Feb 09

Graduate Career Services: A Student Perspective

Periodically, we will have guest blog posts to provide different and unique perspectives. Today, first-year English PhD student, Trish Bredar, describes her experience meeting with a Graduate Career Consultant.


Graduate Career Services: A Student Perspective

By Trish Bredar

It’s never too early to meet with a Graduate Career Consultant. As a first-year doctoral student, I’m years away from entering the job market and tend to focus on more immediate concerns: seminar papers, comprehensive exams, publishing, etc. Nevertheless, that future career search is always in the back of my mind. Like most PhD students, my goal is to secure a tenure track position at a university. And, like many PhDs, I’m also aware that the job market looks pretty grim. So even though I have a nice four-year cushion, I believe it’s important to keep my options open as I plan and prepare for my future career.

That’s where Graduate Career Services comes in. Even at the earliest, exploratory stages of career planning, their consultants can provide resources and services to help you on your way. I walked into my first appointment with only a vague idea of what I wanted to talk about and I walked out with a new set of resources and a few action-oriented goals for my first year. Based on my experience, I’ve compiled a brief rundown of some topics you might cover in an initial GCS visit:

  • Career-assessments: If you’re not quite sure what your ideal career looks like, or if you want to explore a few career alternatives, GCS has both formal and informal assessments to help you hone in on the industries, positions, and work environments best suited to your values, interests, and skills.
  • Web presence: Learn how to cultivate your professional identity online and get the most out of networking sites like LinkedIn. Building your network is a gradual process with a small time commitment, so it’s a perfect project to work on over the course of your graduate career.
  • Resume and CV review: This is another task that you shouldn’t leave until the last minute. Have a professional look over your materials; they can help you revise your current documents and provide tips for keeping your resume and CV streamlined and up-to-date as you add new experience.

Of course, these are just a few starting points. Your needs will be different depending on your program and your unique career path. Take the time to sit down with a graduate career consultant and discover the GCS resources that make sense for you. Get started by e-mailing gradcareers@nd.edu