Day 1: Critical Skills- The Key to SciPhD’s Get A Job Philosophy

Anyone who follows SciPhD or has attended any of our on-site or online training programs for scientists knows our mantra-  You are more than your science.  You have three identities:

  • Your science/technical identity (what you do)
  • Your business identity (how you do it)
  • Your social identity (how you work with others)

Getting a leg up on your competition when you set out to get a job requires your ability to demonstrate all three of these identities with accomplishments.  Learn to do that, and you can move to the head of the class.  But that’s only half the battle.  The other half is to recognize that “who you know”- i.e. your network, is critical in getting noticed.  There are many really smart and accomplished scientists competing for jobs.  So your ability to network, build relationships and generate advocates who will get your resume to hiring managers is key.

So what are the critical skills that allow accomplished scientists to successfully compete for jobs?  At SciPhD we focus on six major competency areas that make up 23 core business and social behaviors that will get you an advantage.

Creating the Vision:  This encompasses the behaviors of Strategic thinking, Innovation, Risk Management, and Champion/Energy.

Developing Your People:  Here we focus on Collaboration, Enabling, Empathy, and Rapport.

Execution: This is all about careful planning to make sure everything you undertake is well managed.  The key behaviors here are Structuring, Control, Tactical planning and Delegation.

Achieving Results: The careful planning of Execution then leads to our fourth category.  This is all about not settling for the status quo, but rather always looking to improve.  It heralds the advanced skills of six sigma, and team performance.  The relevant behaviors in this category include Production, Focus, and Competition.

Communications: None of the behaviors described so far can be fully and successfully implemented without mastery of our fifth essential category.  Here, we look at four specific behaviors:

  1. Technical Literacy- the ability to adjust your technical language to that of your audience’s understanding.
  2. Style Flexibility- Recognition that different people have different ways that they interact and communicate with others.  If you can understand another’s preferred mode of communicating, and can adjust your own style to match theirs, you stand a better chance of building relationships, rapport, and trust.
  3. Emotional Intelligence- Staying positive and managing the emotion of relationships and communication to stay productive
  4. Social Intelligence- recognizing who you are speaking with, recognizing their social role, identifying how you can make their job/role easier, and using that knowledge to frame your conversation.  Essentially, “it’s not about me!”

is Financial Acumen is our sixth category, which covers, Return on Investment, Internal Rates of Return, Performance Metrics, and Reading a Balance Sheet.  Knowledge and incorporation of these behaviors promotes continuous improvement, delivering projects on time and within budget and are core assets for any project manager.

The key to being competitive is to identify which of these skills are essential for specific jobs of interest, and learning how to express your own experiences and accomplishments in terms of these skills, which are universally valued by employers.

SciPhD’s monthly webinar series “The Business of Science- How To Land Your First Job” ties all these concepts together to help scientists get a leg up on their career.  This series is offered the first full week of every month and includes a free permanent license to Flamingo, our companion web application.  Find out more at

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