Oct 08

Didn’t get the job? Here’s what to do.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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It’s happened to all of us. You interview for an opportunity, but get the call or email saying you’re no longer being considered for the role. What should you do? How should you respond? The steps you take could make a difference.

The first step is to reflect on how you personally feel the interview went. Were you confident in all of your answers, or did you feel like you had to stumble through some of them? Did you feel like you made a good connection with the interviewer, or did they seem cold and distant during the conversation? Did you remember to send a Thank You note? Were any of the interview questions particularly challenging to answer? If so, think of ways you could have answered them differently now that you are no longer in the moment. You can also speak with your Graduate Career Consultant about recommended approaches to answering difficult interview questions, and/or schedule a mock interview to practice them.

The next step depends on what information you received from the employer. Did they give you any feedback as to what you could have done differently or improved on from the interview itself? Did they give you any feedback on the aspects of your background they deemed insufficient for the role? Probably not, because most employers aren’t forthcoming with such feedback, instead relying on the standard “we have many qualified candidates” phrase, but sometimes they do. If they didn’t, you are certainly welcome (and encouraged) to seek such feedback. Here is one approach:

Good afternoon, [INTERVIEWER NAME], and thank you again for your time last week and for confirming my status the other day. I have been reflecting on our conversation, and would greatly appreciate if you might share some feedback on ways I could either improve my interview skills or strengthen my background for future opportunities. Were there any shortcomings in my approach during the interview process? Are their deficiencies in my experience, academics, or skillsets that I can address to make myself a more competitive candidate? Any insights or feedback you can provide would be sincerely and genuinely appreciated as I continue my efforts to make an impact on [THE TOPIC OF THE WORK] in future opportunities with [ORGANIZATION NAME] or elsewhere.

Gratefully,
[YOUR NAME]

Please revise it into your voice, but your goal is to obtain some feedback that will help you increase your chances for success in future applications. Also, you could reiterate your interest in the opportunity or other jobs that might better fit your background. Sometimes if they liked you as an individual but just couldn’t fit you for that role, such a follow up can lead to either reconsidering you (e.g. moving you to the top of the alternate list) or working to find other opportunities that suit your skillsets now that they know how interested you are and that you’re the kind of person who follows through on matters of importance.

More insights into interview success strategies can be found in the interviews section of our website. We are happy to work with you one-on-one to help strengthen your interview skills or any other aspects of your career development. Please contact your Graduate Career Consultant or schedule an appointment through Handshake.

Have you had success requesting feedback from interviewers after being declined for a job opportunity? Share your stories in the comments below!

Jun 13

Interview Tips on Being Prepared

If you graduated in May or will be soon, you’ll likely have interviews coming up if not already. Therefore, I wanted to touch base with some tips and resources for the interview process. Feel free to schedule a mock interview with your Graduate Career Consultant, or reach out to them with any follow up questions you might have.

A PDF of our guidebook chapter on general interviews can be found here, while the nuanced tips of academic interviews are described in this chapter. They both have great insights into interview processes, and should help point you in the right direction for success. The STAR method of answering behavioral interview questions (Tell me about a time when…) should also be applied anytime you want to tell a story in order to provide some structure to it. More interview insights can be found on our website starting here.

In the meantime, my #1 tip for interview success is to be as prepared as possible. Think of it like a test, and imagine how you would study for a final exam. The more familiar you are with the material from the course or the chapter, the more confident you are that no matter what questions appear on the exam you’ll know the answer. For interviews, you want to “study” your background and experiences so that no matter what Q’s you get you’ll have stories to share that fit what they’re looking for. If you haven’t thought of those stories in advance, it is much more difficult to remember the details off the top of your head during the interview. Even if you don’t have interviews coming up, you can be thinking about these stories in advance and creating notes that you can study once an interview gets scheduled down the road.

