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Notes on Today’s Career Week Workshops

Workshop: Career Planning the versatile graduate (what is your grad story? how would you tell it to a potential employer, in an application, for networking)

For grad students, the key to finding a job:

How to translate your skills into a job position that doesn’t relate much to your degree.

Before looking for a specific job, create space to just focus on you. Forget about all the advice that you heard from your parents, professors, friends, and others, and answer the following Five Big Questions:

  1. What were your earlier career dreams?
  2. Who were your earliest role models?
  3. What are you favorite magazines, TV programs, books?
  4. What do you want to do during free time?
  5. What is your dream job looks like (don’t have to be based on a specific title)?

Also, access your skills:

(these are especially tailored for grad students):

  • Analysis
  • Information synthesis
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Critical thinking
  • In depth knowledge of …
  • Research
  • Advising
  • Teaching/presenting
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Coordinating/managing

Three steps of starting off your career pathway:

  1. Learn more about the world of work & career options:
    • Collect information
    • Assess options
    • Make decisions
  2. Learn more about yourself:
    • Reflect
    • Pay attention
    • Inventory
  3. Keep developing:
    • Try new things
    • Go deeper
    • interact


  • You can benefit from the Career Service within 2 years after your graduation
  • Inspiring books in Career Service book shelf (3rd floor, Gordon Hall)
  • CareerCruising website: provides a wide variety of job options (titles & descriptions)


         User name: career

         Password: golden

  • Drop-in Career advising (no appointment required)

         Time: Monday-Thursday 1:30-3:30pm

Workshop: Building Skills and Experience (internships, volunteerism, student government, community engagement). Working on Graduate Program Maps

Four panelists–Justin Moores, Carey Bidtnes, Alicia Boutillier, Erin Clow–who were graduate students at Queen’s, talked about their personal experience after stepping out of the academia.

And here are some useful tips they offered:

  • Have an early taste in jobs you want to apply, starting with those

         opportunities near you such as volunteer/part-time positions on


  • Keep a sustainable professional network is the key.
  • Passion is necessary. But don’t be over-committed in the wide variety of job opportunities on campus. Choose those ones that you are really interested in, and be strategic.
  • Always have the desire to learn and improve. Step out of your comfort zone.
  • Equip yourself with the ability of “translation” (professional knowledge to “grandma”, skills developed in grad school to skills in the workplace, i.e., “transitional skills”).
  • Learn your audience.


Ma Chengcheng

Name: Ma Chengcheng Program: Cultural Studies, Year 2 About Me: I Completed my undergrads at Tsinghua University, with two bachelors in Chinese Language and Literature; Journalism and Communication. I am now in Cultural Studies at Queen's, specializing in Film and Media. My current research interest lies in contemporary cinematic culture, mainly on the visual representation of cinematic ideology. I start with "textual" analysis of film publicity, and combine it to the new mechanism of movie-goers seeing and perceiving cinematic images in the postmodern society. I am also into arts outside academia. I had three years' training in sketch, but later on I took up photography. I've been trying to infuse my sensibility to the art world into my academic research. During the past two years, I've travelled a lot to Japan, Korea, Canada, America, Germany, France, Holland, Spain, and different provinces of China, which largely enriched my experience. During these journeys, I always carried what I had learnt in class with me, and embraced new things with a critical mindset. Why I chose Queen’s: I have to say that Queen's is really good at outreaching. The funding is satisfactory. But the main reason that I chose Queen's is owing to the department setting of Cultural Studies, which is extraordinary interdisciplinary. This is awesome because I've got a platform to combine my varied academic backgrounds and interests together in a productive way. What I’m here to blog about: Grad students are really bound up in the readings, conferences, TA jobs, and even part-time jobs. We may not be so active on social media. However, our voices need to be heard, either by ourselves or by others. We need a place like Gradifying to exchange minds, share opinions, and build up networks. I always love reading and writing. And I see this an opportunity to use my skills to benefit the community of grad students.

Posted in Jobs and Careers
One comment on “Notes on Today’s Career Week Workshops
  1. Colette says:

    Fantastic advice and great notes. This was a great summary of these two workshops. Hope to see more of you out at the rest during the week.

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