job” approach.

The “ultimate technical and business knowledge” approach acknowledges your expertise in your field of scientific study. Congratulations. But what about all those “soft skills” that are supposed to be so important? Should you now build your knowledge of business so you are prepared for any career in industry. You could do that MBA, or take that Project Management Certification, or Finance Course, or the Leadership training, and the Six Sigma Qualification. Do you need that communications and team building training?

The “pragmatic get and keep a job” approach takes a different tack.  The reality is, that in doing your PhD, you have actually gained many of these business and social “soft skills” so coveted by hiring organizations, and have accomplishments to prove it! You absolutely need to be fully capable of completing the technical requirements of a desired job. You also need to give a descriptive story that shows your ability to get work done, to drive for high standards and to set priorities.    In addition, you can use that same story to share how you have worked with other professionals, come to agreements, accepted common goals, and shared in success.  In completing one of the most difficult academic degrees, your PhD, you have already demonstrated the skills necessary to work in business. The challenge is how you communicate your experiences through your resume, your interviews, and your new business work environment.  And you can, and must demonstrate these skills with actual experiences and accomplishments.

There is a trade-off with the pragmatic approach. In preparing your targeted resume, when you discover your business and social skill experiences that qualify you for a job, your approach cannot be a “one-way tell my story lecture.” Your challenge is in how to engage the resume reader so that in 5 to 7 seconds they see that you meet the key technical, business, and social skills and deserve additional consideration.  And when you are invited and participate in the interviews, you engage in a two-way communications that is unique and targeted for each interviewer.  Use social intelligence to address three questions:

1) Who am I speaking with

2) What is their role

3) how do I make their job easier

Use the answer to those three questions to frame your responses.

When they ask about your salary requirements, you have done your homework and are prepared to negotiate a “fair value” for both you and the company.

The pragmatic trade-off is that knowing about the communication techniques that enable you to accomplish landing the job is not enough.  Success in using the pragmatic approach is grounded in a few hours of practicing basic communication techniques that are designed to enable your success in landing that job.  Our experience is that it requires about 12 to 15 hours to learn, practice and gain the confidence necessary to master the “pragmatic approach to landing my job.”

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