Getting a Jump on the Job Search
By Jackie Kelly
If every once in a while—in the midst of a seminar that’s run late or your third subway delay of the week—you find yourself momentarily overwhelmed by the looming job search in your future, take heart; you’ve got two major things going for you already:
Why You’re Ready for Your Job Search Now
Job Searching Takes Time, So Starting ASAP Is Beneficial
The sooner you start thinking about your post-graduate school career and looking into options, the easier it will be and the more successful you’ll be—so just the fact that you’re reading this blog and are on the CP&PD website are in your favor!
Before jumping into your search, begin by identifying your own preferences and which of those are important and which you’re willing to compromise. For example, are you committed to staying in academia, or would you consider a job in administration at a university or maybe a non-profit or think-tank career? Is it vital that you stay in NYC, or are you open to other parts of the country? Getting clear on what you’re looking for before you start looking makes the search tailored—and much easier!
Your Graduate Skills Will Serve You Well
Getting a job can be difficult—but so is sticking it out to complete a graduate degree! The many skills you’ve had to master (research! writing! perseverance!) and the self-direction required to succeed in a graduate program are all going to come in very handy when it comes time to hunker down and look for a job. You’ll be using these skills in a new context, but hey, you also take a whole new set of classes every semester, so you’re probably also pretty good at adapting to new environments!
So, with the above in mind, here are few tips to keep in mind for getting a jump on the job search:
3 Tips for Getting a Jump on the Job Search
1. Remember Your Own Strengths
You have a lot going for you; the key to a successful job search is knowing how to showcase all of it. As you progress through your life as a graduate student, take note of the moments you’ve been the most successful and think about how to replicate those.
2. Consider What You Want in a Workplace
Remember that the job search is not a one-way street: you’re not only going to be demonstrating your own strengths, you’re also going to be assessing your potential employer/university department’s strengths and suitability (analysis!—another grad student skill!) As you envision the interview process, think about what characteristics a place would have to have (or not have, for that matter) such that you could stay there for at least two years—you don’t want to have to start the whole job search process over right away! Rather, you want your first post-graduate job to be a stepping stone (or if you’re really lucky, a permanent home).
3. Seek Out the Advice of Those Who Have Gone Before You
Talk to your colleagues who’ve made the jump from peer to alum. Where are they? Do they like it … and if so, will they make an introduction on your behalf? Even if there aren’t any current openings, conducting some informational interviews can be a great way to learn about potential employers and job types.
And In the Meantime …
Come see us here at CP&PD! We have regular walk-in hours, as well as one-on-one appointments available to help you explore career options and enhance your job documents. We also have regular events to support you in your career goals and job search, so keep in touch on Twitter, Facebook, and our website.