By Karen Reiff
Hurray! You have a PhD. Maybe it's in chemistry, maybe it's in psychology. You've been searching and searching, but can't find a job in academia. You have SO much to offer, yet no one seems to be interested in you. How frustrating….! No wonder I've had several jobless clients with PhDs recently: it seems PhDs have been all over the news.
Jobs in academia for PhDs, particularly in the humanities, are few and far between – there are lots more folks with advanced degrees than the labor market can absorb, with the exception, perhaps for those PhDs in the STEM disciplines. Thanks to my great friend (and PhD, Dean, and well connected university mentor), I understand the wealth of opportunities in the private sector for PhDs who possess the requisite combination of skill sets these corporations need, if only clients would "think out of the box.”
While pursuing a PhD, many students assume their future is with a university – teaching or doing research. Many fear if they stray away from academia, they'll never be able to come back. Not true. Career counselors can help clients with PhDs understand how their pursuits can be valuable to the private sector, and lucrative financially. The secret is to analyze each skill set, determine how they connect, where a company could benefit from his/her skills, and coach them to market themselves in new ways. This was particularly successful to a recent client who parlayed his psychology/math background into a 6-figure salary at a cutting edge Fortune 5 company. For additional perspective about this, read this informative article: “The Re-Purposed PhD" - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/education/edlife/finding-life-after-academia-and-not-feeling-bad-about-it.html