In an interesting post, Exponential Book discusses the potential impact of papers on jobs. Now (s)he appears to be in physics, and things vary by field. But I do know that when I interviewed (and worked) as a statistician in financial services we did not consider papers as part of the hiring package. We were much more focused on job skills such as facility with key software packages (at that time it was SAS -- explaining my over-use of the software a decade later) and communication skills.
Now sure, a paper could be used to show that one was a good scientific writer. But it was a very minor consideration (at best).
Far better to show that you liked to assemble data sets. Being good at pulling your own data and developing data sets seemed to be one of the strongest predictors of success at this particular company (not least because you did not have to compete for programmer resources with other parts of the company).
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