I have a Ph.D…Employers won’t hire me

Is a college professor useless in other industries?

Beth Bradford, Ph.D.
3 min readJan 21


laptop with a cup of coffee and pad of paper
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

I got the call last May that my college wouldn’t be renewing my and my colleague’s contracts. Yes, we were victims of post-COVID budget cuts in higher education. I can’t say I was upset because I had been applying for jobs outside academia for several years. I took my layoff as a sign that I needed to be more aggressive in my job search.

I figured I had time to find a new job since I’d still get paid until August. I’d devote my summer to looking for a new job rather than preparing for the fall semester like I used to. I wasn’t worried. After all, I had my Ph.D. and more than 20 years of experience in higher education. I also had 10 years of experience in television news. Surely someone would hire me in three months.


I applied for e-learning jobs since I knew how to assemble online courses according to learning theories. I applied for marketing communication jobs since I got a Coursera/Meta certification in social media marketing. I applied for jobs as a scientific writer since I knew how to read research and simplify it for public audiences. Do I have project management experience? Anyone who’s been a college professor knows that answer.

I signed up for LinkedIn Premium so I could get a little more insight into how I compared to others. For many of them, I was usually in the top 25% if not the top 10%. I applied for the “Recommended” jobs based on my profile.

I joined Indeed as well. I took their assessment tests, scoring “highly proficient” or “expert” in almost all of them.

I read articles about cover letters and resumes. I made my resume one page. I made my resume two pages. I added my summary. I deleted my summary.

I deleted my graduation years since age discrimination seems to be alive and thriving. I even took out old work experience, even though that work experience could have given some insight into specific skills I learned there.

Can this employer contact my previous employer? Of course. In fact, people from my old job felt so bad for letting me go that they offered to write me letters of recommendation.



Beth Bradford, Ph.D.

Former TV person, college professor and media researcher. Ironman triathlete, meditation teacher and yoga instructor. https://www.brad4d-wellness.com