The other half of your homework is to “study” the organization and its industry so you can a) show that you know who they are and what they do, and b) show how your background can help them solve their problems (i.e. you can put the stories of your past achievements in their context to resonate better). The research into their org and industry also helps you ask insightful questions that can be framed by what you found, such as “I noticed on your website you have a new initiative to do ____. What opportunities are there for this role to engage with projects like that?” That contrasts with the less-informed question “What kinds of projects would I work on?”

Finally, remember that in the back of your interviewer’s head they’re always asking themselves “Is this the kind of person who will fit in on our team?” and “Would I enjoy working with this person on a day-to-day basis?” Those aren’t questions they can ask, so it’s more of a feeling or perception based on how well you are connecting with them. I don’t necessarily want to say how “likable” you are, but there’s an element of that. Let your positive energy and enthusiasm come through during the conversation, and don’t forget to smile. Even if it’s a phone interview, smiling will affect how you say things, and that will come through on the phone. More phone and video interview tips are included in the guidebook chapter, too.

Have you applied these tips successfully in the past? What are some of your favorite strategies for interview success? Leave us a comment below to join the conversation.

Mar 26

Starting a New Job: smooth transitions  

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

 

The search is over, and you’ve accepted a new role. Congratulations! If that doesn’t apply to you now, it soon will. And once it does, a whole new exciting process begins: transitioning from graduate school to your new job. Whether that is in academia, industry, government, or otherwise, there are a few strategies you can use to successfully begin the next chapter of your career.

First, check to see if your new organization will be providing you with any kind of formal mentor during the first year or 90 days? Someone who can help ease your transition, particularly to the sociocultural norms of your new organization and city. If not, seek one out on your own. Part of your supervisor’s support could be in facilitating the connection to someone who would be willing and interested to meet with you a few times as you get settled into your role. Check out the articles pinned on the “Career Advice & Inspiration” board of our Pinterest page for more tips on launching a successful career.

Moving to an unfamiliar city can be daunting as well. Notre Dame provides many opportunities for social support that might be missed once you leave campus. Finding a similar network will be important for replacing those support systems. In an example where you might be moving to Baltimore, you could seek out local young professional groups, or if you enjoy running and fitness you could look into the Baltimore November Project club as a way to meet new people.

Another resource you can access while you’re still on campus is GoinGlobal. One of the best features of GoinGlobal are the “City Guides,” and they have guides for 47 U.S. cities from Albuquerque to Washington DC. Moving abroad? There are business and cultural guides for 41 Countries and 32 international cities. As long as you’re connected to the ND internet (or proxied into the library databases) you can utilize our campus subscription. You can find it down in the list of employer databases on this page of our website.

Finally, don’t forget about the Notre Dame Alumni Clubs as a fantastic way of staying connected to friendly faces.

Please add your own tips for transitioning to a new organization and city in the comments below.

Want to plan a personalized strategy for your unique situation? Schedule an appointment with your graduate career consultant today!

Feb 04

Tips for Career Fair Success

With the Winter Career Fair rescheduled for next week, here are some tips for preparing in advance.

1) Research the organizations ahead of time so you are prepared to have meaningful conversations with the recruiters. You can ask insightful questions based on what you know about the organization, and to have them help fill in any gaps about the company, department, or opportunities. Also, if you know about the orgs in advance you will also be able to describe your previous experiences in ways that will resonate with them. View the organizations who have already registered by logging into Go IRISH.

2) Before you approach a recruiter at the fair (or while you’re in line if applicable), you can review some of the notes you took about the organization to remind yourself of talking points or questions you might have for them. When you talk to the folks who are there, this kind of preparation can help you stand out from everyone else who is walking up cold and saying things like “so, what does your organization do exactly?”

3) When you first arrive at the fair, don’t talk to your dream org first. Instead, have 1-2 warm-up conversations with other organizations that might interest you but where it’s ok if you fumble through a story or two. Then, once you’re confident and ready, approach your top organizations.

