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5 Tips for Landing Employment Opportunities During and After Graduate School

By Jenn Paull on November 15, 2018


Working towards getting a doctorate is a huge step in your career journey! You are undoubtedly busy with your coursework, but likely already thinking about the next step after graduation. We know that some graduate students are working full time while taking classes, while others are looking for an internship or research opportunity to supplement their coursework.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, the Hegi Family Career Development Center is here to help. Here are 5 tips for landing employment opportunities and building your professional brand! 

  1. Have your resume/CV and cover letters reviewed by a professional. Whether you are applying for a research internship or full-time job, we can help you organize and describe your experiences in a way that highlights your relevant and transferable skills.

  2. Brush up on your interviewing skills. You can complete a mock interview in person, or even record yourself using InterviewStream, an online interview practice tool. We are able to tailor these mock interviews to your discipline or the specific position you are applying for.

  3. Build and leverage your professional network. Our team will help you strengthen your LinkedIn profile, and teach you how to connect with SMU alumni and other key individuals in your industry. We assist you with identifying professional organizations in your field, provide resources, and host workshops designed to strengthen networking skills. We also encourage you to maintain relationships with your professors, who are experts in their field and have strong existing networks. They can not only offer suggestions for professionals to contact, but may be aware of additional job opportunities.

  4. Identify the best search tools for your field, and check them regularly. Many allow you to create search alerts, that will email you with new employment opportunities. Handshake, SMU’s job and internship database, allows you to apply for opportunities, sign up for on-campus employer events, and make appointments with career counselors. Hegi can also help you identify industry-specific job boards, and even recommend employers in your areas of interest.

  5. Consult with a Hegi team member regarding job offers. We are prepared to help you evaluate job offers, and provide guidance regarding salary and benefit negotiation, professional correspondence, and more.

As a grad student and alum, you always have access to Hegi resources. You can make an appointment through Handshake (at smu.joinhandshake.com), or visit us during our drop-in hours Monday-Thursday 11-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m., or Friday 11-1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m. 

 View our comprehensive resource: A Guide to Choosing, Applying for, and Thriving in a Ph.D. Program in order to determine whether or not a terminal degree is right for your career goals! 

Pursue Your Career Goals

Jenn Paull

Written by Jenn Paull

Associate Director of Career Development

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