We are here to support you in your career search, whether you are looking for an academic or non-academic job. Explore this guide for tips on:
Workshops and programs
A series of workshops that will teach you the skills you need to succeed in your career search. Beginning with self-assessment, moving to exploration and then to searching, the Job Search Series will give you the confidence to begin this process.
Below are several workshops we offer:
- Identifying, Translating, and Developing Your Transferable Skills
- Effective Search Strategies for Careers in Industry, Government, and Nonprofits
- Curating Your Digital Presence: LinkedIn and More
- Developing Your Professional Network: Collecting Contacts, Career Stories, and Advice
- Tailoring Resumes & Cover Letters
- Interviewing & Acing Questions
- Evaluating & Negotiating Job Offers
If you represent a department or student group and are interested in having a representative of the Center for Career Engagement hold a workshop for your population, please complete the Program Request form and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Non-academic career search
The first step in choosing a career is exploration. Before you can know what kind of career you want to pursue, you need to have a clear sense of:
- What skills you already have
- What skills your masters or PhD program can help you develop
- What career paths exist that require those skills. These resources will help you as you tackle each of these three major fact-finding missions:
- Imagine PhD: A career exploration tool for PhD students. Set up a free account and check out the terrific assessment tools, planning tool, and job family resources.
- The Versatile PhD: Provides career and job information, discussion forum, and blog. Registration is free.
- My IDP: Individual Development Plan for Science Careers.
- WashU Alumni LinkedIn page: Find WashU Alumni for your network. See someone who has your dream job? Have a look at their LinkedIn page to see how they got there or reach out to them to see if they would be willing to answer some questions in an informational interview!
- WashU CNX: is the university’s official online networking platform where alumni and current students share experiences and expertise, ask questions and find answers, and help each other grow.
- Apply for the Pivot 314 Fellowship program. The Pivot 314 program provides an opportunity for graduate students to gain internships with local startups.
- Before accepting any internship, make sure it will not impact your student status.
Looking for a student group to join? Interested in creating a new student group? Visit Washington University Group Organizer (WUGO) for more information.
You will gain many professional skills through your coursework and research. These skills will parlay beautifully into work beyond the academy. The Transferable Skills worksheet (PDF) will help you identify these skills. We all also have gaps in our professional skillset. Here are some tools you can use to begin addressing those gaps.
- LinkedIn Learning: All current WashU students, faculty, and staff have access to LinkedIn Learning’s resources, which cover a broad range of topics from Adobe to Zoom, including many software programs.
- United States Institutes of Peace: The Self-Paced Micro-Courses Catalog includes a wide range of foundational topics in conflict management and peacebuilding. Through these courses, you can sharpen your skills to prevent and manage conflict and earn certificates upon completion.
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) deliver online courses for free or for a small fee. Paid courses often grant you a certificate.
- Coursera: Hundreds of free courses give you access to on-demand video lectures, homework exercises, and community discussion forums. Paid courses provide additional quizzes and projects as well as a shareable Course Certificate upon completion.
- edX: Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is home to more than 20 million learners, the majority of top-ranked universities in the world, and industry-leading companies. It is the only leading MOOC provider that is both nonprofit and open source.
Networking can be a scary prospect for graduate students and postdocs. Check out these helpful resources designed to take some of the stress out of the process:
- Self-Introductions: Want to know how to introduce your professional self? Here’s a guide to get you started.
- InterSect Job Simulations: This online platform allows PhD-level scientists and humanists, regardless of professional stage, to explore future career options.
- Informal Career Conversations: Create a career conversation plan.
- Networking and Informational Interviews: Learn how to grow your professional network through various methods, including Informational Interviews: exploratory conversations with professionals in which you can find out information about trends in their field, day-to-day tasks and activities, and ways to prepare yourself to pursue a similar career path.
- Informational Interview Questions: Some great question samples for informal career conversations such as an informational interview.
- WashU CNX: WashU CNX is the university’s official online networking platform where alumni and current students share experiences and expertise, ask questions and find answers, and help each other grow.
- WashU LinkedIn Alumni Page: Use the Washington University LinkedIn Alumni page to find alumni connections to talk to for career conversations!
- WashU Communities and Networks: WashU alumni, parents and friends live and work in communities around the world. Alumni Networks are groups of alumni, parents and friends within each community organized on the basis of geography, shared interest, culture, or professional interest. Browse the communities and networks for your career, interests, and locations.