4) After you have met everyone you researched ahead of time, spend the rest of the fair looking at the displays of the other organizations with fresh eyes. You never know who might catch your attention that you didn’t notice from the list of companies ahead of time. It’s fine to approach these orgs to learn more about them, you just won’t appear quite as prepared as for the others. That’s fine, too.

5) Don’t be surprised if the recruiters don’t know about their organization’s graduate student level opportunities. Notre Dame is well known for its undergrad programs, and therefore many organizations target their undergrad opportunities when coming to our campus. In those situations, use the conversation to learn more about the organization, and ask the recruiters or alumni in attendance if they could help connect you to someone who oversees master and phd level hiring or more experienced candidates.

6) Get business cards and send thank you notes. Even though it’s not technically an interview and might only be a 5 minute conversation, you still want to show that you appreciated their time and that you are indeed interested in opportunities with them. This will help you stand out from the hundreds of people they talked to who might not even be interested anymore.

7) The slides from a previous career fair prep workshop can be viewed here. “Speaker notes” appear on some slides in a little conversation bubble at the top left corner of applicable slides when viewed in Adobe Reader, or to the right when viewed via Google Chrome preview.

8) Advice directly from an employer recruiter can be found here.

Best wishes for success at the upcoming career fair. Do you have any other tips from previous career fair experiences? Please leave them in the comments below.

Need help preparing for the fair? Schedule an appointment with your graduate career consultant today.

Jan 09

Ideas for Professional References

A student recently asked about identifying individuals who could serve as a professional reference when the job seeker does not have significant experience in the career field. Here are some of our thoughts:

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When it comes to references, the best practice is to use people who have seen your work (and work ethic and professionalism etc.) in action. It’s really nice if they can speak to your directly related skills and experiences, but if you are pivoting that may not be available. They’ll ideally be able to share personal stories of your successes, but at a minimum can confirm that you show up to work on time, come prepared, make productive contributions to the organization, are a pleasant individual, know your stuff, etc.

Professors and PIs work well for current students, as they can attest to your field-specific skills, initiative, preparedness, etc. Working professionals should try to think of other folks at the organization with whom you have had productive working relationships. They could be project managers from teams who relied on your support or contributions, or people at client organizations with whom you have had numerous (positive) professional interactions.

If you left a previous job or program on good terms, perhaps someone from that organization would be willing to be a reference.

Are you involved in any professional or civic associations? When I applied to my role here at ND I had been on the leadership team for our professional consortium. In addition to my direct supervisor, two of my three professional references came from other members of that leadership team, since I had worked closely with them on a number of initiatives over the recent years.

If you completed research or a capstone project with individuals at external organizations, think of someone from that experience who could potentially be a reference.

Professional references should never include family members, and there’s no need to include friends or clergy as “character” references.

Additional information about references can be found on this page of our website.

A note about formatting: Use the same format for your name and contact info at the top of your references page as you use on your resume. And proofread the formatting of each reference listing to make sure things like phone numbers and e-mail addresses are formatted consistently.

Finally: I encourage you to add LinkedIn recommendations to your profile. If someone writes 3-4 sentences about what a great job you did on a project or in their class, other employers will see you as a valuable addition to their team. Just like endorsements, the fastest way to get recommended is to recommend the work of others. While endorsed skills help you appear in employer search results, recommendations hold more value in the eye of actual readers because those people took the time to sit down and write a few sentences rather than simply pushing a button. NOTE: I want to emphasize that these are short, 3-4 sentence, recommendations, definitely not an entire letter of recommendation or anything like that. I have a number of recommendations on my profile if you want to see what they look like. If someone writes you a glowing LinkedIn recommendation with the right context, then perhaps you could ask them to also be a professional reference for you during your search.

  • The fastest way to get recommended on LinkedIn is to write recommendations for other people. Often they will want to reciprocate.
Have you found other successful references from other sources? Please share in the comments.
We are here to assist your job search and career development. Let us know what you need! http://gradcareers.nd.edu

Oct 15

Interviews Over Lunch Or Dinner

A student reached out to us recently for tips on interviewing over lunch. As the fall recruiting season reaches the point where on-site interviews will become more common, and in preparation for the academic flyouts in the winter, here are some tips for successful interviews that take place over lunch or dinner.

