Translating graduate level life science research into industry: Before you apply to jobs

If you have been contemplating a switch from academic research into industry, plan to spend time gathering information and talking to people in your target field before you apply to any positions. Career counselors sometimes call this exploration period “Read-Talk-Do” as it summarizes key steps in the information gathering process. Some examples of what goes into exploring are noted below.

Read: Investigate blog posts and informational interviews online. Check in with professional associations and online resources like the careers section in Science Magazine or ASCB’s career resources. Read publications and white papers published by industry labs and companies.

Talk: Attend events like UW’s graduate student-run Bioscience Careers lecture series to hear from researchers who are working outside of academia. Identify and reach out to alumni of your program or related programs who are working in industry to learn more about their work and how they transitioned. Chat with career counselors, mentors, and friends. As you engage in conversations, note what seems most interesting and what fits your current goals, strengths, and skills.

Do: Participate in and learn about cross-disciplinary research projects through one of the many research institutes and seminars here at UW. Join interest-based clubs to build out non-lab skills. Explore internships with UW and non-UW organizations. Brainstorm with a career counselor or adviser for additional opportunities where you can try out career ideas. As you participate in volunteer activities, events, internships and more, be sure to track what you learn and what you still need to learn as you gather career information and prepare to apply to jobs.

By Catherine Basl
Catherine Basl Career Counselor Catherine Basl