From Graduate School to Career
Congratulations! You’ve completed your graduate program! You have participated in a graduation ceremony, and on the first of the month you will show up for work ready to use your advanced skills. Or, maybe you’ll take the summer to travel and apply for grants before starting your PhD program!
You are prepared because you spent the last year or semester of your graduate program actively seeking and securing your next professional or academic move.
During that preparation time you took the following steps.
Polish your resume and C.V. The resume is a well-organized, but brief, list of skills and experience. It is typically focused on a particular job application. A Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) is a record of life-long achievements. It includes a full list of degrees, positions, awards, grants, publications, and more. It is important to regularly update these documents as new achievements and experiences help describe your readiness for specific careers. As you build more advanced skills, you can remove the early items, like high school achievements. Monterey County has a comprehensive guide to the art of resume construction.
What kinds of positions are you both qualified for and are interested in pursuing? Cast a wide net. Be flexible about relocating if possible. Internet searches of the companies you might like to work for will reveal lists of open positions and internships. Talk to your graduate professors about career opportunities and about the benefits of entering a PhD program. Attend career fairs that are held each year on campus (or virtually). CSUMB Advising and Career Center can help you search a wide range of opportunities.
Until you land your first job, your only job is to get interviews that might lead to a job offer. Once you get an offer, you can see what the total job package offers in terms of salary and benefits. Until you get an offer, your career is somewhat theoretical. Practice interviewing with others on campus. Do an internet search on common interview questions, and practice answering them. Don’t be caught off-guard. Monterey County has a great interview guide. It takes homework and preparation to impress a potential employer. Take the time to learn about the company—demonstrate that the company you are applying to is your first choice for a long-term career.
Internships are opportunities for temporary employment. The internship is a time-honored way to see if you really like a particular job, and for a business to see what kind of employee you would be. In many cases, the business gives you a permanent job offer following the internship because you were a great fit. Monterey County has a strong internship program. Other internship opportunities might be listed by your program coordinator.
Build a professional online profile. Potential employers scour the internet to see if you use social media responsibly. Take down unprofessional postings and images from your Facebook page. Join LinkedIn and create a professional online presence. Make your LinkedIn page into a brief resume. Your graduate program might also have a special LinkedIn group that you can join. Build your network of professional connections. You will be stunned at how soon your classmates have become your professional network. The person you sat next to in your GWAR class might be the person that hires you in 4 years! Be respectful of your colleagues. LinkedIn is also a resource for job hunting because many businesses post open positions there.
The CSUMB Advising and Career Center has some career searching support.