Expanding Horizons

Queen's University
Search Type

Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons

Professional Development

site header

Career Development

What Career Development offers to Graduate Students

  • Assists graduate students in exploring career options, marketing themselves, and planning/preparing for the future
  • Offers a variety of approaches depending of the career path considered, including academia, industry, education, and government
  • Aids students in selecting the necessary approach to planning for the future

Benefits of Career Development for Graduate Students

  • Fundamental skills in creating a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume that stands out
  • Writing cover letters that inform
  • Preparing for Interviews
  • Strategies to help graduate students determine what career path to take and how to arrive there

Workshop Categories & Descriptions

The Academic Job Search

CV’s and Cover Letters for Academia (Fall)

Host Presenters: Dr Sandra den Otter & Dr Betsy Donald

Did you know that the terms “resume” and “CV” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing? This workshop will help you learn and make decisions about strategies for producing effective CVs and cover letters, if you’re aiming for work in academia. Find out how to customize sections of the CV and how to include appropriate stories and anecdotes to enhance cover letters.

Resource Articles

Presentation Slides 2015 (935KB)


Practice Interviews for Academic Positions (Fall)

Host Presenters: SGS, & Faculty 

Learn how interviewing in academia is similar to and different from other job interviews. Practice a process for dealing with behaviour-based interview questions and staying focused when talking about your past experiences. Identify key messages about yourself that you want to communicate during an often multi-day interview event. Get tips on how to develop good questions, stand out from other candidates and give relevant evidence to support your strengths.

This workshop also provides students with the opportunity to see academic interviews  in action. Several graduate students who are on the job market will be interviewed for 15 minutes by faculty members in front of the workshop. These students have submitted in advance their cvs and cover letters applying for a position. Workshop faculty facilitators will then evaluate the interview in discussion with workshop participants. This open discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate's interview will offer valuable, practical tips and strategies on effective academic interviews.

If time permits, you could prepare for this workshop by reviewing the presentation notes on a previous workshops on academic CVs & cover letters.

Additional resources

2015 Presentation Slides (1.36MB)

2014 Presentation


How to find a post doctoral position (Winter)

Host Presenters: SGS - & faculty

Postdoctoral fellowships are an invaluable bridge between graduate study and a post-graduate career. Opportunities for these competitive positions are limited. This workshop will help you find out where to find post doctoral opportunities, how to complete applications, and how to make the most of the opportunities provided by post-doctoral study.

Business/Government positions

Resumes and Cover Letters for the Professional Job Market (Fall)

Host Presenters: Career Services - Julia Blackstock

Learn how to present your transferable skills and your expertise for academic and non-academic applications.  Do you have a cv and want to convert it to a resume that is more suited to jobs beyond academia?   To gain the most benefit from this workshop, it is helpful to have a specific opportunity in mind. Please bring a draft copy of your resume or CV to work on (if you have one).  You will also learn about key components and strategies that make an effective cover letter.  You will work on exercises designed to help you customize your cover letter.

Please bring a resume and cover letter and a sample job description to the workshop.


The job search for industry, business & government (Fall)

Host Presenters: Career Services & Alumni - Julia Blackstock

You may be wondering if you will find work after graduation. Come to a workshop with Career Services and we will get you asking: “How can I have as much influence as possible on where I end up?”  Learn how you can influence the outcome even you face challenges (e.g., tight job market, limited or no paid professional experience, etc). Find out the advantages of being focused, using a project management approach to job search and knowing specific resources. Find information about alumni who have made the transition to business, industry, and government and be able to tailor general strategies to your goals. Enjoy the energy that comes from looking at this as a group—come away excited about the future ahead of you.

Come with an idea of the type of work or industry you are interested in exploring. If you need help with career direction consider making a career counselling appointment prior to the workshop.


Interviewing for Industry, Government & Business (Fall) (Interviewing for the Professional Job Market)

Host Presenters: Career Services - Julia Blackstock

You already know that a successful interview can be critical to achieving your career goals. Learn how to communicate in an interview so that, down the road, you are able to make decisions about specific opportunities. Our interviewing workshop is all about communicating—starting with you and what is important to you. Understand how to get across a key message and practice responding (in a safe context) to questions such as: “Tell me about yourself” and “What additional training would you most benefit from?” Learn from alumni who have relevant experience in business, industry, and government and come away better prepared to communicate with specific audiences.

Come with an idea of the type of work or industry you are interested in exploring. If you need help with career direction consider making a career counselling appointment prior to the workshop.


