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Old 04.08.2015, 12:14
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chrysalide has annoyed a few people around herechrysalide has annoyed a few people around here
Looking for jobs as a fresh PhD – advice?

I am a PhD in fundamental sciences (biophysics) who relocated from Netherlands to Zürich this year due to family reasons. At the time of considering the move, I was finishing my PhD contract so I thought ‘Meh, I will find a job in CH instead of NL. How hard could it be?’ Turns out pretty hard.

I started with the obvious: applying for the big pharma in the first couple of months – no interviews. Since I did fundamental research and there is no job that will match with my skills 100%, I started thinking of transferable skills. I applied for the following type of positions in companies of all sizes, all over northern Switzerland: scientist, project manager, analyst, clinical trial leader, even internships with pretty well thought, non-generic application documents. I lack a network in my field around here, so I went to job fairs and tried to meet employers face to face.

Overall I did like 30 pretty well thought applications over 6 months so far and I got invited to two interviews – one that did not read my cover letter well, and one who did not have a job opening. It feels like I am always either overqualified (high education, can’t do internships) or underqualified (lack of ‘real life’ experience) and I just can't seem to jump over the HR wall. Some more things about me:

- I am non-EU national but I have a Swiss work permit
- I do not speak much German (hardly a problem in science, I don’t apply to jobs where German is a must)
- I did not have my PhD defense yet, but I am available to work immediately and can give employers a timeline for when I will get my degree

Everyone tells me to do a postdoc but since I already know that I want to go to industry, I’m afraid if I do one getting out of the academic nest will be even harder. What do you think could be holding me back? Thanks in advance for reading.
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