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I am a Ph.D. student. I have been involved with academia for some time now. For some reason, I need a job in the industry but my CV is not garnering any interest in the industry.

How can I showcase my expertise to potential recruiters if I don't have enough job experience?

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    Does this answer your question? How can I overcome "years of experience" requirements when applying to positions?
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 18:44
  • @JoeStrazzere, I know ML in Keras/tensorflow, C#, Python, Flask, C++, SQL, database design, JQuery, and HTML. However, I don't have a portfolio to show. Also, if I want to face an industry interview, I will probably fail to answer nitty-gritty detailed questions. Coz, reading books and working in the industry are not the same.
    – user366312
    Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 15:25
  • @JoeStrazzere, Are you shooting for something other than just an entry-level job? --- No.
    – user366312
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 4:46
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    @JoeStrazzere, It may be that "expertise" isn't the problem here. Could it be that your unfinished Ph.D. is what is turning potential employers off? They may be assuming you'll only stick around for the short term. --- could be!
    – user366312
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 4:47
  • Please update the question with all those millions of details you put on comments here and on answers, vtc until then.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 5:28

3 Answers 3

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That's going to be an uphill battle. You are competing with people of your age have significant real word experience. Let's dissect this a bit

I am a Ph.D. student.

No plans to finish your Ph.D.? What do you have to show for it?

I have been involved with academia for some time now.

How long? One year, 3 years, 5 years? This makes a huge difference.

For some reason, I need a job in the industry

That better be a really good reason. It looks like you are abandoning all the time and effort you spent on your Ph.D. That will require some serious explanation.

but my CV is not garnering any interest in the industry.

Given the analysis above, that's not particularly surprising.

How can I showcase my expertise to potential recruiters if I don't have enough job experience?

It's hard to showcase expertise you don't have. I'm guessing your biggest problem is lack of industry skills that many of your competitors will already have. These are mostly "soft" skills: work management & breakdown, communication & documentation, working effectively in multi-faceted teams, organizational awareness, business focus, etc. All of these tend to work very differently in industry than in academia.

What you can do:

  1. Network, network, network. Join professional associations and attend their meetings. Go to conferences: present your stuff and attend presentations from industry people who work in similar fields. Try to make a name for yourself that you are good at XXX, whatever that may be. Hang out on Stack Exchange and other internet forums of your "people".
  2. Have you resume critically reviewed by an expert or experienced recruiter. Make sure you have a strong story that supports you abandoning your Ph.D.
  3. Consider finishing your Ph.D. if you are reasonably close to the finish line. That would look A LOT better on your resume.
  4. See if you can get some amount of industry experience as an intern, temp, free-lancer, etc.
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    No plans to finish your Ph.D.? What do you have to show for it? --- I am not abandoning my PhD; I am just looking for a parallel source of income.
    – user366312
    Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 0:52
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    How long? One year, 3 years, 5 years? This makes a huge difference. --- 1y
    – user366312
    Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 0:52
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    That better be a really good reason. That will require some serious explanation. --- my wife is threatening me that she would leave me if I don't start making money very soon.
    – user366312
    Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 0:53
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    @user366312 I'm sorry to hear you are going through that hard situation. Considering how much time and effort you need to put in your PhD journey, I don't think finding a job in industry while pursuing your PhD is a feasible task. You cannot split yourself in a half like that, and recruiters know it.
    – Amelian
    Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 2:09
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    @Hilmar, but presumably you knew about this when you signed on as a Ph.D. student.. What has changed since then? --- my wife's mindset.
    – user366312
    Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 12:15
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Another angle that solves your problem is to get a part time job. It doesn't have to be in the industry, it just needs to feed you.

Many students do this and no one holds their part time waiter, cleaner, furniture mover job against them. It's actually taken well by many people who did exactly the same thing when they were studying. It shows they're not afraid to work.

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As far as industry is concerned, you are a new graduate. That's especially so if you aren't going to finish the PhD. You don't have any meaningful experience in industry.

So look for companies that are hiring new graduates in your industry. And don't expect to be paid any more than the other new graduates.

When I went from academia to industry many years ago, even a completed PhD and one year of university research only got me one pay grade higher.

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  • ..one pay grade out of how many?
    – guest
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 10:27
  • @guest I'm not sure, but it was grade 11, rather than 10.
    – Simon B
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 15:16

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