Creating your LinkedIn profile (FAll)

Host Presenters: Career Services - Julia Blackstock

Social Media is a reality for people building a career in the current world. Are you new or relatively new to LinkedIn? Get hands-on experience in designing your own online profile so that it is relevant for as many options as possible without looking unfocussed. We will review relevant examples of profiles in LinkedIn and learn how an effective profile enables you to access the capabilities of LinkedIn. Please bring your own tablet or computer to the session and be willing to create an account/profile if you don’t currently have one.


Flipped Classroom Networking  (Fall)

Host Presenters: Mitacs

Get the knowledge you need to build your network! Your time at graduate school or during your post-doctoral fellowship will be filled with opportunities to make connections in and outside of your field. This flipped classroom workshop requires you to view a short online workshop that will give you the information you’ll need to make the most of each opportunity followed by an in-person session where you will put knowledge to practice!

Building a strong personal and professional network may be one of the single most important things you can do for your career.  Learn how to plan, prepare, build and foster your network and watch opportunities unfold in front of you.

This is two part online and in-person workshop:

Part 1: Online component (approx. 60 minutes): Videos and exercises to be completed between Monday, September 28 and Friday, October 2, 2015

Part 2: ½ day in-person component (3 hours) 

A few things to note:

  • The maximum number of participants for this workshop is 35 (instead of the usual 24 for our purely in-person workshops).
  • Participants need to complete part 1 in order to attend part 2.
  • Only participants who complete both parts will be credited as having completed the workshop.
  • The last day for participants to register for the workshop is Monday, September 28 since this is when the online component starts. But since this is our first time running it though, I can make some exceptions if we haven’t filled the 35 spots before September 28.
  • Participants who are registered will receive the information on how to access the online component a few days before part 1 starts.
  • Participants who have not completed part 1 will receive a reminder to do so mid-way through the online component

Career Professionalism (Winter)

Host Presenters: Mitacs

Gain an in-depth understanding of appropriate personal and professional work-place behaviors that facilitate effective communication, build your reputation, and lead to career advancement.


Graduate & Post-Doctoral Career Week - 19th to 23rd October
Host: School of Graduate Studies, 

​19th - 23rd October 2015  

The non-academic job search for graduate students and postdocs (Career Week)

Host Presenters: Anne Krook

This workshop shows grad students and postdocs how people with PhDs should think about the non-academic job markets and how they in turn are perceived on the non-academic job markets (for-profit, non-profit, and public sectors); how students can prepare themselves during their graduate work to enter those markets; and demonstrates the mechanics of entering those job markets, in case students want or need to.  Focus on CV vs. resume, use of LinkedIn, and on non-academic hiring managers

Learning Outcomes:

After this workshop, the student will have a template to help him or her abstract their skills from their academic work and define their non-academically-derived skills and will know how to enter and engage the for-profit, non-profit, and public-sector job markets.


Look Better Online: Personal Branding, A 3-Step approach (Career Week)

Host Presenter: Dr Sidneyeve Matrix (Film & Media)

In the age of Google, first impressions happen online. This interactive presentation will describe easy and time-saving ways to improve your social discoverability and professional web presence. Free tools, shortcuts, best practices, platforms with impact -- participants will leave inspired and informed.

Learning Outcomes: ​Participants will:

  • Reflect on their personal digital footprint
  • Learn about tools that can save time and help with personal branding
  • Be inspired with examples of best practices in digital creativity & communication

Speaking to your Strengths with an E-Portfolio: How to create an effective digital portfolio (Career Week)

Host Presenters: Dr Sandra den Otter(SGS), Dr Rebecca Huegler (SGS), Dr Selina Idlas (CTL)

This is a hands-on session on e-portfolios (digital portfolios).  We will outline how an e-portfolio can showcase your transferrable skills to potential employers or collaborators.  We will survey what makes a digital portfolio effective and you will have a chance in the session to start creating your own e portfolio.   The panel presenters bring together expertise in on OnQ as well how best to describe how  graduate degree equips you for multiple career paths.  Twenty pilot spaces are available for those who wish to set up their own e portfolio; these spots will be available on a first come first serve basis to the first 20 registrants.  Additional participants are welcome to attend but will not be able to access the pilot e portfolio space. 

Learning Outcomes

  • To survey 5 reasons to create an e portfolio
  • To outline 5 attributes of a winning e portfolio
  • To demonstrate how the OnQ platform works
  • To start your own draft e portfolio 

Winning CVs, Resumes and Cover Letters (Career Week)

Host Presenters: Christine Fader (Career Services)

An application that features clear and memorable descriptions of your abilities will distinguish you from other applicants—and it can win you an interview. Find out how to customize sections of the resume (or convert a CV) to demonstrate a match between you and the work you want. Discover ways to communicate with audiences outside of academia.  Integrate your transferable skills and experience in your Resume and Cover letter with a little help from your fellow graduate students.

