During your job search, you may come across an advertisement which looks appealing to you, but you are not entirely qualified. You may have a degree in Botany as major, but want to work as a Research Scientist in Biotechnology field. Changing research areas are very common, especially at the early stage of one’s career. Can I find a research job in a new field that is not fully related to my education and experience? The answer is YES; you can.
Often, scientists with higher degrees are also changing their research field. For instance, a student who does his/her Ph.D. work in the area of Zoology, may become interested to do postdoctoral work in Neuroscience field. Alternatively, within the field, a scientist performing research in Epilepsy wants to switch to Depression research; both fields are related to neuroscience.
Should I change my research field? You should decide on it. It depends on what are your short and long-term goals as a Research Scientist. Some scientists are interested to update their research skills, so they would like to work in a related field for few years and come back to their original research. Several may decide to develop additional talents to be competitive in the science job market.
In a Pharmaceutical industry, it is common that scientists are required to work on several projects. For example, a research technician may be asked to work both in cancer and pain. So scientists having experience in more than one specialty are preferred. Therefore, changing fields in a way helps to be more reasonable in the job market. Importantly, changing research areas depends on individual’s interests.
How to find research jobs in a new field that is not fully related to my educational background and experience?
If you have decided to find jobs in a new field than you should be able to persuade your employer about your candidature. This has to be done starting with your cover letter, later during telephone and face-to-face interviews. This hub provides you with some useful phrases and tips to prepare for this tough question. I am giving you some of the best answers with an example. However, you have to prepare your own answers by working on your educational background, experience and interests. Have confidence, it will work.
One of the common interview questions asked for Ph.D., Postdoctoral, and Research Technicians was: why you are seeking for a job that is not related to your field?
How to find best answers:
Example 1. Ph.D. in cancer research and pursuing postdoctoral work in depression.
Answer: Although I have done Ph.D. in Cancer field, now I am interested to do research papers in the area of depression. Because, while I was doing my Ph.D., I came to know that majority of cancer patients also suffer with depression. In fact, there are several published reports to show a strong link between cancer and depression. This has interested me, and I decided to do my postdoctoral work in the area of depression. Understanding depression in cancer patients will be one of my long-term research careers.
Example 2. Graduated as computer engineer and looking for research job in neuroscience field.
Answer: During my graduation, I was always thinking about how our brain works? I use to be fascinated when I come across studies showing how models are generated using computer programs to study brain. To understand nervous system and to apply my computer skills to neuroscience field I am applying for a research position in your lab.
Example 3. Research technician in molecular biology lab, applying for a position in pain research lab.
Answer: Recent National Institute of Health report shows that pain is a major reason people visit a physician or seek medication. The U.S. health system is spending $100 billion to treat chronic pain patients. Managing pain in patients has become a major concern for any society. Over the years, I have developed several molecular biology skills. This position will allow me to work in this exciting field and also to apply my skills.
You will find several scientists who have worked in more than one field. A scientist with chemistry background wins NOBLE PRIZE in Physiology or Medicine.
I hope these tips will help you to find jobs in different fields. Just you have to work on your CV, research interests and prepare. You will be successful.
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