School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Building a Career

Grad school can open the door to many fulfilling career paths. It can be a gateway into the most rewarding job adventure you never expected, prepare you for research and/or teaching within the academy, and set you on course for a career in public service or industry in Canada or abroad. Sometimes, it can be challenging to find the right fit for your personal career development and stressful to transition from studies to career. The following resources will help you begin to build your career while still in grad school.

Building a Career Image


Campus Career Resources

Career Week

This week-long event held in the fall focuses on careers for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through workshops and a networking event. The sessions feature practical tips and discipline-specific advice that you can use to develop your career in research/academia, public sector, non-profit or industry.

Connect with an Alum

Sign up for the Ask an Alum portal and find grad studies alumni who have signed up to offer tips on networking, career planning and navigating the job search.

Expanding Horizons, Career Development

This series of Expanding Horizons workshops offers a wealth of seminars to help graduate students find and embark on both academic and non-academic careers. From mock interviews, to tailoring a cover letter to specific industries, these workshops should meet your needs whatever your career path.

Expanding Horizons, Academia and Beyond

This series of Expanding Horizons workshops covers conferences, abstracts, literature reviews, research ethics, scholarships, and more.

Expanding Horizons Planning Guide

Visit the Expanding Horizons planning guide to find a workshop that meets your needs.

Career Services

Access career education and employment support at Career Services, from drop-in career advising, job-search advice, and help with CVs and resumés.

Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL)

CTL offers workshops and individual consultations on all aspects of teaching at the university level, as well as help in developing teaching dossiers.


Through unique research and training programs, Mitacs is developing the next generation of innovators with vital scientific and business skills. In partnership with companies, government and academia, Mitacs is supporting a new economy using Canada’s most valuable resource – its people. Our key programs for graduate students and recent PhD graduates include the Accelerate, Elevate, and Step programs. At Queen’s the Mitacs Step workshops are part of the Expanding Horizons workshop series.

Internships and Experiential Learning


Through unique research and training programs, Mitacs is developing the next generation of innovators with vital scientific and business skills. In partnership with companies, government and academia, Mitacs is supporting a new economy using Canada’s most valuable resource – its people. Our key programs for graduate students and recent PhD graduates include the Accelerate, Elevate, and Step programs. At Queen’s the Mitacs Step workshops are part of the Expanding Horizons workshop series.

Find experiential learning opportunities on campus

Even if your program doesn’t feature a specific co-op or internship experience, there are many opportunities for internships and experiential learning in graduate programs at Queen’s. As researchers and scholars, you are gaining experiential learning in critical thinking, information analytic, or project management by virtue of completing your major project or thesis work.
Talk to your supervisor or graduate coordinator if you are interested in incorporating more opportunities for experiential learning into your graduate education.

Societies and Clubs on Campus

With dozens to choose from, most students find a group that speaks to their interests.

Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre

Four Directions Aboriginal Centre strives to be a home away from home for Indigenous students and a site of information and support for the broader Queen's community.

Campus Community Service

This page lists opportunities to serve on committees with departments and programs, the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), or the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS).

Keep an open eye for other opportunities on campus: Student government and university government (e.g. Senate committee memberships), departmental curriculum planning, organizing conferences, and more!

United Way Volunteer Centre

The United Way Volunteer Centre matches local charities with volunteers who lend their skills and expertise to local organizations.

The Student Initiative Fund

Seek to help students and student organizations fund projects that provide educational opportunities such as participation in Competition, Symposia, Conference, Festivals, and Community development projects.

Free Online Professional Development Courses

My Grad Skills – free modules with Queen’s NetID

This free resource offers eighteen professional modules about transitioning from a graduate degree to a career. Some module titles include:

  • The Versatile Graduate
    The Versatile Graduate module offers a 90-minute guide to the early steps of career exploration for PhDs.
  • Academic and Professional Communication for New Researchers
    This module on academic and professional communication includes five units that reflect scenarios you will frequently encounter as a graduate student and, later, as a professor.
  • Converting a CV into a Resumé
    This online module will help you to create a resumé — a very important tool for the non-academic job search. After first reviewing the differences between an academic CV and a resumé for the non-academic job market, the module units will equip you to conquer the challenges of the conversion process with confidence.
  • Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation
    The Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation Module will provide an overview of the critical elements of starting a business, including business modeling, key components of the business plan, assessing opportunities, building teams, and funding options.
  • Teaching Dossiers
    This module guides students through the composition of the teaching dossier, an essential document necessary for graduate students to present their teaching effectiveness to others. The module will introduce both the structure and purpose of the dossier as well as guide students through a reflective process to draft the foundational claims of the teaching philosophy statement.
Resources Beyond Queen's

There are many free resources available to help graduate students prepare for a career. The following websites are not maintained by Queen’s University, and usefulness and quality of the content may vary.


Versatile PhD is a large online community dedicated to non-academic and non-faculty careers for PhDs in humanities, social science and STEM.

MyIDP (science careers)

Focused on science careers, myIDP provides tools on how to leverage your expertise into a satisfying and productive career. An individual development plan (IDP) helps you explore career possibilities and set goals to follow the career path that fits you best.

From PhD to Life

Blogger Jennifer Polk conducts interviews with people who’ve made the transition into a fulfilling career outside academia.

PhDs at Work

A network for professionals with PhDs working across industries.

Chronicle Vitae

Vitae offers membership in a growing community of academics, a free dossier service to manage a job search, and connections for finding your next job.


Vitae is a UK organisation dedicated to providing resources to assist doctoral graduates with transition into careers.  Browse its website for useful information about career paths for PhDs both inside and outside academi, including e-booklets on how to talk about your abilities and skills to potential employers.