1) The meal is definitely still part of the interview process. While you likely will have the chance to ask questions, your interviewers or search committee will probably dig deeper into how you fit with the team and what you bring to the role. Part of that process is gauging how well you get along with everyone at the table, how smoothly the conversation goes, and how at ease they feel with you as a member of their group. They’ll be making sure they’d want to have more lunch meetings with you in the future, so try to feel like you’re part of the team.

2) Should I get the lobster? If they say they’re taking you to a restaurant that has the best lobster in town, that’s your cue to get the lobster if you want. Otherwise, don’t get something too expensive. Order from the “middle of the menu.” Not physically the middle, but in terms of price range. Don’t feel like you have to order the least expensive menu item just to show you’re being sensitive to their budget, but don’t order the most expensive thing either.

3) Is that my water or yours? If the place settings at the table are close together, your bread plate is on the left and your drink glass is on the right. You can easily remember by either the acronym BMW (Bread plate is on the left, Main course dish is in the middle, and Water glass is on the right), or by making your fingers into the shape of b and d:

4) Take SMALL BITES of food. Inevitably someone will ask you a question as soon as you take a big bite of food, and then everyone will wait awkwardly while you chew and swallow as fast as possible. 🙂 Taking small bites will speed up that process.

5) Absolutely avoid anything messy. If they take you to a sandwich place, it’s ok to get a sandwich that requires use of your hands, but it shouldn’t be so saucy that it runs all over your fingers or drips down your chin. Also avoid things that can splatter your clothes like pasta. Good options generally include a fancy salad (rather than just a basic house salad…see #2 above), a skillet style dish that you eat with a knife and fork, or a sandwich wrap that would stay contained better than bread or bun sandwiches whose ingredients can spill out the back. And again, small bites.

If you get something like a chicken salad wrap, it can be helpful to eat about 50% of the “guts” first with your fork, then either continue with your fork or pick up the wrap with its more manageable amount of filling that won’t spill out as easily.

 

Ultimately you want them paying attention to what you’re saying and how they feel having you around for a lunch meeting. Ideally they won’t even notice that you’re eating because it will be seamless, but you do have to eat so hopefully the above steps will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls of the meal interview.

Additional Resources

If you’re not just meeting at the restaurant and you have the chance to see the office space itself, this Forbes article provides tips on what to look for around the office.

Don’t worry about every minor piece of “proper” dining etiquette (there are far too many to keep them all straight), but this article offers a pretty succinct list of good ones.

 

What other tips do you have for interviews over lunch and dinner? What has worked well for you in the past? If you have any questions or concerns, consider scheduling an appointment with your Graduate Career Consultant.

Sep 13

Q/A: Headhunters and Third Party Recruiting Firms

Recently a student contacted us with a question about a “headhunter” or recruiter who reached out. Here’s our advice if this happens to you.

Question: I was recently contacted by a headhunter for data related positions in the Cleveland area where I am looking to work.  I’m hesitant to trust working with him as he had a very used car salesman-like approach, and I feel like I would be put at a disadvantage applying through a headhunter given that the employer would have to pay a fee in order to hire me through a headhunter. He did not mention having any special connections, so to me this seems like its not a good option for me. I wanted to check with you to see if you agree with my thinking on this.

Answer: First there’s a difference between a “headhunter” and a “third party recruiting firm” (TPRF). It’s pretty common lingo for someone to refer to both as a “headhunter,” but TPRFs are usually legitimate sources of viable opportunities. Companies and organizations do not always have the manpower to conduct their own hiring processes, and may contract with a TPRF to source candidates and to conduct initial screening interviews. They’ve often already paid up front for these services, and if you were to engage the company outside of this TPRF they may end up having to pay the fee anyway depending on how the contract is set up. Some companies in those cases won’t talk to you outside of that process, so you might not ever learn of those opportunities otherwise. It’s just the process they are using, and again it’s usually when they don’t have the human resources team to put in the grunt work (or the capacity to search for a specialized skill, such as working with data). Consider TPRF opportunities as one option within a diversified job search approach. Don’t ignore them, as you’ll miss out on opportunities, but don’t put all your eggs in the TPRF basket.

