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Summer Tips for Your Career Development

Summer is as good a time as any to invest in your professional development! Whether you already have your eyes set on the job of your dreams or are considering a range of career paths, there are several activities that can help you reach your professional goals. Below are a just a few to get your started.

Use a career assessment or career exploration tool. Career assessments can help you identify your strengths, skills, and values in relation to jobs that pique your interest. These assessments can also help you narrow down particular fields or industries that are a match with your career goals. If you’re in the humanities or social sciences, consider checking out the career exploration tool called ImaginePhD (master’s students can use this as well). If you’re in the STEM disciplines, try out myIDP Science Careers. Both tools are free!

Lead informational interviews. An informational interview is an informal conversation with a professional working in a field of interest to you. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a meaningful conversation to hear and learn about an individual’s career trajectory, knowledge of a particular industry, additional networking referrals, and more. These insights can help you make informed choices during your job search. The Career and Internship Center on the Seattle campus refers to an informational interview as a career conversation.

Be a volunteer or intern. If you’re exploring a range of career paths, consider being a volunteer or intern on a short-term basis. Explore paid and unpaid internship opportunities listed on Handshake (a free service for UW students). If being a volunteer or intern involves too much of a time commitment for you and your schedule, considering setting up a job shadow experience to get a feel for a particular profession. Keep in mind that being a volunteer or intern to gain professional experience is neither extra-curricular nor a distraction to writing a thesis or dissertation — these work experiences can help you gain skills and make you a stronger candidate for jobs outside of academia. Here’s another article about pursuing internships while being a graduate student. 

Read job postings. Reading job listings are important to career exploration. Derek Attig has come up with several self-reflective strategies that make perusing job ads less tedious and more useful. Ask yourself the following questions: (1) Can I imagine myself doing the tasks required for this job? (2) Do the values of the employer resonate with my own? (3) What might I dislike about the job I am reading about? (4) Am I on board with the mission of the employer?

We encourage you to take the time to invest in your professional development this summer and let us know what career tips work for you! Finally, you are receiving this newsletter based on your affiliation as a new or returning graduate student at the University of Washington. If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click here and visit this blog post for directions on managing your subscription preferences.

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