The Career Development Center is here for graduate students. See these helpful resources that can guide you as you pursue your future.
The number of tenure-track jobs available has been falling sharply over the past 50 years. According to the American Association of University Professors (2018), 73% of faculty positions are currently non-tenure track positions. It’s competitive out there, so it is important to take measures that make you stick out if you seek tenure.
In addition to your coursework and your research, networking and creating effective CVs will help you get noticed on the job market. Check out our job search resources, including the online tool Aurora, for additional information on preparing yourself for the job market.
Conferences: Be active at high prestige conference for your field if possible. Use the regional conferences to build toward the major conferences and then include these speaking engagements on your CV.
Grants: Getting grants can show your effectiveness as a researcher and a communicator, especially because obtaining external funding is a big part of an academic program’s success. As a grad student, look for opportunities to obtain or co-write for grants, preferably national-level awards (not just campus travel awards, etc.).
Publications: Your publishing record (often in major peer-reviewed journals) is one of the biggest measures search committees use to evaluate your success. So learn what’s important in your field. For example, do you need to be a sole or lead author to be competitive? Are white papers and book chapters included in publication counts?
Teaching: Figure out whether you want to go for a teaching-heavy appointment or a research-focused one. Don’t spend too much time teaching if publications are what you’ll be measured on. Most institutions will look for some evidence of teaching experience.
Opportunities abound for master’s and Ph.D. students in private, nonprofit and government sectors. Whether having a graduate degree is very common in your field or your transition from academia to industry is less traditional, there is a lot you can do with what you have learned in a position outside of the university.
Networking is critical to your success in academia. You belong to a subfield of people with shared research and teaching interests, and you want to be an active member of this relatively small world and to know the players. When it comes time to get a job, it helps tremendously to already know people from research collaborations, conference get-togethers and writing papers together.
If you're attending a career fair, note that recruiters may be less familiar with M.S./M.A. or Ph.D. level positions.
Ensure that your resume or CV is in top shape. Check out this information, as well as the Resumes & CVs page for advice on constructing and editing these documents.
Once your resume is ready, we highly recommend graduate students create a presence on LinkedIn.You may also consider creating a research website, vitae profile and/or academia.edu page with a research summary, papers, publications, and syllabi so that hiring committees can review your work online.
Develop thoughtful research and teaching statements. The purpose of the research statement is to summarize your research accomplishments and focus and to provide a roadmap of where you’ll go in the future. The teaching statement aims to paint a picture of who you are as an educator; it should focus on your teaching results, your goals, your values and details of the environments you’ve taught in and the modalities/methods you have used.
For academic job searching, try Chronicle Vitae, a service of the Chronicle of Higher Education, and a hub for graduate level, faculty, research and other academic positions. Search Handshake for a diversity of scientific and non-scientific positions in industry.
Interested in alternative paths to tenure track? Check into paths in federal or local government (e.g., scientific positions on USAJobs.org) or non-faculty positions on university job boards (e.g., advising, curriculum development, research technicians).
Unsure what job titles are out there or what you want to do with your graduate degree? Take a free career self-assessment based on jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics with Focus 2 or take an assessment with Science Careers (geared at grad student-level professions).
Aurora empowers graduate students to learn successful job search strategies, whether seeking faculty or professional careers, and make informed decisions about their career path.
Though created for Ph.D. students, master's students and postdocs will also find its resources useful. Aurora provides accessible, well-curated information for busy graduate students that supports career exploration and promotes engaged learning. You can access recorded seminars, reflective prompts and assessments.
Learn more about all these topics by accessing our comprehensive graduate student career guide.