“Headhunters” on the other hand are individuals or firms that try to collect good candidates and then sell them to companies for opportunities they might have posted. This can in fact be shady, and that’s why they differentiate from TPRFs where companies have specifically requested the services ahead of time.

Additional Notes

  • You the job seeker should never have to pay a TPRF for their services. The hiring companies pay the fee, as you mention. If anyone asks you for money as the applicant, that’s a big red flag and you should move on.
  • If a TPRF believes you are a good candidate for a job they’re trying to fill, they will go out of their way to help you prepare for success in the interview process. It’s in their best interest for you to succeed, since that’s how they get paid (and also if you work out then they’re more likely to get additional contracts in the future). However, remember that you are not their client (the company is). Therefore, there are times when they might drop communications with you completely. As frustrating as that is, try not to take it personally. Continue to follow up periodically with them in a tactful and professional way, and hopefully they will give you the professional courtesy of confirming you aren’t being considered for a particular opportunity anymore. In most cases, though, they’ll just put their time into the people who are still being considered, but the savvy ones will keep their positive relationship with you in case other jobs come through where you would be a good fit.
  • If a recruiter reaches out to you for a job you’re not interested in, politely indicate that this particular opportunity does not align with your current career goals, but that you would be interested in positions that fit [insert your criteria here]. They might have other opportunities you’re not aware of.
  • Understand that sometimes the TPRF cannot tell you explicitly what company a particular opportunity is for until you actually apply and make it through an initial screening. This sounds crazy, but sometimes it’s to keep you from going around them in the event the company would be willing to hire you directly to avoid the fee, and sometimes other kinds of privacy issues are involved. Remember that you might not be able to find the opportunity on your own without the TPRF, so if the work of the job itself appeals to you and “large healthcare corporation in Cleveland” or whatever generic description they provide sounds interesting, you can always apply and decide later that the actual organization itself is not a good fit if that ends up being the case.
  • Try not to be too put off by the used salesman shtick, but do use it as one data point in the overall relationship you would have with the recruiter. They’re in a “sales” field of sorts, though, so that can attract a stereotypical type of sales personality. If you don’t feel like it will be a positive relationship, and enough red flags pop up that you’re not comfortable engaging them in the process, then definitely don’t feel like you have to work with them. Also, keep your eyes and ears open for any kind of fine print obligations to make sure you don’t get stuck doing something, and also any kind of confidentiality agreements where you agree not to go separately to a company once they’ve disclosed the name of the organization.

Use your judgement, but don’t rule them out without getting all the info. Good luck, and happy “hunting”!

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Have you encountered TPRFs before? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Sep 04

Fall Recruiting Season is Underway

Fall is one of the busiest times of year for organizational recruiting, and this year is no different. Below are a few opportunities to know about, and here are some additional resources to get you started:

1) STEM Coffee & Careers. This is a great opportunity for graduate students with STEM backgrounds to engage with employers in an informal setting to better understand their organizations, cultures, talent needs, and to showcase research and academic training. More details, including the list of registered organizations, can be found here. 10:30am-12:30pm Wednesday 9/5.

2) Fall Career Expo. Over 250 organizations are expected to attend this year’s Fall Career Expo from 4:30-8:30pm Wednesday 9/5. Find the list of companies in Go IRISH under Events à Career Fairs, and target 5-10 employers that you particularly want to speak with at the fair.

3) Employer Information Sessions. Throughout the fall semester, organizations come to campus to provide workshops with information about their opportunities, hiring processes, culture, etc. These are great ways to learn more about the companies and build relationships with recruiters, alumni, and other reps. The sessions are publicized in Go IRISH under Events à Information Sessions.

