PhD Job Search: 5 Signs You Need Some Help
In the old days, “doing it yourself” was an activity that was reserved for old people, cat ladies, and eccentric souls. A quick look at the current state of the crafting industry (worth more than 29 billion dollars) seems to suggest that things have changed. In fact, young adults under the age of 35 are more and more enthusiastic about the DYI culture. Pinterest’s popularity confirms the trend. After all, nothing beats the pride of challenging yourself, succeeding on your own and sharing what you’ve learned with the whole world, right? What’s not to like?
But how about when you’re on a PhD job search? When is it time to ditch the DIY approach and bring out the heavy artillery? When is it time to say, “enough!” and ask for help?
Here are five signs it might be time to hire a professional:
You have a pretty good idea of where you want to be and what you want to do next, but aren’t satisfied with the progress you’re making in your post PhD job search? Stop right now and call a professional. It’s a sign you might need a second opinion on your job search strategy. It’s time to ask someone to take a look at what you are doing, review your job search materials, and help you build or fine-tune your profile to make sure you market yourself the right way.
Keep in mind that feeling stuck can have a long-term effect on your mental and physical health, as well as having a negative impact on your career plans. If you can’t seem to get out of the mud, it might be time to splurge and hire someone to help you!
You’ve Sent Out A Gazillion Resumes and All You Got Is Silence
You keep pressing “send” without success? Stop right now and enlist someone who knows how it’s done. Too many academics don’t understand how the non-academic job search and hiring process work today. Don’t confirm the cliché of the know-it-all academic! It’s important to seek the help of someone with an in-depth understanding of the recruitment process, and who can teach you the rules of the game to avoid the pitfalls of wasting a high number of resumes—and a lot of valuable time!—throwing resumes into a black hole.
You’re Looking for a Radical Career Change
All job transitions are challenging. Leaving academia is even more difficult because it involves making a radical career change. And, believe us, this sort of transition can easily make you lose your sanity.
Rather than making your transition as you go along, ask the advice of someone who has experience in these types of changes. You want to find someone who has enough expertise to help you define goals that are realistic and achievable, and help you come up with a strategy (and a resume!) aligned with your new direction.
You Suck at Interviews
It’s quite an accomplishment to be selected for an interview. But what happens when you freeze every time you cross paths with a hiring manager? If you choke and stumble as soon as you sit across from an interviewer’s desk, it might be time to talk to a pro. Find someone who can conduct mock interviews, and provide you with feedback and strategies to improve your skills. There’s no point coming up with brilliant ways to attract an employer’s attention if you fall apart when it’s time to perform. Don’t be afraid to get the help you need.
You’re an Introvert
Networking is a big challenge for many introverts, especially academics. Many people prefer to avoid it at all costs, and rely exclusively on online job applications to find employment. As great as technology is, you also need to learn to engage with other people and cultivate relationships. Did you know that most organizations give higher value to resumes of people who have been referred by employees or associates?
If this comes to you as big news, and if the idea of networking still makes you uncomfortable, this would be yet one more sign that you need to hire someone who understands and excels at networking online and in the flesh.
Even if we live in a world that insists that “you can do it by yourself,” there is no shame to admit that you can’t do everything on your own. Especially something as crucial as a major career pivot. And, yes, it might be difficult to ignore that little voice in your head that judges you for needing help in the first place. But, let’s face it. Despite your high IQ, your training and your diploma, some things are just not meant to be experienced on your own. You’re PhD job search might be one of them.
If our future depends on our ability to assess our strengths and capabilities, our greatest achievements are also determined by our ability to recognize and accept our limitations. If you struggle with your PhD job search, act wisely. Save yourself some time and heartache, and hire professional help. While it might cost you something, it might be the best decision you’ll ever make!
Want more tips on how to conduct a successful PhD job search? Check out our resources.