Career Development Framework: Graduate Students
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This framework is a guide to assist you in thinking about the tasks that correspond to your graduate program. Graduate students begin their programs at different points and with different levels of experience. Your own experiences will help you in your decision making process about your career path. Career and professional development includes a series of steps and decisions that you will make over your lifetime to determine the most appropriate path for you.
Check out the rest of the Career Services website for online resources, including Career Development Presentations, Optimal Resume, Sample Resumes, Wheelock Works (an online job listing database), and our monthly e-Newsletter. We also organize annual spring career fairs, and offer individual career counseling, career development workshops, and more!
AS YOU BEGIN YOUR PROGRAM:
Increase Academic Skills and Professional Experience
- Pay close attention to your studies, and request assistance from appropriate departments to help you succeed academically as needed.
- Introduce yourself to faculty and administrators and get to know them. They could become a positive reference for you in the future.
- Work towards acquiring new skills through your graduate program and internships or practicum experiences.
- If your program does not require you to take courses in the summer, then consider gaining more valuable experience during that time by participating in employment or an internship that is related to your career interests.
- Conduct informational interviews with several professionals in career fields that interest you, and if possible, request to shadow the individuals for a few hours at their places of employment.
- Familiarize yourself with the Career Center's services and resources, including online resources, such as career development presentations, Optimal Resume (an online guide to build your resume step by step), and specific resources for different areas of study.
- Update your resume, and include any internships, practicum experiences, and/or volunteer experience. Have your updated resume critiqued by the Career Center.
- Sign up for Wheelock Works, an online job listing system that has part-time, full-time, summer, internship, and volunteer opportunities.
- Begin making connections for the future by attending the Career Center Career Fairs to learn about different organizations, to meet employers in person, and to find out what kinds of skills/qualifications that organizations are looking for in successful candidates.
- As appropriate, gather documents from your practicum or internship for your portfolio.
- Consider developing your leadership skills through participation in professional organizations related to your discipline.
AS YOU NEAR THE COMPLETION OF YOUR PROGRAM:
Continue to Network and Focus on Your Career Choice
- Remain focused and work hard to get good grades. Continue to connect with departments who offer academic support.
- Review job descriptions within career fields of interest to become familiar with the skills, qualifications, and background that employers are seeking on Wheelock Works.
- Work with Career Center staff and revise your resume to reflect any additional work or volunteer experience that you have gained over the past year.
- Continue to attend Career Center-sponsored events, including the Career Fairs, so that you can connect with employers in your field and expand your network of contacts. Attend the MERC Education Career Fair in the spring if that is your chosen discipline.
- Participate in Career Center career development workshops over the course of the academic year.
- Continue to build your network of contacts in both academic and internship or practicum settings.
- Schedule a mock interview to practice your skills before meeting with employers.
- Network with Wheelock alumni who are working in your career field, and conduct informational interviews to learn more about the careers and organizations that interest you.
- Join professional organizations in your field and attend local, regional, or national meetings and conferences to assist you with networking.
- Even if a portfolio may not be required in your specific discipline, develop a summary or collection of organized information that illustrates your skills and abilities in your area of study.
- Assess your transferable skills, which are skills that you have developed throughout your academic career, including your field experience practica or internships, that can be used in other professional settings (e.g., organizational skills, communication skills, the ability to work well in teams, etc.). Think about how you can talk to employers about these valuable experiences.
- Consider at least three Key Strengths that you possess, and discuss examples in an interview. Understand that your strengths can also be transferable skills. Review job descriptions to see if the skills/qualifications relate to your key strengths.
- Request positive references from individuals who know you well months in advance of your graduation.
- Meet with faculty members about your career interests before graduation—they can provide valuable advice.