4) On-Campus Interviews. Throughout the fall semester, employers come to campus to interview candidates for their opportunities. While many of these will target undergraduate students, there are some for which graduate students are eligible. Search for jobs in Go IRISH (you can set up alerts to notify you when new ones get posted), and apply for any that interest you. Ones with on-campus interview schedules will be noted.

Have you had success recently or in the past through these fall recruiting initiatives? Please share your stories and advice in the comments below.

Aug 16

Welcome Advice From Our New Director

(Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s post comes from our new Director of Graduate Career Services, Rob Coloney.

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Welcome (back, should it apply to you) to the University of Notre Dame! Since 1842, the campus has always been most exciting when you, our students, grace it with your presence. Like some of you, I am new to the Notre Dame family; joining the Fighting Irish family after spending my entire life in the Northeast. It is my distinct privilege and honor to serve as the new Director of Graduate Career Services.

I firmly believe that life and our purpose therein becomes clearer as you allow yourself to embrace change, challenge, and faith. As I navigated to South Bend to begin a new chapter in my life, many of you are doing the same; either for the first time, or to continue a journey of exploration, striving to have a profound impact on the world around you. Much like Father Edward Sorin, each of you have seen beauty, promise, and a future in the University of Notre Dame, and yourselves. Upon arriving on the banks of the St. Joseph River, and writing back to Father Basil Moreau in 1842, Father Sorin knew of the tremendous potential, believed in the opportunity, and in turn, founded our University…YOUR University. As we begin this academic year, we, the administration of this University, see that same tremendous potential, and believe in your opportunity to enact positive change on our nation, and our world. Throughout this year, and your time at the University of Notre Dame, I encourage you to stand by a few principles (from a career perspective, and beyond):

  • Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable. Allow yourself to be challenged. Go beyond the realms of where you’ve ventured before. Say “YES,” more than you say “NO.” By allowing yourself to experience all that the University has to offer, you will be immersing yourself in the tremendous educational opportunity you’ve afforded yourself through your tireless effort and work to this point. To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice your innate gift; experience everything.
  • Find a Sherpa. No one would dare climb to the top of Mount Everest without one. In turn, no one is expecting you to navigate a challenging journey alone. Find a mentor, administrator, staff member, faculty member, or better yet, all of the above. Ask questions! Graduate School is challenging, but we’re all in this mission together. We want you to succeed, and want to ensure you have every tool available to you in order to make that dream a reality.
  • Failure is not permanent, unless you allow it to be. Each one of us, at one point or another, has been humbled in this life. We’ve all succeeded, but, personally, I’ve learned far more from my failures than my successes. In fact, I attribute any success I’ve had to the learning experiences that bloom from failure. In the words of the inspiring Randy Pausch, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

When Father Sorin founded Notre Dame, and corresponded with Father Moreau, he recognized that while the future was unclear, and the undertaking significant, the potential was tremendous. “…this college cannot fail to succeed…Before long, it will develop on a large scale…It will be one of the most powerful means for good in this country.”

Since 1842, the University of Notre Dame has held true to those incredibly powerful words. Now, YOU are tasked with continuing the mission. I encourage you to take advantage of this very special place – we are lucky to have you, and cannot wait to work with you on achieving your dreams, and realizing your full potential.

Your Research Matters. You Matter. Be a Force for Good.

Robert J. Coloney

Aug 02

Personal & Professional Development

Today’s blog post was written by Liz Loughran, Graduate Career Consultant for the College of Science. Liz also has her Ph.D. from Notre Dame, and provides her perspectives below.