Please bring a draft resume and cover letter and a sample job description to the workshop.

Learning Outcomes:  Students will

  • Understand the need for and how to translate academic skills for application documents
  • Know when to use a CV versus resume for applying
  • Learn how to demonstrate a match between themselves and the work they seek

Career Planning - the Versatile graduate (Career Week)

Host Presenters: Christine Fader (Career Services)

What do I want to do with my life?

Are you wondering what career you might pursue after graduation? Join us in a guided and interactive workshop for graduate students and discover the 5 questions that unlock your career future. Come with an open mind — leave with a list of career possibilities.

Learning Outcomes:  Students will

  • Understand how careers happen
  • Practice using tools that help them explore career direction
  • Develop increased confidence around pursuing options that are a fit for them, inside and outside academia

Preparing for your academic Career (Career Week)

Host Presenters: Dr Norma Moller (Sociology), Dr Laura Wells (Chemical Engineering), Dr Francesco Cessarosa (Maths & Stats)

If you are seeking an academic career as a university professor and researcher, what can you do now to prepare? Professors from several discipline clusters in STEM and Humanities/Social Science will give you their top strategies for increasing your chance of success in securing an academic career and succeeding in it. Topics include networking, publishing, teaching, research and the job search. 


What Employers want & the Employable You  - STEM & Health Sciences (Career Week)

Host Presenters: Dr Bruce Seet (Sanofi Pasteur/Science to Business Network), Dr Brian Knight (Roche/Science 2 Business Network), Dr Emily Moore (Hatch), Dr Kelly Blair-Matuk (Office of the Vice Principal (Research))

In Part One of this session, the panellists will briefly outline their own career pathways and address the following questions: How do I begin to identify skills gained in my graduate program?  How do I translate these skills into a non-academic setting? How do I  persuade others of the saliency of these skills? How can I increase and enhance and diversity my skill set while I am a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow?  In addition to academic careers, how can I begin to find out about alternative career paths? How might I connect with people who work in these areas? 

In Part Two, participants will have the opportunity to explore these questions further with "the experts" in their subject area how to identify their program-specific skills and apply them to the job search.   You'll join one of the following subject groups so that you can receive advice tailored to your program and, if you wish, to your own situation: Humanities/Social Sciences, Health Sciences,  or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. 


What Employers want & the Employable You  - Humanities and Social Sciences (Career Week)

Host Presenters: Dr Terrie Romano (Canadian Consulate in Germany - Economic Affairs-Ontario), Dr Mary Chaktsaris (Policy Analyst, Strategic Initiatives, COU), Dr Jessica Duffin-Wolfe (Colour Story)

In Part One of this session, the panellists will briefly outline their own career pathways and address the following questions: How do I begin to identify skills gained in my graduate program?  How do I translate these skills into a non-academic setting? How do I  persuade others of the saliency of these skills? How can I increase and enhance and diversity my skill set while I am a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow?  In addition to academic careers, how can I begin to find out about alternative career paths? How might I connect with people who work in these areas? 

In Part Two, participants will have the opportunity to explore these questions further with "the experts" in their subject area how to identify their program-specific skills and apply them to the job search.   You'll join one of the following subject groups so that you can receive advice tailored to your program and, if you wish, to your own situation: Humanities/Social Sciences, Health Sciences,  or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. 


Preparing a Teaching Dossier (Career Week)

Host Presenters: Andy Leger (CTL) 

Teaching dossiers are increasingly required as part of the application process for academic positions and are often required for consideration for promotion within the academy. This session will provide an introduction to the essential elements of a teaching dossier. It is designed to assist you in highlighting your teaching accomplishments, strengths and instructional initiatives. Activities and discussions will focus on the process of writing a teaching philosophy statement as well as on a variety of ways to seek and interpret feedback on the effectiveness of your teaching. 

Learning Outcomes: by the end of this session participants will

  • Identify the components of a TD
  • Develop an approach to writing their own teaching philosophy
  • Describe their own teaching experiences
  • Create a plan to collect and analyse their evidence of teaching effectiveness

LinkedIn Strategy (Advanced) (Career Week)

Host Presenters: Career Services - Julia Blackstock

Explore the capabilities of Linkedin.com for researching careers and experience how it can support career decision-making and job search, in particular, networking.  Discuss common questions such as: “What do I put in a message when reaching out to someone?” or “How can I get someone to respond to my message without bugging them?”  Intended for students with an existing LinkedIn Profile. Please bring your own tablet or computer to the session.