Winter Career Development Checklist

On December 11, 2013 by Grad Forum

light_snow_green_thumbnailThe winter break is an ideal time for graduate students to take important steps toward reaching their career goals. While the first priority is taking time to rejuvenate after an intense fall term (for ideas of what to do for fun in the area, see the Graduate Forum’s Winter Bucket List article), the extra time can also be useful for developing contacts and working on job application materials.

Here is a list of career development suggestions from the Graduate Career Office:

  1. Create or update your resume or curriculum vitae. Visit the Dartmouth Graduate Studies site for tips on resume and CV writing.
  2. Create a LinkedIn profile and start joining relevant groups such as Dartmouth Graduate Studies.
  3. Make sure your other social media sites are professional. Future employers will look at them! If you do not have a personal website, consider creating one so you can control the content that potential employers see when they search for you online.
  4. Do a career assessment by filling out myIDP. It will give you possible career paths based on your selected interests and skills. You might be surprised by the variety of potential jobs.
  5. Invite your advisor out for coffee to discuss where you are in your program and your future career goals. Also, share your results from completing myIDP with your advisor.
  6. Start networking by going to the Dartmouth Career Network where you can look up undergraduate and graduate alumni in almost any field. Collect 3-5 names, their contact information, and start reaching out. Make sure to have a resume ready.
  7. If you do not own a suit (or if you own one that does not fit or is the one you wore at your high school graduation), make sure to shop the holiday sales. Look for a black or navy suit.
  8. Watch Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers: Demystifying the Process, a talk by guest speaker Sharon Belden Castonguay, the director of the Career Center at Wesleyan University. Castonguay shares useful information about the entire job interview process, including receiving a job offer.
  9. Practice describing your research to family and friends. Ask them to describe it back to you in their own words so you can identify potential areas of confusion or points when you were being unclear.
  10. Volunteer at a local organization that may need your short-term help.
  11. Think about the clubs and organizations you would like to join or start this winter term. These clubs/organizations will help you develop your “soft” skills—skills that will complement your strong research skills. Check out the list of graduate student organizations you can join on the Graduate Student Council website.
  12. Make a career counseling appointment with me, Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Affairs Kerry Landers, in the Graduate Studies Office. Bring your resume or CV for feedback.

by Kerry Landers

photo by Corinne Arndt Girouard

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