Monthly Archives: December 2009

Marketing your Physics PhD.

Q. How do I market myself for an industrial job if the job advertisement doesn’t specifically mention physicists?

by Dr. Mark Wilson

A. Apply anyway if your expertise matches the job. The issue in industrial settings is satisfying the job requirements. If you are a recent graduate, you should reply to job postings and ads by matching the employers stated requirements to the course content, extra-curricular activities and internship experiences you’ve had. For example, a response to a financial analyst job could stress business, economics, finance, statistics and math courses as well as experience in the business world. Look for a fit where you could use your specific background and experience can contribute to the business. After you have addressed your future employer’s stated requirements, point out that your background in physics adds an additional dimension to what you offer. Your analytical skills, understanding of technology and in-depth understanding of “how things work” give you the tools that add to your long-term value as an employee. Finally, your having completed a demanding degree program demonstrates both your intellectual capacity and your work ethic.

If you are ready for a career move the task of positioning yourself becomes easier, for two reasons. First, you will have had experience and know how industrial hiring managers think and work. Secondly, your work experience expands your value to a new employer; you bring more to the table. You will be able to relate your broadened experience to the key elements of a job specification in terms that a hiring manager will understand. At this stage, your experience becomes the dominant aspect of what you offer an industrial employer.