Free the PhD: The Modern Employed PhD Webinar

Ambitious PhDs: Accelerate Your Transition Into A Career You Love.

Vay Cao, Ph.D.

Learn How to Live Your PhD Life Your Way

Do these thoughts go through your head?

  • What jobs are available for PhDs?
  • How do I start the transition into another career?
  • How are industry or other careers different from academia?
  • How do I network and what should I do when I reach out?
  • Why am I not getting any interviews?
  • I want a real paycheck and benefits to support the life I want; what should I do next?

If you want answers to all these questions and more, this is the place for you.  Successful PhDs make the right moves to take their next step forward, and I will show you how to succeed step by step.  

If you’re serious about taking control of your career transition, let’s make it happen!


Find the Job

Ready to leave the academic lab?  Not sure what you want to do?  Hate the idea of networking?  Trying to figure out how to move towards a new field or profession? Get the strategies and guidelines you need to go where YOU want to go.

Get the Job

Not sure how to reply to recruiter emails?  Frustrated by your job hunt?  Want to ace your interviews?  Stop reading every blog post under the sun and get all the info you need to succeed, in one place, tailored for you.

Own the Job

Congrats on your new job!  Now what?  How do you accelerate your career growth?  How do you set yourself up for success?  What if your manager is terrible?  When is it time to move on?

Love Your Life

Struggling with your mentor or boss relationship?  Not sure how to tackle the next big project at work or in the lab?  Don’t let life get you down.  Find out how to maximize your efficiency, lower stress, and see a path forward in even the hardest situations.

Don't Miss Out!

Get access to my career webinar, “The Modern Employed PhD”:

  • Be aware of the realities that modern PhDs face today
  • See examples of diverse careers that PhDs get today
  • Learn 3 key takeaways for your own career transition and job hunt

Join the Free the PhD VIP email list for access, and get my bonus reusable cover letter template, FREE!

Success Stories

“At my sixth year of postdoc training, I still haven’t wrapped up my research result for publication, and sensed a disadvantage if I keep going to pursue a job in academia.  Even though I felt the urgency to plan for my next career opportunity, I was afraid to explore unknown career options.  

I was on the brink of my true career, and Vay push me forwards.  

Vay tailored my CV or resume for each job that I applied, and edited my cover letters for email inquiries. Without her help, I cannot put all the information together to allow me to confidently search in the job market.  


I landed on a real job not long after I took a detailee position Vay helped me apply for.  It was from a diagnostic company, and one of my informational interviewees was my internal reference.  The job interview was scheduled with a short notice.  With so much previous practice, I handled it pretty well.

I was initially offered a salary range lower than I expected.  I took the hiring manager’s explanation as I didn’t have the exact job experience.  However, Vay pushed me to step up for myself as my research experience is a perfect match for the job.   She helped me with my negotiation email in a professional way, not too aggressive since I really like the job; not too timid as I am confident that my experience fit well.  

The company re-offered me with a higher salary and with this offer, I finally finished my long-term postdoc training and moved to a real job that I have never thought I would do.”


Advice on the role and likely responsibilities | Interview coaching | Negotiation coaching | English editing & coaching


“I got a clear plan with action steps, a timeline, and confidence that what I was doing was the right path. She helped me evaluate my experience and abilities in a way that helped me prove my worth to myself.

The company initially offered me a rate that was much lower than what I wanted.  Vay helped me clearly identify how much I would take and therefore how much I should ask for in my negotiations.  I ended up asking for more than what I thought I should have initially.  The organization came back at me with the exact number I was looking for!”


Advice on the role and likely responsibilities |

Interview coaching |

Negotiation coaching

Kristen Z, Ph.D. Scientific Director, Nonprofit

“You made [resume and cover letter] cuts that I wouldn’t have been confident to make on my own.  I would definitely recommend the initial consult to see if it is a good fit for a friend.”

Received: Application material editing | Interview coaching

Amy K., Postdoc

“It was nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of, especially when waiting for a reply from the interviewers and deciding what to talk about next.”

Received: Advice on the role and likely responsibilities | Application material editing | Interview coaching

Thao D. Marketing Manager, Biotech