I did my Ph.D. at an R1 and then a couple years of a post doc at an R1. I have a 20+ publication record in good journals, well regarded letter writers and teaching experience. I went on the job market the last year of my postdoc and decided not to take a couple of positions that were offered for a number of reasons both personal and professional. Instead, I accepted a job at a nonprofit research organization. It has been two years since my post doc and I've been able to publish, and even taught at a nearby university last spring. I'm wondering if there is any insight out there on consideration of applicants that are applying from outside of academia. Is my application dead on arrival? Thanks for any comments.
Date: 18 Aug 2014 16:24
Number of posts: 7
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I think that for some schools, like prestigious R1s, your application might be looked at in an odd way. But for MANY regional-type schools, your application would be valued greatly ahead of a pure academic one, IMO. I'd think that they would like to see someone with industry experience and connections who could give their students a more practical education. The exact case and field matters, of course, but if you've been publishing and teaching, I don't see the problem (possibly even at the prestigious R1s).
I echo. What search committee cares are grants and pubs, especially the better ranked schools. So I don't see any issue too.
This is good to know. I really hadn't thought about the time outside of academia as selling point, but more as a liability (An old hang up from grad school days, I guess). I suppose that some institutions are coming to grips with the fact that there are way more Ph.D.s out there than prof openings and that exposure/connection to other options could be a plus. Do you think this is something that should be highlighted in an application/interview?
You may quickly mention that after being outside of academia, your experiences reaffirm that you still miss academia…
I would definitely highlight how this experience outside of academics has provided you with a unique perspective and make you a person with a potentially unusual and valuable skill set.
Having experience in a career outside of academia will not hurt your chances at landing a faculty position. However, it's essential that you clearly articulate how your non-academic work has allowed you to gain skills helpful for an academic environment. Clearly your research seems current and relevant, but any leadership type of skills would also be valued.
In some specific disciplines, having experience outside of academia can be an asset - namely for clinical/counseling or applied areas (e.g. educational or I/O). Good luck!