Career Resources for Graduate Students

Welcome graduate students!

The resources on this page will are intended to support your exploration and preparation through the job application process and beyond. While most career resources apply to all job seekers, we do have specific resources near the bottom of this page for people seeking academic and non-academic positions. 

Assess Your Skills

Understanding your strengths and how they translate across careers will make your job search more meaningful and more effective. You will be better positioned to tell your story and explain how your experience matches an employer’s requirements.  Explore the assessment tools below. 

Assessment Tools

MyIDP - This online tool can be used to assess your skills, interests and values.

NACE Competencies - The 8 Career Competencies are the skills that employers value the most. 

Career Competencies Reflection Tool – This tool will help you reflect on your level of career readiness. 

Resume

Unlike a CV, a resume is a 1-2 page document listing your professional experience. Your resume should be concise and tailored to a specific position. The resources below will help you with the process of developing a resume or converting an existing CV to a resume.

CV (Curriculum Vitae)

Academic positions will require you to provide a CV - an extensive record of your academic and professional achievements. 

Cover Letter

Your cover letter will answer the why while your resume or CV will answer the what. A resume/CV is an objective recounting of your experience, but a cover letter allows you to be more personal as you highlight your most relevant experience and what drives you. Like a resume, you should tailor your cover letter to the specific job requirements.

Your Guide to Cover Letters

Plan Your Cover Letter + Example

Networking

You may think “networking” is reserved for the business world and some may even consider it awkward. However, if you think of networking simply as sharing information and building relationships, you will realize that it is a natural extension of your academics and a perfect bridge to your future career. And it has never been easier.

On-campus Resources

  • Start with faculty. Visit your professors’ office hours to build stronger relationships and expand your knowledge of the field. They may open doors for you that you didn’t know existed.
  • Clubs / Organizations. Campus clubs and organizations are not only for undergraduates. In addition to expanding your network of peers, joining these groups will help you stay aware of events and speakers coming to campus.
  • Attend lectures/panels. Attending events related to your interests is the best way to meet people in your field.
  • Take classes outside your department. Of course, there should be some connection between the classes and your field of study. This allows you to meet other faculty and students, expand your horizons for possible avenues of research, and it will give you practice explaining your research to people outside your field.

Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are a way for you to learn about a career path while building relationships. Determine professionals in the field you want to pursue and reach out to them. 

What it is:

  • Short, informal conversation
  • A chance to get information about a position or organization
  • Another way to show your interest and get career advice

What it is not:

  • A job interview
  • An opportunity to ask for a job

 List of potential questions

Cultivate Your Online Presence

Establishing an online presence can help make you a known quantity to potential employers. Get started easily with these common platforms. 

LinkedIn

Having an updated and active LinkedIn profile will increase your visibility, open more opportunities, and help you search for career opportunities. 

UVM Connect

An exclusive online platform for the UVM community, UVM Connect is ideal for connecting with alums who have volunteered to help fellow Catamounts in their professional journeys.

Twitter

You might be surprised how active graduate students are on Twitter. This is another great way to make connections with people in your field. To start, search #academictwitter and #academicchatter.

Personal Webpage / Blog

Think of this as an opportunity to expand on your CV/resume. Post about your current projects, research areas of interest, or get more personal and blog about the non-career/non-academic side of your personality.

Interviewing

The way you prepare for a job interview is fairly consistent across positions. However, your discipline may have some additional requirements. 

General Interviewing Guidelines

Talking about Your Research

Prepare a Short Evelvator Pitch

  1. Start with the big picture - what question does your research attempt to answer?
  2. A few sentences that focus on why
  3. A few sentences to connect back to your beginning

Tips for Discussing Research

  • Avoid jargon - "Would my friends in other fields understand this?"
  • Focus on why, not what - think big picture, not details
  • Use metaphors - Ex: "Weather is like a mood, but climate is like a personality"
  • Use the hourglass approach - broad, specific, broad
  • Be excited about your own research!

Example

More Interview Guidance

  • Access our Blackboard modules for more detailed explanations of technical interviews (for STEM fields), case interviews (for consulting positions), tips for virtual interviews and much more. 

Negotiating a Salary

After getting a job offer, it is important to consider all relevant factors when negotiating your salary. 

Salary Calculator and Other Considerations

This salary calculator will help you determine a salary range based on location and experience.

In addition to salary, you should also consider:

  • Promotional opportunities

  • Salary progression expectations

  • Commissions and bonuses

  • Monetary benefits (401k, pensions and stock options, tuition reimbursement/waiver)

  • Non-monetary benefits (vacation, child care, healthcare)

  • Relocation assistance

Academic Job Resources

The resources below are specifically for people who want to pursue an academic career. 

Cover Letters for academic positions

Academic Job Search Boards

Networking Strategies for Academics

  • Professional Associations & Organizations. Becoming active in groups related to your field of study or interests is a great way to meet like-minded people. This of list associations is a good place to start.
  • Make the most of conferences. Attend conferences with a plan to meet people. Focus on longer conversations to make in-depth connections. Follow-up by finding the people you meet on LinkedIn. Don’t avoid small conferences – small/focused groups can lead to the most meaningful relationships.
  • More tips for attending conferences
  • Organize events/panels. Find notable people in your field and invite them speak at panels or events at your university. This will allow you to develop lasting relationships.
  • Ask for help. If you are having trouble expanding your network, ask your professors for advice. Look to peers for guidance.

Non-Academic Job Resources

The resources below are for people with advanced degrees who do not want to work in academia. 

Non-Academic Job Search Boards

The Cheeky Scientist - a website containing articles with practical advice for PhD job seekers.

Imagine PhD - specifically for Humanities and Social Sciences majors, this site offers tools for career exploration and self-reflection. 

PhD Career Guide - an online source to help PhDs determine the best career path.

Versatile PhD - join this online community for advice building a career outside academia

 

Personalized Feedback & Learning Modules

Getting ready to apply for a job? Submit application documents for feedback from Career Center staff. 

Need more resources? Gain access to an extensive career resource library. 

Watch this short video to learn how to access these services:

Additional Questions?

Drop by the Career Center

Make an appointment for in-person or virtual counseling through Handshake. 

Contact Jim Daly - career counselor for graduate students. Find him on UVM Connect