Grad Student Job Search Strategies: At a Glance
To secure your desired employment you should:
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- Determine where the jobs are typically listed
- Know what you have to offer
- Learn what skills/quialities the employing organization needs
- Understand market conditions - is the career area in demand?
- How jobs are typically filled - internal/external postings, word-of-mouth, conferences
What kind of experience you are missing to do the work you want? Is it practical experience working with a certain client group? Hands-on project management experience? Evidence of publication or field experience?
Conducting informational interviews with professionals working in the career area you are interested in will enable you to learn what constitutes "relevant work experience." If you're not sure where to begin, consult with a career counsellor .
You can also ask professionals in your field of interest for recommendations on what you can do to gain the needed experience. They might recommend the following:
- Part-time work in the field
- Further examination of your transferable skills
The Career Centre offer a number of these services. For more information on gaining experience go to http://www.careers.utoronto.ca/myCareer/getExperience/getExperience.aspx - Back To Top -
Applications, Resumes and Covering Letters
Depending on the kinds of work you want to do, you'll need to prepare either a curricula vitae (CV) or a resume.
The following resume demonstrates how a Masters student can showcased her expertise and experience in a resume format.
Additional resume information and samples can be found at http://www.careers.utoronto.ca/myCareer/resumeInterview/resume.aspx?tr=
Use one or more of the following sample CVs to help structure your own.
Sample Cover Letters
Cover letters need to be tailored to the specific position your are applying for at each institution or organization. (If applying to an academic position for example, is the position teaching-focused or research-focused? Have you addressed how your research fits with research currently ongoing in the department?)
Additional information on cover letters can be found at http://www.careers.utoronto.ca/myCareer/resumeInterview/coverLetter.aspx?tr=- Back To Top -
Whether your interview is with an organizaion or an academic institution, practice and preparation is the key. The Career Centre offers interview workshops, practice interviews, and has many print resources containing useful interview tips and sample questions. Drop in or go to http://www.careers.utoronto.ca/myCareer/resumeInterview/interview.aspx?tr= to view some general tips.
Workplace Behaviour, Etiquette and Professionalism
Starting a new job usually means you will have to “pay your dues”. You want be seen as a positive team player who is committed to the organization, and who is willing to do what needs to be done. This often involves doing mundane tasks well to make a good impression and eventually be rewarded with more challenging and interesting work. Some important tips to keep in mind during your first few months on the job:
- Listen more than you talk.
- When you complete an assignment, ask for another or suggest one for which you feel you are qualified.
- Minimize references to your previous employer.
- Always meet deadlines.
- Always arrive on time and don’t be the first to leave at the end of the day.
- We all make mistakes - the key is to learn from them and not repeat them.
- Make sure that you completely understand assignments. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Present solutions for problems and learn to be tactful and discreet.
- Learn to effectively navigate office politics by observing customs around you.
- Have a vision. Know where you want to be in 18-24 months.
Be sure to clarify the organization’s policies and procedures (both formal and informal) regarding:
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- dress code
- telephone use
- hours of work
- sick days
- dealing with the media (if relevant)
- organizational hierarchy
Getting a Mentor
According to employers, half of all university graduates handle the transition to full-time work well. That means the other half do not. A mentor can act as a guide, coach or adviser - helping you achieve your long-term career goals to helping you with new and unanticipated problems in the short-term.Often your mentor will be someone from your workplace, but s/he can also be a trusted friend, family member, former supervisor, colleague, or teacher. A reliable mentor is invaluable in helping you to assess your skills and interests, set goals, and connect with people important to your own career growth.
Few of us take the time to really consider the transition from school to work, and the significance of this new phase of life we are entering into.
While job success requires you to apply your knowledge and excel in your new environment, it is important to balance your work with your life outside. This requires you to take account of the things that you do outside of work (family, social life, community work, hobbies, etc.) and allocate time for them as well.
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