Wherever you are in your grad school process, it can be nerve-wracking to think of future plans.
Are you going to be able to get your dream job, or will you have to settle for something less until you get your foot in the door? Or do you already have your foot in the door, but you’re unsure about what exactly you want to do the rest of your life? Either way, here are some ways to ease your anxiety, and even nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem.
Begin With Networking
I can’t stress enough the importance of networking. In fact, I wrote about this subject before and wanted to discuss it again and relate it to job hunting. Networking can happen in a number of ways and with a number of people. For instance, it would be smart to start on your first day of classes by personally introducing yourself to professors and classmates. Then, keep up these relationships by asking questions and starting study groups.
Networking does not leave a lot of room for shyness, so get out there and meet people. Sometimes, you might be required to begin cold contacts with people at career fairs or different faculty members you don’t know. Other times, faculty or fellow students might make it easier by introducing you to other faculty or students.
Start Your Search
You can never start searching for jobs too early. In fact, the earlier you start looking, the better because you’ll have options to choose from. However, if you wait until a few weeks before graduation to look for jobs, then you might end up settling because of the availability of your dream job. Specifically to job seekers with advanced degrees who are looking in academia, I do want to stress the importance of starting your search even earlier than you might think necessary because many jobs are scarce.
Networking also becomes important in the beginning of your job search. If you already have contacts in the field, you can start talking with them about available jobs instead of going straight to cold contacting again. Then, your network of contacts will keep you in mind for any present or future jobs they might have or hear about from other companies or schools.
Become an Intern
While looking for jobs, it’s also a good idea to search for internships. In your search, don’t put up your blinders and only look for well-paying jobs; instead, broaden your horizons to include unpaid internships and low-paying internships. You might be completely against these internships, but most of the time, unpaid internships don’t require that much time each week. Plus, if you intern with a company and put in the right time and effort, they might look into hiring you afterwards.
Again, when you begin searching for internships, start with the contacts you already have through different connections. You never know the types of connections they have and the types of positions they know about, whether they’re for full-time jobs, part-time jobs, or internships. I wrote about this topic before, as well, so please stop by the internship blog and read more details about internships.
These tips can be applied to jobs during grad school, summer internships, or even careers for you to begin after graduating. What other tips do you have for grad students looking for employment either during or after graduate school?