I am less than a month away from submitting my PhD, and am frustrated with bench work. I am very interested in begining a career in industry, and specifically looking at applicaiton scientist roles.
As you yourself have said, you always hire through recruiters, however, all the ones I've spoken to keep telling me that I'll have real trouble getting a position straight out of my PhD. One of them has refused to put me forward to any of the companies she has as clients. Another one has done so, as my experience matches exactly what the client needs, but told me in effect not to hold my breath. Apparently I have to go through sales first. I don't beleive that is so, but perhaps I am misguided.
I should point out that I am in the UK, so the market here is probably different from the US, but what are your thoughts about this?
I couldn't disagree with what you are being told any more strongly than I do. "go through sales first".... ummm.. NO - I wouldn't hire you in to an app scientist role if you had been through sales first. At that point you have been taken too far away from the bench.
"not right"is very odd. In looking at our app scientists, they are all straight from Ph.D. At other companies I know of, that is mostly true as well. Several have done post docs, but far from a majority. Several don't have a Ph.D. - so that is pretty much the opposite of what you are being told.
I am looking world wide when I say this. I have full visibility in to Europe, China, and India - so this is certainly not a US only issue. I would say ex-US that it is critical that you have a Ph.D. as I don't currently see any non-Ph.D's. In the US it seems to be a lot less of an issue.
Straight out of the Ph.D. it WILL TAKE A LONG TIME to get a job. You don't know anyone, you have nothing in your favor with regards to work experience etc.... It took me 4 months, and I got VERY lucky. Others have taken 5/6/7 months.
Hang in there... you will be told NO an awful lot. I hated bench work as much as it sounds like you did - it gets better!