A close up photo of someone working on a laptopOne of the most important things you can do as a graduate student is to start thinking about your career goals early in your program. Here are a few concrete actions you can take early on that will set you up for success as your job search approaches.

Put together a solid CV

Your resume or older CV could probably use a formatting tune-up and updating to include more recent accomplishments. Drafting a new document, rather than just updating an older one, is a great way to start fresh with your new set of experiences (and without formatting artifacts!).

Use these resources to craft a solid, comprehensive CV that conforms to field norms around format and content:

Working on your CV early in your program can help give you a jump on the competition for fellowship and grant applications. It will also allow you to identify and remedy any areas in your CV that are not as robust as you’d prefer.


Networking is key within academia as well as outside it. Keep appropriate social media accounts active and engage in social media activity with your field contacts and colleagues. This includes Researchgate.net, Academia.edu, “Science Twitter” and other similar platforms.

Actively network at conferences and workshops, both virtual and in-person. Introduce yourself and chat with speakers and panelists brought in by your program or department. The connections you make and maintain now can help you later in your job search.

Identify valuable experience and skills

Consider the experience and skills that will make you valuable as a candidate, and then work to gain or hone those qualifications. Whether you plan to remain in academia or move into government, industry or non-profit work, every path has a preferred set of qualifications.

Research your chosen career path and determine what experience and skills are required to succeed, and then carefully evaluate your CV for those qualifications. Where you fall short, be alert for opportunities to acquire or improve them.

If you put time and effort into these career-building activities early in your program, you will be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they arrive.

To talk more about your goals and how to get there, make an appointment with a graduate career advisor. Career Services is open for virtual visits over the summer via Zoom, phone or LiveChat on the Career Services website Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more about virtual appointments and drop-in hours.