Professional development resources

If you are a graduate student, odds are you struggle to find the time for professional development. Yet skills like grant writing, tailoring your CV, or creating innovative lessons can boost your career.

The following free, online tools can help get you started with professional development. Or, if you prefer working in-person, the Graduate College can help you schedule a career development workshop or individual meeting.


ImaginePhD was designed for graduate student career-seekers in the humanities and socials sciences. Iowa students will have early access, starting in mid-September 2017. Use this free online career exploration and planning tool to:

  • assess your career-related skills, interests, and values
  • explore careers appropriate to your discipline
  • create self-defined goals
  • map out next steps for your career and professional development success


Join the Iowa CIRTL Network and participate in teaching-focused professional development online or in-person. Earn certificates that demonstrate your teaching skills or work with Dr. Erin Barnes, our CIRTL coordinator, to develop a Teaching-As-Research (TAR) project at Iowa. Use CIRTL to:

  • Join a diverse group of graduate students from across the 43 CIRTL member universities
  • Take online courses, workshops, and get access to summer institutes
  • Find a supportive community to develop your teaching expertise and prepare faculty jobs


myIDP helps STEM graduate students explore careers and create a free individual development plan (IDP). Use myIDP to assess your skills, interests, and values, and explore relevant careers. myIDP offers:

  • A list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit your skills and interests
  • A tool for setting strategic goals for the coming year, with optional reminders to keep you on track
  • Articles and resources to guide you through the process

Versatile PhD

Versatile PhD is available to all Iowa graduate students through the Graduate College’s paid subscription. Using this site, students can explore the oldest, largest online community dedicated to non-academic and non-faculty careers for students in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM. Use this site to access a library of career materials from across sectors, hear from PhDs working in diverse areas, and learn from an online community of over 75,000 members. Consider:

  • Monthly Q&As on popular employment fields for PhDs
  • Reading the stories of PhDs working in government, industry, and non-profit sectors
  • Finding a community of people to discuss your career questions