Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Your Future After Graduate School

Brock University is home to a growing number of graduate programs at both the Masters and PhD level. Career planning is a crucial aspect of any graduate students' educational experience. Having a Masters or a PhD is not a free ticket to your dream career - there is still a lot of work to do in order to guarantee yourself a job after graduation. Luckily, Career Services is equipped with a fantastic new resource called Navigating Your Career Search, a graduate student career resource guide by Shane LeBlanc which can assist you in choosing an appropriate career path and helping you prepare for a career in academia or for a private and not-for-profit sector.

The earlier you start considering your career options, the better. LeBlanc suggests finding ways to prepare yourself for your career while you are still working through your graduate studies. Don't allow your education to be your only relevant experience! Having real world experience on your CV or resume will significantly increase your chances of finding relevant employment after completing your graduate studies. Find ways to make yourself stand out among the other post-graduate students - be creative!

The guide also mentions ways of identifying your own abilities and understanding the transferable skills that you obtain during your graduate studies. LeBlanc suggests writing down all the tasks that you completed during your graduate studies, describing what was involved in the completion of these tasks, and outlining the skills and strengths that you developed in order to be successful in this area. This type of in depth personal reflection will allow you to understand your own strengths and weaknesses and the ways that your graduate studies have prepared your career and will provide you with information to include on your resume, cover letter, or during interviews. If you need help brainstorming a list of potential skills acquired by a graduate student can be found in the back of Navigating Your Career Search on page 53.

A final area of LeBlanc's graduate student career guide that should be highlighted is his detailed over view of what to include in a curriculum vitae (CV). He presents a list of different sections to include on a CV as well as a description of the potential experiences to list under each heading. He also provides tips on selecting appropriate references. One of the services available to students and alumni at our career centre is a drop-in CV review. So if you have any questions while preparing your document or you are interested in having someone read over it for you feel free to stop by!

I highly suggest all future, current, and past graduate students stop by Career Services and take a look through Shane LeBlanc's Navigating Your Career Search guide. Our Career Assistants are also more then happy to assist you with your graduate school preparation and career search.

Plan ahead and consider all of your options. But most importantly, enjoy being immersed in what you love!

- Ashley, Sr. Career Assistant

Further reading available in the career centre for graduate students:
  •  The Academic Job Search Handbook (4th Edition)
     by Julia Miller Vick and Jeniffer S. Furlong
  •  The Chicago Guide to Your Academic Career
     by John A. Goldsmith, John Komlos, and Penny Schine Gold
  • Post-Grad Studies Binder
    Brock University, Career Services
  • How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae
    by Acy L. Jackson and C. Kathleen Gecheis

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