Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Thursday January 24th 2019

Jobless PhD science graduate receives no interview after sending out 80 applications

Dear Gilbert,

I was happy to come across your website. It is nice for someone in need to have an outlet to release their pent up frustration trying to get a job in bad times.

I graduated with a science PhD from a local university recently. I have about a decade of laboratory and research work experience. My last contract ended in July 2016. I wish to move to non-laboratory based work and have been actively applying to various executive and managerial job position in universities as well as hospitals and other government bodies since August 2016.

One of the main reasons why I want to change industry is because of the lack of job stability in the research line where jobs are contract based, I also wish to seek a different environment.

I noticed that such executive and managerial jobs only require a bachelor qualification. As I have yet to get called up for any interview, I am considering to not put in my PhD qualification as I may appear overqualified. I did my PhD part-time while working full-time so there was no gap in my employment history. Is it advisable to do so?

Although I am inexperienced, I think with translational skillsets that I’ve developed, I am capable of learning any new job scope.

It is abit worrying that although I have send out nearly 80 job applications, I’ve received no calls yet.

Thank you for your help.



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8 Responses to “Jobless PhD science graduate receives no interview after sending out 80 applications”

  1. K says:

    Hi melissa, I am in the exact same situation as you graduating in july 2016, phd. Most of my job application sent out was met with no replies especially positions involving managerial roles (even assistant manager). I have landed a few interviews with companies on roles involving my major but with no replies.

    I do not know why Hr/hiring managers overlook people such as us who are likely qualified for the roles that you have described. I believe is something entrenched in the their systematic search and it is causing a group of people to fall out of their radar immediately.

    I have went to somr employment seminar late last year and a question raised to the panel was “Will you consider a PhD for the role of a bachelars/masters with 1-4yrs experience?” The panel of hr managers had an immediate reply of “No.” I wonder, why deny qualified people who are seriously considering the role? Is there no room for opportunity?

    Dear Gilbert, thanks for the website setup to support the people left out. I am also keen to know your view on this topic.


  2. Nick says:

    Dear Melissa, u r not alone here as an unemployed, underemployed or unemployable caught in a slowing economy. There r people with Phd ended up as taxi-drivers or security personnel, there r those whom r jobless for many years ( even with a doctorate degree with specialized experience)some went on to become freelance private tuition, some work in McDonald to crave out a living! Some lucky phd landed a job doing part-time lecturing in local polytechnics after knocking on the doors many times with countless resume sent in..maybe in ur case is to choose a temp or part-time job & at same time look for a permanent one ( be it phd or degree or poly certs , to the private recruiters these papers dun mean a thing & one miws already said u can’t eat with it) is expand ur network & ur job search dun juz limit in public sector only, be flexible & realistic when opportunity knocks on ur door again.

  3. Good choice says:

    Here is a lesson for all PhD-ers. Get a new job before resigning.

  4. Thistoo Shallpass says:

    There are big differences between doing research for a PhD and managing a business. Many researchers I know make lousy managers. So when a HR person sees an application for a management or executive position from someone with no management or executive experience, should we be surprised that he/she will be ignored?

    It has been said that someone studying for a PhD learns more and more about less and less so that he at the end he knows everything about nothing. A successful manager needs to have a wide range of knowledge. So our PhDs need to understand that four years of research does not equate to four years of working experience in the business world. They have to prepare to start at an entry level like everyone else. Their knowledge may help them in the future, but is not much use in opening doors.

  5. V says:

    if u have a PHD, why dont u apply for teaching at private schools like PSB academy?

  6. vgybhunji says:

    That’s why it is dumb to study so high till PHD, unless you really intent to become a professor in uni/high position gov jobs. If not nobody in this world can afford to hire you, as you are overqualified/being book smart but without real life working experience. PHD if cannot earn much money out of it, it will just give you the title of making people calling you as Dr till you die that’s all.

    By the book, every degree should be count as 1 year working experience.

    That’s why I will only aim to study till master degree that’s all.

  7. You Die Your Business says:

    Not only the level of your studies one has to be mindful about, but these days it is important to consider the economical viability of what you study.

    Theres no point in studying just what you like, when you cannot find a stable job and cannot feed yourself after you graduate.

    Also, once you embark on a particular career path, you are more or less stuck in that field. Because whatever salary you can command, hierarchy of position that you can be hired for, employers will all look at your past experiences.

  8. Roy says:

    Its just supply/demand and CONNECTIONS in the business world.
    Solve problems and you will get money.
    Straightforward. It doesn’t matter whether you have
    PhD or not. I can afford to talk since i had been jobless after a PhD and now run my own business after trying to apply for more than 500 jobs! So stop whining and think where you can solve problems outside academia and get on with it.
    Cheeky Scientist is a good resource to learn about what transferable skills you have unknowingly picked up during a Ph.D. A PhD is indeed valuable. Just that you don’t see the value and do not know where else to use it. Of course, it took me years to find where i could use it. But if you dont search u will not find.

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