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Why engage in personal & professional development (PD)? There are multiple ways to consider this question. From a holistic perspective, engaging in PD can lead to a happier, healthier, more fulfilling graduate education. A more pragmatic perspective is that fantastic research and publications alone may not be enough to land you a job or career you want in a dynamic economy after graduating. Not only does PD lead to a well-rounded graduate education and a smoother transition to your first destination post graduation, it provides the opportunity to develop skills, perspectives and relationships you will carry past graduate school into the rest of your life. In this post, I share about two of my PD experiences from my Ph.D. at Notre Dame and give a few tips for engaging in PD as a graduate student.

Ethical Leaders in STEM

Ethical Leaders in STEM was a precursor to LASER (Leadership Advancing Socially Engaged Research). These are amazing opportunities and I encourage all graduate students to consider applying for LASER. Two among many highlights of EL-STEM were:

  • Crucibles. Over the course of the year, each fellow shared a reflection on a crucible, or a challenging moment or experience that allows a person to grow through reflection on values, motives, assumptions and judgments made. Crucibles are often pivotal moments in the life of a leader. This practice of sharing crucibles helped me adapt a framework with which to understand and make use of difficult events or experiences in my life. I became quicker to recognize that difficult situations can help me grow. I now have more hope that difficult situations will produce something new.
  • Career Uncertainty. EL-STEM provided a forum for conversation with peers and speakers about the uncertainty involved in career discernment. More often than not, the road to our goals is circuitous. Learning to expect the unexpected, accept uncertainties and to stop worrying has been really valuable to me.

3MT

The Graduate School Shaheen Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is an opportunity to showcase your research to a general audience in 3 minutes. This is why I chose to participate in 3MT and how it benefited me:

  • I wanted to enhance my ability to communicate my research to a general audience.
  • I used some of the content and my slide (which I spent a lot of time on!) in my defense introduction. It was a great way to engage my audience, many of whom were not scientists, right off the bat.
  • If you are a finalist, you will have a published link of yourself presenting that you can share during a job search. Even if you don’t make it to the finals, you’ll have a recording of your first round presentation that you can share.
  • Both in high school drama productions and graduate school presentations, I always got the jitters for the first 5 minutes of presenting. After that, I calmed down and enjoyed presenting. 3MT was a unique challenge for me because it’s only 3 minutes! There’s no time to settle into presentation mode. I knew I wanted to learn to manage adrenaline and nerves at the beginning of presentations more effectively, and practice makes perfect.
  • 3MT is fun. It affords a chance to meet other grad students from diverse fields and do something challenging together.

A few tips from Liz

  • Think of professional development as part of your graduate education. During my dissertation work, I had a piece of copy paper with a green outline of a shamrock. In each of the 3 leaves was written Research, Writing, Professional Development. This served as a visual reminder to engage in PD and “gave me permission” to take the time to engage in activities other than my research.
  • Connect with other graduate students, including from other disciplines. Graduate school can feel isolating at times, with large amounts of time spent in your library carrel or laboratory. Know you are not alone! There are many people eager to connect with you. Gradlife events are great way to connect with others, as are professional development opportunities through the graduate school, departmental clubs and associations like AWIS and SWE.
  • Pick 1-3 personal/professional development items each month. Keep an eye on the professional development webpage of the Graduate School and come meet with your Graduate Career Consultant.
  • The unexamined life is not worth living. Carve out time to engage in self-reflection. In June, Erik Simon wrote a blog post stressing the importance of reflecting on and understanding ourselves. Reflections on our values, skills and interests and how they intersect is an important piece to your career development. Engage in assessments on gradcareers.nd.edu as well as through myIDP (STEM) and ImaginePhD (Humanities).
  • Apply for Grants and funding early and often. Applying for funding is critical whether or not you plan to stay in academia or pursue a career outside academia.
  • Go out to lunch with faculty candidates, attend their job talks and participate in student-led interviews within your department.
  • Apply for a Common Good Initiative (GGI) seminar with the Center for Social Concerns and reflect on how your discipline can benefit the common good. I participated in CGI Haiti 2015 and it was a profound experience.

What are ways you engage in PD and how do you think about PD in the context of graduate education? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments section below.

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