Graduate Student and Postdoc Career Resources

The Career Center is here to support you in your career search, whether you are looking for an academic or non-academic job. We offer a range of services to assist you in your process:

Make an advising appointment

Unsure whether you want to stay in academia? Curious about alt-ac or non-ac career options? Stuck writing those tricky academic job documents? Our career advisors can help you with these issues and many more! Schedule online to talk with an advisor via phone or Zoom for help with exploration, searching, networking, application materials, interviews and more.

Attend a Workshop or Event

For a full, searchable list of Career Center programming, visit the Career Events page. Searching for “graduate” will bring up all programming designed for grad students and postdocs.

The Job Search Series

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:

Career Months

Each Career Month will consist of programming designed to provide students with information about a specific field or career path. Events will include alumni panels and talks, workshops, virtual road shows, etc.

Spring 2021

February: Communications Careers

March: Consulting

April: Higher Education Administration

Request a program

If you represent a department or student group and are interested in having a representative of the Career Center hold a workshop for your population, please complete this form and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Resources

Non-Academic Career Search

First Steps: Assess and Develop your skills, interests, and values

Exploring Career Paths

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 1) what skills you already have, 2) what skills your masters or PhD program can help you develop, and 3) what career paths exist that require those skills. The resources gathered on this page 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. Free registration!
    • My IDP – Individual Development Plan for Science Careers.
    • WashU Alumni LinkedIn pageFind 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!

Learning New Skills

We all have gaps in our professional skillsets. While you will gain many professional skills through your coursework and research, here are some ways to fill in some of those gaps online.

  • LinkedIn Learning– All current WashU students, faculty, and staff now 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.

Finding Internships

  • The Graduate School plans to offer the Pivot 314 Fellowship program. The Pivot 314 program provides an opportunity for graduate students to gain internships with local startups.
  • Important: Be sure to communicate with the graduate school before accepting any internship to make sure that doing so will not impact your student status.

Join or Create a Student Group

  • Looking for a student group to join? Interested in creating a new student group? Follow this link for a list of current student groups and instructions for how to register a new one: https://grouporganizer.wustl.edu/organizations

Explore, Research, Network

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!

Resources

  • Self Introductions – Want to know how to introduce your professional self? Here’s a guide to get you started.
  • Informal Career Conversations – Create a career conversation plan.
  • Networking and Informational Interviews (PDF) – 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 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.

Telling Your Story: Resumes, Cover Letters, CVs, LinkedIn

Online Presence and Email

Now more than ever, 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.

Resumes, CVs, and Cover Letters

Here are some tips on how to write CVs and Resumes for academic or non-academic positions.

Search for Opportunities

Whether you are applying for jobs or looking to explore possible career paths, this is your go-to resource for job postings in alt-ac or non-academic fields.

Non-Academic Career and Job Web Sites

Interviewing and Landing the Job

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 (PDF) – Check out our collection of tips for preparing for a successful interview!
  • Effective interview for industry – links and video

Responding to Offers

These resources provide tips and guidelines for how to negotiate an offer, how to juggle multiple offers, and more.

Salary Information

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

Building Your Professional Profile

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.

Crafting Academic Job Materials

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 + CVs:

Teaching Statements:

Research Statements:

Diversity Statements:

Finding Academic Postings

Here is a collection of job sites for academic job postings!

Academic Career and Job Web Sites

Acing the Academic Interview Process

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.

Resources

  • UCSF Resource
  • Big Interview: while this resource is explicitly geared toward non-academic jobs, it is valuable for academic job interviews as well. Specifically, it’s a great resource for thinking through how to structure your answers in interviews, and it can help approach behavioral questions.