Graduate & Postdoctoral Career Services
Graduate Students and Postdocs can receive career services and advising through the Graduate College. It is never too early to get started in planning your career.
Graduate school offers preparation for a wide range of career options.
- How do I find and apply for jobs?
- Academic: The most reliable source of information about open positions will be the human resources pages of a university, but these sites are useful for broad searches. They also include “alt-ac” or administrative positions.
- Non-academic: You can find job listings online, but many job openings are never posted on websites. Online job searching should always be accompanied by networking to learn about opportunities, to become known to prospective employers/coworkers, and to gain direct advice.
- A simplified outline of the job application process is:
- Make your materials match what the employer wants as closely as possible! If 50% of a job's requirements are communication skills, do NOT submit a resume/cover letter that is 100% research.
- For academia research/teaching jobs, you will need:
- Credentials and evidence of your research and/or teaching effectiveness (shown in your CV, research statement, and/or teaching statement).
- Clearly planned goals for your research and/or teaching program (shown in your cover letter, research statement, teaching statement, and interviews).
- Numerous other skills that are not explicitly discussed as they would be in a resume but are nevertheless critical to being an autonomous researcher, effective teacher, and involved mentor (links to examples)
- For careers outside academia, you will need:
- A combination of technical skills (specific subject knowledge or techniques) and transferable skills (communication, writing, management, teamwork, interpersonal skills). The specific ratio of technical to transferable skills will vary by sector (e.g., pharmaceutical industry research vs. University administration), but transferable skills are almost always required.
- Evidence that you are effective at using the skills the employer requires for this specific job--have specific examples ready for your resume, cover letter, and interviews!
- Do I really have to network?
- Technically, no, but you will miss out on 70% of job openings, first-hand advice from people in your field, referrals for job applications, and many other benefits by not developing your professional network. It is in your best interest to network in whatever format works best for you!
- Why should I read about careers if I am still early in my graduate school program?
- Networking takes time--establishing connections with people now will make later job search conversations go more smoothly.
- Demystifying the process of job ad reading and career exploration reduces stress your final year/semester!
- Learning new applications and projects other people with Ph.D.s have pursued can broaden your horizons
- Knowing what skills you need for careers now gives you time to develop those skills and pursue further training.
- The Graduate Professional Development Website: At Iowa, we take a holistic approach to graduate student and postdoctoral scholar preparation. Whether your goal is a career in academe, industry, government, or elsewhere—professional development can expand your options and make you more marketable to employers. Visit http://www.grad.uiowa.edu/professional-development for events and resources.
- The Open Doors Series Watch live and archived interviews from PhDs working in various fields and learn how you can find your niche in the ever expanding job market. Visit OpenDoorsSeries.com to watch videos and see when the next interview will be broadcast!