- How to ask for a referral – Asking for a referral for a job can put your job application on the fast track. How to Ask for a Referral Without Embarrassing Yourself and How to Intelligently Ask for a Job Within Your Network both have some great suggestions for how to ask these challenging questions.
Online Presence and Email
Your online presence is crucial to the way you present yourself during your job search. Here are some resources to help you make a great impression online.
- Curating Your Digital Presence (PDF) – How to examine and maintain a professional digital presence.
- Writing Professional Emails – Need to write an email to inquire about a position, follow up on a phone interview, or send job materials? Check out our guide on writing professional emails!
- Creating Your LinkedIn Profile – Here are some tips and guidelines on how to create your LinkedIn profile.
- Job Searching Using Social Media – Here are some ways to leverage your online presence to assist in your job search and in networking.
Resumes, CVs, and Cover Letters
Here are some resume and CV tips (PDF) for academic or non-academic positions.
Non-Academic Career and Job Web Sites
- LinkedIn for Job Research – This file explains how to use LinkedIn as part of your job search
- Non-Academic Career Options for PhDs in Humanities and Social Sciences – Columbia University Resource
- Job Sites in the Humanities – List of web sites for many humanities disciplines
- Job Star – List of Professional Organizations and Associations
- National NonProfits – Listing of Nonprofit organization positions
- Green Jobs Network – Job boards for environmental jobs and social impact jobs
- Industry Trade Groups – List of industry trade groups in the United States
- BioSpace – Jobs in the Life Sciences
- Career Cornerstone Center – Extensive STEM Career information
- NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education – Extensive source of career information and videos
- USA Jobs – Web site for all government positions
Preparing for Interviews
Looking for tips on how to make the best possible impression in an interview? You’ve come to the right place!
- Big Interview – An online tool for practice and mock interviews. Big Interview offers a course of short videos that will give you tips on everything interview-related, from what to wear to how to answer difficult questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your weaknesses.” With a free profile through Wash U, you can get started preparing for interviews right away.
- Interviewing Skills – Check out our collection of tips for preparing for a successful interview!
- Schedule a mock interview with a career coach – Our career coaches can help you practice your answers to common interview questions, answer your questions about the interview process, and help you succeed.
Responding to Offers
These resources provide tips and guidelines for how to negotiate an offer, how to juggle multiple offers, and more.
- Negotiation: Salaries, Compensation packages and How to Negotiate – Check out WashU’s guide to negotiating offers! Here you will find tips on how to approach negotiating salary and benefits to ensure that you get an offer that meets your needs.
- Job Offer and Salary Negotiation Information – This resource from Yale provides more tips and information about negotiating job offers. Watch their short, helpful video and then see what they have to say about negotiating timelines, particulars of the offer, and making final decisions.
- Talk with a career coach. We want to help you secure a great offer!
These sites will help you evaluate whether the offer you have received is fair. They will also give you an idea of what level of salary to expect from any given role and career path.
Academic career search
Even if you are planning on pursuing a career in academia, it’s important to build a professional profile during Grad School. This entails both building a professional community—made up of peers, mentors, and scholars outside of WashU you may meet at conferences—and strengthening your professional credentials by teaching, publishing, and presenting your work at conferences.
Making sure you have the right materials for an academic application can be daunting. Here are some resources that will help ensure your documents are as good as they can be!
Resumes and CVs
Use this Resume and CV guide (PDF) to polish your resume and CV.
Use this Teaching Philosophy Statement worksheet (.doc) to help you get started with your teaching statement or refining it.
- Download the UCSF Checklist: “Developing a Winning Research Statement (PDF).”
- Information and examples of research statements (PDF) from the University of Washington.
- For Humanities PhDs: Research Statements and Research Proposals (PDF) from the University of Chicago.
- From Cornell University, this website contains a clear outline for writing a research statement and provides several example statements to help candidates when evaluating their own.
Please see this worksheet for guidance in developing content and examples for your diversity statements.
Here is a collection of job sites for academic job postings. Work with your department and advisors for the best resources specific to your discipline.
Interviewing for academic jobs poses unique challenges. These resources will help you navigate the process to ensure you are well-prepared for your academic interview.