Career Exploration Through Experiential Learning for Graduate Students

Learning by doing – experience is of great value in our career development journey. Not only does it enrich our résumé or CV by showing employers how much we know about certain job-related tasks, but it also enables us to see where and how we can apply our skills, knowledge, and training to various jobs and career fields. It yields reliable and solid information and evidence that shapes our career path.

Personally, I find myself benefiting from my previous work-related experiences in different ways. They have helped me recognize my strengths and develop skills that support my next career goals, eventually leading me to what I found most joyful and fulfilling. After graduation from my graduate degree, I started as an English tutor and later a language instructor; although I enjoyed working with students, I also realized my growing interest in educational technologies developed from my experience in teaching with different online tools. Later I became an online learning specialist to which I was even more passionate. The curiosity of learning about issues related to online learning from my work later steered me to a doctoral program for answers. My current role as a Graduate Assistant at the Center for Career Development allows me to build new skills and polish those I already had. It also broadens my knowledge and experience in student support and services, which have become another career interest of mine.

Experiences widen one’s career prospects, as suggested by a recent article Prototyping Potential Careers from the Carpe Careers column in Inside Higher Ed. The author, Rebekah Layton, shares her grad school and career journey in the article. Citing research about the benefits of experiential learning for graduate students’ career development, she encourages graduate students to try out different career-related experiences that are of their interest. “As we roll into a new year ahead, this is a great time to take stock of your own career journey and where you are positioned along the experiential spectrum,” she said. Check out her article Prototyping Potential Careers for more insights on experiential learning for graduate students.

Cover photo by  Nick Youngson from The Blue Diamond Gallery

By Damiao Zoe Xu
Damiao Zoe Xu Graduate Assistant, Graduate Student and Postdoc Career Programs and Services | Pronouns: she/her/hers