Understanding Your Career Development Journey

There is no single model of success for graduate student career planning, but students can think about their career development journey through the concepts of Immersion-Extension-Transition as shown below. Engaging with appropriate programs and resources throughout your graduate career will be helpful in each stage of the process.

For example, newly arrived graduate students may focus on resources related to academic success. Consider ways that you might harness the resources available within your disciplinary field (e.g. network connections through your department, professional associations in your field) as well as the resources found on this website.

Immersion Extension Transition infographic

Tips and Resources for Graduate Students

  •  Conduct informational interviews. One of the best things you can do to expand your career knowledge is to complete informational interviews and other networking activities within your field(s) of interest. Reach out on LinkedIn to alumni who work in organizations that interest you. Get involved in other professional associations, or consider participating in the UGA Mentor Program. Take steps throughout your graduate career to build and cultivate your network, including among the faculty and peers within your department.
  • Create an individual development plan. There are numerous free resources that you can use to facilitate career planning and exploration. Several examples include ImaginePhDMyIDP, or ChemIDP. These sites will allow you to create an individual development plan (IDP) – a tailored professional development itinerary for your graduate career.
  •  Embrace parallel planning. Settling on one specific career goal can be helpful, but may also be a difficult or stressful process. You may benefit from parallel planning, which is the simultaneous consideration of two or more career goals. For example, even if your primary goal is to land a tenure-track faculty position, you might pursue competencies that also align with job opportunities in industry or higher education administration. Transferable competency areas might include instructional design, assessment, or data science. Parallel planning can broaden your career horizons and provide you with a safety net.

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