This month at Gradifying we have been discussing professional development and some resources that are available at Queen’s to help you develop, professionally. As Sharday discussed in her most recent post, the launch of MyGradSkills.ca took place last week and is an excellent resource for grad students at every stage of their degree.
Originally, I intended for this post to focus on Career Services at Queen’s, but after reviewing this new website I feel that the module titled “Non-Academic Work Search” ties in very nicely with the topic of professional development.
The progression from school to the non-academic work force for an individual with a highly specialized graduate degree is not always seamless; in fact, this process can be quite daunting.
The Non-Academic Work Search module is filled with resources and activities that will help you conduct a successful work search. For those who can see the light at the end of thesis-tunnel and will soon begin their own job search, the value of this resource is pretty obvious. For those who still have some thesis-ing to do before the search for a ‘real person job’ begins (like myself), this module still has a ton of value.
The above picture lays out the units within the module. Personally, the first 2 units resonate strongest with me, mostly because the process of successfully securing the job that YOU want involves a very keen knowledge of one’s self.
The unfortunate reality when applying for jobs is that you are not the only motivated, hard working, enthusiastic, etc., candidate… in fact, most of your competition will fit this description. This module helps you identify your specific skill set (apparently grad students have a reputation for underestimating this) AND market yourself in such a way that neatly fits the description of the job.
The second unit, ‘knowing where you want to work’, lays out a detailed roadmap of how to perform labour market research. This process will benefit you in a couple of ways. First, through this process you will gain a significant understanding of the labour market, which will allow you to strategically engage and interact with potential employers (and sound pretty smart doing it!). Second, performing labour market research will give you a sense of what jobs are available in a given industry and also guide your search to a job that is right for you. While this task can be time consuming and onerous, it is a critical step towards identifying the job that you want; or, said differently… weeding out the jobs that you DO NOT want.
My advice for grad students new and old is to check this module out as a starting point for your (very likely) future job search. The skills identification portion may prompt you to further develop your skill set while in grad school (i.e. Expanding Horizons), and performing labour market research will tactfully guide your networking strategies while still in grad school. Once you have engaged with this module and feel like dialoguing with professionals or getting feedback on your current progress, book an appointment with Career Services and consolidate your work.
PS – Below are a number of great resources for PhD students re: the non-academic work search. These and more great resources found in the module!