Friday, December 5, 2014

Book review: "Navigating the Path to Industry", M.R. Nelson

I have had the chance to review "Navigating the Path to Industry" by M.R. Nelson recently and I wanted to recommend it to readers, especially those who are looking for their first position in industry. Dr. Nelson has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and was a hiring manager in both the biotech and information technology industry before striking out on her own as a consultant.

The book is easy to read and written in a funny, conversational style. It consists of 2 parts, the first being the "preparing yourself to apply" and the second is the basics of applying for a position in industry. In the beginning, Dr. Nelson offers some great advice about the right mindset for the process: 
Even if you aren’t aiming for the perfect job, a job search is a hard, ill-defined process that is almost guaranteed to humble you from time to time. Remember, it is hard for everyone. Don’t lose faith in yourself. I have conducted several successful job searches over the course of my career, but I have never conducted one that did not involve rejection.  
You need to develop methods for maintaining your self-confidence and positive attitude in the face of the inevitable rejection. Potential techniques for this include: keeping a folder of positive feedback and evidence of your past successes to review when you are struggling, developing a closure routine to “say good-bye” to jobs you wanted but did not get, and practicing the “fake it until you make it” method of pretending to be more confident than you feel.
That's great advice and something that I think people need to remember about applying for positions -- it's mostly writing people and telling them, "please, reject me." No getting around it, that's no fun and it helps to be prepared for it.

She has quite detailed advice about each step of the process, from getting the right format for your CV/resume (PDF, of course) to the correct sentence structure in your accomplishments section to the structure of your cover letter to what kind of clothes you should wear to your interview. She tells some great anecdotes about her own job searches, including the inappropriate questions that (seemingly, inevitably) get asked of interviewees. I really liked the section on answering questions about "company culture" -- that stuff is hard and not something that graduate students and postdocs are typically ready to answer. In her next edition, I hope that there will be a section on the dreaded "job talk", but that could be a book in itself!

It's a fast read and it will prepare you nicely for the process of getting a job in our field -- as someone who writes daily on these issues, I really liked it and strongly recommend it.

Apart from getting a free PDF copy of the text to review, Chemjobber received no compensation for this review. 

No comments:

Post a Comment