Your Action Plan

Career Preparation Action Items

Engage NOW to become the most competitive candidate!

  • Gain knowledge about any career preparation that occurs within your department at UConn or through your professional associations.
  • Read career-related announcements sent to you through the Graduate Student Soapbox Digest and other University communication channels.
  • Consider enrolling in a UConn Certificate Program to build an additional skill set and knowledge base.

  • Update or create your CV and/or résumé and review it each semester.
  • Keep an electronic portfolio of anything that you feel shows evidence of your accomplishments.
  • If you teach, consistently compile student evaluation data of your courses.
  • If embarking on an academic job search familiarize yourself with the content that is typically included in a Statement of Teaching Philosophy, Research Statement, and Diversity Statement. Periodically write down ideas about content to include in your future documents.
  • Create drafts of outreach content that you can adapt when desiring to connect with others for networking, informational interviewing, and/or future job search.
  • Ask people for recommendations while they still remember you (faculty, supervisors, etc.).

  • Become acquainted with industry-specific job search websites. Identify employers of interest and view actual jobs, familiarizing yourself with the experiences, skills, and training needed to be a competitive applicant.
  • Seek opportunities to develop career- related skills through campus and community involvement and workshops.
  • Test various career paths through short-term career exploration activities, internships, or summer fellowships.
  • Attend, network, and present at professional conferences.
  • Conduct informational interviews with people working in career areas of possible interest.
  • Consistently use LinkedIn to learn about peoples’ work and career paths.
  • Identify funding sources for continued research if that is a career path option. UConn Library’s Pivot-RP resource can be helpful.

  • Conduct an Internet search on your name and see what comes up.
  • Create a robust LinkedIn profile and/or other electronic professional profile and get consistently active on the platform.
  • Contribute to conversations within professional groups and forums on LinkedIn or Twitter, etc.
  • Consider creating a blog or consistently contributing to one in your primary and secondary fields of study or career areas of interest.
  • Consider creating your own website and include content that features/demonstrates your skills, knowledge, and experience.
  • Add videos of your best presentations or job talks to your electronic profile.
  • Explore using an electronic dossier service to organize and gather your professional materials.

Job Search Action Items

When to begin your job search is dependent on the:

  • hiring rhythms of the fields to which you are applying;
  • extent of preparation that you will need to be a competitive job candidate;
  • amount of time you intend to dedicate to the process (think months before you seek to get hired, not weeks).

Note: For academic jobs in higher education, begin a minimum of two years out before the time you seek to be hired.

Many advise: “Begin your job search the day you begin your program.”

  • Develop action plans for two to three career paths, outlining the:
    • target employers;
    • types of jobs of interest;
    • job-search timeframes for paths of interest;
    • job-search approaches you will use;
    • action items;
    • weekly/monthly next steps with completion dates.
  • Finalize your job application materials, remembering to tailor them to feature ways that you match specific position requirements and your alignment with the goals of a company/organization/ department.
  • Revisit your plans every couple of weeks to affirm what is working and to determine where changes need to be made and/or additional information needs to be gained.
  • Engage career-knowledgeable individuals in conversation about your next steps.
  • Learn about applicant tracking systems.

  • Schedule an appointment with a career coach at the Center for Career Development.
  • Attend The Graduate School’s professional development offerings.
  • Gather feedback on your professional documents and presentation skills through the Center for Career Development, Writing Center, and Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning.
  • Attend campus events that feature speakers of interest and network with them.
  • Attend job-search programming delivered within your department.
  • Access job-search content often provided by the professional associations to which you belong.
  • Become acquainted with job search sites that focus on posting jobs in the career fields of greatest interest to you.

  • Identify and be able to talk about your work, research, teaching, leadership, transferable skills, training, etc.
  • Inform people in your network, with whom you have a genuine connection, that you are job searching. Identify the types of opportunities you seek and convey your skills and knowledge.
  • Reach out to UConn alumni to learn about their work and the culture of the companies or organizations in which they are employed.
  • Educate yourself about the different styles of interviews that you might encounter and gain strategies to succeed.
  • Schedule a practice interview with the Center for Career Development well in advance of when you think you might have to interview.
  • When embarking on the academic job search, practice your job talk with people both familiar and unfamiliar with your research and field of study.
  • Maximize your job networking at conferences you attend.