Published: Aug. 17, 2021

person working on a computerDid you know that the average industry job search can take 6-9 months? Whether you’re in the middle of your graduate program or you’re starting your final year, it’s never too early to start planning for your job search. Here are three tips that can help you kick-start your job search.

Start early

Whether you plan to go on the academic job market or seek a position in industry, how you start your search may differ depending on your goal. But for both tracks, planning and networking are always good first steps. 

Consider beginning a career journal or a tracking document like a spreadsheet to make notes about your job market research. Seek out people in the organizations, institutions or positions you’re interested in —the Forever Buffs Network is a great place to start! Reach out to ask questions and make connections. You could also set up informational interviews to gain a greater understanding of a certain company, job role or industry. A little basic research and networking now can make your job search easier. 

Reflect on what you want from your career

As you start your search, think about what you want your life and your job to be like in five years. Consider the steps that can help get you there. If you have chosen a career field, research that field and talk to people who work in it. Get to know the nuances and find the opportunities that can give your search a boost. 

If you are considering different career paths, use Versatile PhD⁠. This is a free online resource designed to help members of the graduate community who are interested in exploring non-academic career options. Use the self-paced career exploration module Options 4 Success to help you work through that exploration process in an organized way. 

Prepare materials and look at job postings

If you are going into industry, now is also a great time to start putting a resume together. Follow these resume and cover letter tips

Graduate students are also encouraged to attend the Fall Industry Job Search Seminar. Beginning Sept. 22, this eight-week session will lay out the basics of a non-academic job search. You’ll learn about finding job postings, creating application documents, interviewing, negotiation and more.

If your path is more academic, consult our academic job search guides or take a look at the guide to get started with your CV and academic application materials. Stay tuned for more details about our Academic Job Search Seminar in summer of 2022.

Using Versatile PhD or making an appointment with a career advisor can help you reflect, gain insight and get a strong start on your job search. Learn more about getting started with Career Services