Where PhDs and companies meet

Already registered?

New user?

She's leaving home

Evelyne Jardin

Sarah Belair, Chemistry PhD, Researcher with Johnson Matthey.

Exactly four years ago, I was defending my thesis in analytical chemistry entitled «The Thermodynamic Mobilization of Lanthanide Nitrates and Actinide Nitrates by Organophosphorus Extractants.» At the time I was determined to become a French university lecturer, but despite my obstinacy I didn't get a job.

In early 2006, a post-doc, a teaching fellowship, a short-term contract and four recruitment campaigns later, I gave up on an academic career and started looking for a job in the private sector. In January, I took part in the ABG workshop entitled "How to present oneself in the private sector" led by J.P. Hermann in English.

Between January and June, I went for interviews in three companies, to no avail and without anyone ever giving me an explanation for my failure. I was seriously starting to lose confidence in myself. At the end of May, despite my mediocre English, I mustered the courage to answer a job offer at Johnson Matthey. The following week, I found myself in Reading (a suburb west of London) for a series of interviews. The same day I met the human resource manager, the team manager and the technical officer. I was a nervous wreck. Despite my worries, my level of English wasn’t an obstacle to my getting the job because I was hired for my scientific knowledge, which perfectly matched the profile they were looking for. During the interviews, they made sure that I was indeed the author of the publications listed on my résumé. They also checked that I had done the experiments described in my thesis by asking a few technical questions.

After wasting my time for four years in France, I'm thrilled to be able to continue my research in England.