“But I have no transferrable skills: Debunking myths and exploring career options of PhDs” – Melanie Sinche Event

September 25, 2014 @ Weill Cornell Medical College

‘What am I going to do after I get my PhD?’ -- It’s a question a lot of current graduate students ask themselves many times during the course of their research studies.  With the dismal situation surrounding funding for biological life science fields, getting a post-doctorate position, once a likely step for newly minted PhD’s, is becoming less and less of an option for many students.


Graduate students from all over the NYC area packed the auditorium at Weill Cornell to hear career coach, Melanie Sinche, explain how the skills they learn at the bench can be applicable to positions outside of academia. She is currently working as a Senior Research Associate for the Labor and Worklife Program but it was her extensive work as a Consultant and Career counselor at the National Institutes of Health that made her a qualified and dynamic speaker. 


The talk kicked off by having students call out skills that are developed by all graduate students. Some mentioned included critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and organization, all skills that are highly desired by prospective employers. A moment of humor was added to the presentation when participants were asked to pick apart an anonymous cover letter touting the writer’s excellent sales, organizational, and highly impressive financial numbers running a successful business. Later it was revealed, the writer was in fact someone who had spent some time behind bars leading the group to realize that no matter your background, it’s all about how you market yourself!


Ms. Sinche then led a “Skills Identification Exercise” that prompted students to list every activity they had been a part of during their graduate career, and then subsequently break down specific task associated with the activities. In doing this, students were able to identify key skills gained from each set of tasks.  She urged all students to not only have up-to-date LinkedIn profiles but to contact specific individuals in your fields of interest and attend programs in person and online in order to establish a robust professional network.  


The event was a huge success with many students saying they had a better understanding of the skill sets they possess and more importantly how to use those to apply for a variety of jobs.


Download the “Skills Identification Exercise” worksheet for yourself and identify your own transferable skills! 

- See more at: http://www.nycmgsn.org/node/35#sthash.w0Dm9x2i.dpuf