Reflecting on your work-related values, interests, and skills can maximize your chances of a fulfilling career journey. There are a multitude of self-assessment tools available. A great place to start is Career Locker (through My UW), which has many self-assessment tools. Try these: Career Skills Assessment, Work Values, Inventory, and Interest Quick Occupation Look-up. CareerLocker also offers electronic portfolio, résumé, and cover letter builders, as well as occupation information.
O*Net contains information on hundreds of occupations. The free database is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. O*Net’s Career Exploration Tools are a set of assessment instruments for workers and students looking to find or change careers.
Informational interviewing should be an integral part of your networking and job-hunting. The focus isn’t on employment but on information gathering. You initiate the interview, ask the questions, and gain insight into an occupation, industry, or employer. Follow the steps described in the PDF created by the College of Letters and Sciences Career Services Office, Informational Interviews and Meetings: A Networking Tool, before getting started. Additionally, Tooling up: The informational Interview gives great perspective, and the Informational Interviewing Tutorial will guide you as well.
As a graduate student, your network includes your advisor, mentors, professors, postdocs, researchers, and coworkers, as well as family and friends, connections from your undergraduate institution, people you’ve met through internships or practica, those you interact with through volunteer or community involvement, and more. As you begin to explore careers, these are the connections to draw upon. Furthermore, when you attend seminars, professional meetings, or conferences, be sure to bring business cards, introduce yourself to others, and follow up to maintain these relationships after the event. You can also expand your network through online social and professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, and as a Badger, you can also network through the Wisconsin Alumni Association.
Internships are a great way to get a taste of what it would be like to work in the particular industry you may be considering. When you’re searching for an internship, often a great place to start is your school or college career office. However, if you don’t find what you need there, use the guide below create your own internship.
How to start
Next, develop a list of prospective organizations and contacts
Contact the organization
These tips are based on information from the following sources:
Planning your path to graduate school success