Graduate Students

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 into 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 you explore the various career paths available.

More Information

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

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.

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. LinkedIn is another resource for building a network. Information Interviews can be a great way to learn more about a career field, helpful job searching strategies, and general career advice.

Develop Strong Application Documents:

It is important to make a good first impression through your application documents! Review the Prepare Your Tools section for information about common application materials, and review the handouts below:

  • For Academic Positions:
    • CV
    • Cover Letter
    • Teaching and Research Statements
  • For Non-Academic Positions:
    • Resume
    • Cover Letter
    • LinkedIn Profile

Careers in Academia

If you love the world of research, teaching, and academic inquiry, you may want to stay in the same environment and continue into a faculty position in 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 who 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.

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 and visit our Get Ready for the Interview page 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.

Use Your Resources:

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

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? Below are some common transferable skills that can get you started.

  • Administer
  • Analyze
  • Coach
  • Coordinate
  • Create
  • Design
  • Edit
  • Evaluate
  • Facilitate
  • Influence
  • Investigate
  • Lead
  • Manage
  • Motivate
  • Negotiate
  • Organize
  • Plan
  • Problem-Solve
  • Question
  • Research
  • Supervise
  • Synthesize
  • Teach
  • Write

Explore some online resources available to you for self-exploration:

  • CHOMP/MyPlan: Once in the system, select the third option to set up a MyPlan account. MyPlan takes you through a series of short assessments related to your Values, Interests, Personality, and Skills. At the end, you will receive a list of suggested careers based on themes in your responses.
  • 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/ 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.

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:

  • Career Roadmaps: Learn about career paths and resources for different fields and industries.
  • Versatile PhD Career Finder: Features descriptions of career fields where PhDs have found successful employment outside of the world of academia.
  • Occupation Outlook Handbook: Search for general job titles to gather information about all career fields, including work environment, median salary, needed skills and education, and professional associations for that industry.
  • O*NET: Use the search feature to find profiles and information about all jobs and industries, as well as their related fields.
  • Cheeky Scientist: Explore common industry careers for Master’s and PhD students with a science background.

Based with the information you’ve gathered about yourself and the career opportunities, think about the patterns, themes, and where you see alignment. Need help processing? Schedule a career planning appointment to talk over your options!

Once you know the career path you’d like to pursue, it’s time to begin your search! Use the Graduate Career Guide for Non-Academic Careers to find resources for various career fields.

STEM Careers in Industry:

If you are a Master’s or Doctoral student in a STEM field, you may be considering a career in industry versus academia. This can be a lucrative path to follow as a way to apply your technical background and research skills. There are some strategies to keep in mind when preparing for an industry-focused job search.

Visit Gator CareerLink:

Gator Career Link is our online portal where employers can post jobs, schedule information sessions, and advertise their company. You can target the employers you are interested in for employment and networking opportunities.

Explore Professional Associations:

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

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:

Utilize LinkedIn to Expand Your Network:

Join groups and discussions to further your brand, find a mentor, or discover other career paths. Connect with people in your industry to learn about skills you might need to build, position titles to search, or companies to target.

Visit the Career Connections Center:

Schedule a Career Planning Appointment with a career advisor to review your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile. You can also talk about your career options, hold a mock interview, or discuss job search strategies with a career advisor.

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