Transitioning from Academia to Industry

How to prepare yourself for the leap into industry

Posted on May 15, 2019

Transitioning your Academic Resume for Data Science Jobs

Upon the completion of your doctorate, you may decide that now is the time to transition to industry. For the past five to eight years you have dedicated yourself to academic studies and research. You have successfully defended your thesis in front of prestigious committees and world-renowned scientific colleagues. You are a leading author on several highly ranked publications, and you may have significant intellectual property. Now is the time to refine your resume and prepare for data science interviews.

Emphasizing Industry-Specific Skills

Your resume is often the first opportunity to capture a prospective employer’s attention. As a student of academia, you have an impressive array of educational achievements to highlight. Make sure to include all the important industry-oriented skillsets you possess. Emphasize data science specific skillsets such as knowledge of machine learning algorithms, coding languages (Python, R, SAS, Matlab), mathematical and statistical knowledge, and data visualization tools (Tableau, Power BI). In addition, many of the skillsets you developed in academia such as strong oral and written communication coupled with detailed subject matter expertise makes your resume that much more unique to employers.

Highlighting your Work Experience

Although you may not have had an industry job, you may have significant graduate and undergraduate working experience. In your resume, communicate your significant work experience utilizing machine learning and big data techniques. Perhaps your lab worked together with industry to advance new products and research, or maybe a company sponsored your research. Prior industry experience may further strengthen your application. Finally, highlight entrepreneurial activities throughout your academic career. For example, you may have worked to translate your scientific research into novel commercial opportunities. You may have also enrolled in business courses, seminars, and competitions. Extracurricular opportunities that you pursued reflect strong motivation and commercial awareness that industry will benefit from.

Preparing in Advance

Your doctorate is a challenging and time intensive time. However, make sure that you prepare your resume for future industry careers. The research area you are working on may only be tangentially related to your subsequent employment. Keep in mind your future employer’s perspective. What skills and background would they be looking for? Search job sites in advance to gain a better understanding of the programming languages, computational techniques, or machine learning approaches you will be expected to use across different data science careers. Early preparation will ensure that your resume has all the requisite skillsets to propel you into your new career.