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Graduate Students Career Community

The Graduate Student Career Community

As a graduate student, you develop and enhance a unique set of skills throughout the course of your program. However, it can be hard to translate those skills in to a full time job after you’ve completed your degree. The name of your program or degree doesn’t always lead directly to a specific career. Fortunately, many of your skills are highly valued by employers in the workplace today, and there are a wide range of jobs and areas where people with Masters and Doctorates thrive. At the Career Connections Center, we can help your explore the various career paths available.

No matter which career path you follow, there are some common strategies you can use to prepare for your career.

Find Opportunities for Professional Development

It’s never too early in your graduate career to begin building your professional identity. Even if you are a first year graduate student, look for workshops and seminars on campus to build your skills in a variety of areas, including teaching, research, mentoring, and presenting. UF’s Graduate School offers several seminars each semester for professional development. Visit Gator CareerLink for the center’s Graduate Student Series. Find opportunities to volunteer or present your work at conferences. Get involved with graduate student organizations to build crucial skills such as communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and your sense of self and social responsibility. By getting involved both on campus and off, you are creating opportunities to build your CV, expand your network, and enhance your skills.

You might need to learn more about the various career options that exist in order to make an informed decision. While continuing your teaching/research in an academic setting is one career option, there are many other functional areas that are career options for students with masters and doctorates. To further explore some career options, use the resources below:

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Need help with understanding how your interests will play a part in your future career? Start with CHOMP!

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What Can I Do With This Major?

Whether you are exploring multiple majors or searching for information about your chosen field, this site will help you connect majors to careers.

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Occupational Handbook

The OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for

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O*Net Online

Has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more.

Additional Resources

  • MyNextmoveorg: Ideal for graduate students in any background, this site features an assessment on your interests as they relate to work-related tasks. After taking the assessment, you’ll be given a list of suggested career options based on your interest profile.
  • MyIDP/ScienceCareers.com: Ideal for students in STEM, this system lets you sort through your skills, values, and interests as they relate to scientific topics. At the end, suggested careers are provided based on themes in your responses.
  • Cheeky Scientist: Explore common industry careers for Master’s and PhD students with a science background.
  • Versatile PhD Career Finder: Features descriptions of career fields where PhDs have found successful employment outside of the world of academia.

Non-academic Career Options:

You may be in a graduate program, but have decided against pursuing a career in academia. It might be time to explore some non-academic career options. First, think about what career options will fit you best. There are a variety of factors that influence the fit between you and a particular career. Your values, interests, personality, and skills all play an important role in making a career decision. However, your specific life experiences also influence your decision, as does your academic research, on campus involvement, volunteering, and values from family and mentors.

You should take stock of all these items and more before making a career decision. Think about the transferable skills you have developed through each experience. Feeling stuck? Check out our Transferable Skills handout in the Resource Library (link resource library when available).

Develop Strong Application Documents

Develop Strong Application Documents

It is important to make a good first impression through your application documents. Review the materials in our resource library (Link Resource Library) for information about common application materials.

Helpful resources:

  • Chart Your Course – is a strategic roadmap for doctorial student success at the University of Florida.
  • The Professor – read more about developing strong application materials on the Professor.

Careers in Academia

If you love research, teaching and academic inquiry, you may want to stay in the same environment and continue into a faculty position like academia. A career in academia can be very rewarding, with many opportunities to influence students and research. Below are some steps to take to remain competitive in the academic job market.

Target Your Search

Look for schools that will be a good fit for you, and target your search according to your preferences. Think about size, location, resources, and faculty expectations when searching for schools. Review the Graduate Career Guide for Academia to find resources for researching institutions.

Use Your Resources:

There are a number of resources available to you to prepare for your academic job search-take advantage of them while you are still a student!

  • Graduate Student Series: Visit Gator Career Link to view our upcoming programs related to Career in Academia. Topics will include the job search, CV writing, interviewing, negotiation, and more!
  • Graduate Career Guide for Academia: Provides common websites for finding positions in academia, and other resources for professional development.
  • External Resources for Professional Development:


Enhance Your Interviewing Skills:

You don’t just have to be a good teacher or researcher, but you need to be a good interviewer as well! Review our interview strategies handout to brush up on interview techniques. Research and practice answering common faculty interview questions. Schedule a Career Planning Appointment to conduct a mock interview to receive feedback on your interviewing techniques.

Network with Professionals

Networking is one of the most important parts of a job search that you can begin early in your graduate career. Personal relationships can be very important when finding a candidate with the right fit. Look for opportunities to network on campus, at conferences, and virtually online. Networking isn’t asking for a job- it is asking for advice on how to successfully find a position. Informational Interviews can be a great way to learn more about a career field, helpful job searching strategies, and general career advice.

Consider these resources to help you network:

Find Industry-Specific Job Sites:

Using sites targeted to your field of study will help you to create a manageable list of opportunities. Consider some of the sites below:

Explore Professional Associations:

Professional Associations often have networking opportunities and their own site for job openings, as well as industry-specific career advice. Find professional associations through Weddle, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or the Career Roadmaps.

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