Graduate school is the stepping stone to your professional future. It provides the knowledge and skills that will launch your career. Where do you think you are going?
You may have a very clear idea of what you want to do and how to get there. Or you may be considering a number of options. Or you might not have given the matter much consideration.
Whatever the case, talking with a career counselor can help you turn your dreams into reality.
A grad student’s best resource, outside of your department, might be the Career Development Center. You may be unfamiliar with the resources available to you, because you don’t think that they are for you.
Common misconceptions include:
- The Career Center is exclusively for undergrads on your campus.
- Your future is mapped out: grad school to post doc to faculty. So you don’t need any of the services of a Career Center.
- Services are only for those who are actively on the job market.
My goal with this post is to convince you to reach out to the career center on your campus soon. There is so much to take advantage of. Their services complement what is available in your department.
Building your professional network requires active effort. There are 4 steps as you move from meeting people to creating enduring connections. Remember them as the Four I‘s.
Initiate & Inquire
(I know that is really five.)
You are the center of your web of connection. The people you are connected to form your professional network. Your connections reach out in all directions.
The members of your network are the people you know who share your professional interests. These are two-way connections. You give to members of your network and they give to you. At the same time, you are a node in their network.
You build connections in three directions:
- You network UP to those who are more powerful and important than you are.
- You network ACROSS with your peers.
- You network DOWN to those who are coming after you.
The PhD Pathways career conference at Stanford University, held on Friday, January 29, 2016, offered a wealth of information, advice and inspiration.
Nearly 300 PhDs and postdocs attended a day-long conference. It included a dozen panels of PhDs working in non-faculty careers, workshops on career skills, and a keynote address by Peter Fiske, author of Put Your Science to Work.
Here are my five top take-aways from the conference.
“Networking” is a term that has a bad reputation in academia. It implies self-absorbed scheming.
I am talking about something different. Networking is intentionally building your professional network for success as a grad student and as a professional. Networking is an important tool for academic success. It is part of your professional tool kit.
You already have a professional network. It comprises the people you know who share your professional interests. These are two-way connections. You give to members of your network and they give to you. Continue reading