Again, I'd like to start with this caveat: I was specifically looking for research positions, there are lots of other jobs out there for PhD's but I'm going to focus on research positions specifically because that is what I know. Second, this is based on my own personal experiences so take this advice for what it's worth based on the N = 1.
In this post I'd like to discuss the ways in which you can highlight the skills and opportunities that you've had in graduate school to sell yourself in the non-academic world. I compiled a list from the cover letters I wrote for jobs that showed interest in hiring me (and the one I accepted and current have).
1. Research experience: PhD students have a wealth of research experience, using different experimental and statistical methodologies.
- Sell these as experience thinking creatively and being detailed oriented.
2. Collaboration: PhD students typically work with a lab full of people, research advisors, fellow grad students, undergraduates, post docs etc.
- Sell these experiences as working well in a team. Successful interactions with individuals of various skill levels.
3. Conference Presentations : PhD students are encouraged to present their research at annual conferences.
- Sell these experiences as perfecting your oral and written communication.
- Developing the skills necessary to discuss research and other professional topics for various audiences.
5. Lab Manager
- Managing individuals and projects in an organized manor that allows you to be the driving force to move projects forward to completion.
These are the things I highlighted in my cover letters and that interviewers mentioned being impressed by during my interviews. I hope others find these helpful.