Tony, a former recruiter at Hays in London (UK), says project manager positions are the jobs most sought by academics leaving the bench.
If you want to pursue a career in project management, here are the do’s and don’ts:
The bad news: Don’t get your hopes up for a project manager position in industry. Academics straight from the bench stand little chance. Industries do not employ academics fresh from the bench for this sort of position; they have rigorous standards.
The good news: Do apply to project manager positions in academia—we call them transitional project management positions. Start within your organization. Every so often there are calls for these spots at organizations such as Life Arc in the UK, or within the A*STAR in Singapore. Transitional project manager positions offer the opportunity to explore the commercial aspects of science and gain the experience to be considered for project management positions in industries later on.
The absolute extra you need in your CV: When you apply for transitional project management positions make sure to use a functional CV (https://careersinscience.co/2020/07/27/a-recruiters-tips-to-nailing-your-cv/) and showcase any extra experience that shows you deserve to be considered. As we mentioned earlier, you have tough competition, so include volunteer projects you have done outside the bench to demonstrate your genuine interest in the position and commitment to start the switch from the bench. Hands-on volunteering activities are even better. It can be volunteering at local scientific activities like Biotech Connection.
Here at ImagenScience, we want to add that project managers have many roles and we are trying to scout them all.