MA and PhD Career Development Resources

Career Development Resources

Finding a career path requires time and effort. GSAS Compass is here to assist you with that process. Below, find a collection of resources to help you self-assess, research, and explore possible career paths; develop your job search materials; network and connect to the GSAS community, alumni, and potential employers; and gain experience.

Also, see here for resources and tips on searching for a job during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GSAS Compass also offers one-on-one career advising appointments. Click here to schedule an appointment.

Self-Assess, Research, and Explore (self-assessment tools and industry guides)

Self-reflection is an important part of understanding your skills and strengths. Below find self-assessment tools to identify skills, interests, and values. Review these materials, and make an appointment with a career advisor to help facilitate professional exploration.

  • The Explore section of the Center for Career Education’s Design Your Next Steps includes a variety of paper-and-pencil self-assessments to help you think about your skills, interests, background, values, and experience. These tools will help connect your preferences to career options.
  • MLA Connected Academics: resources designed for humanities doctoral students, but widely applicable to any humanities or social science student interested in a range of career paths
  • Self-assessment and career exploration resources
    • ImaginePhD: self-assessment and career planning tool for Humanities and Social Science MA and PhD students
    • myIDP: self-assessment and career planning tool for students in the Natural Sciences
    • Columbia Individual Development Plan (IDP) Program: Designed for postdocs and doctoral students in any discipline, this program involves creating an individual development plan and attending workshops and industry panels.
  • One-on-one career advising: Make an appointment to speak with a GSAS career advisor.

Researching and exploring a variety of career paths and industries opens your mind to multiple potential futures, helps you gain the skills and experience necessary to achieve your career goals, and prepares you for your job search. Below are some resources to get you started.

Premium Digital Resources

  • GoinGlobal: This is a great resource for those seeking employment outside the US as well as for international students looking for domestic opportunities.
  • Vault: Visit Vault for industry fact sheets, company-specific information, and interview strategies.
  • LinkedIn Learning Courses: Access LinkedIn Learning modules to learn how to use specific software, develop your elevator pitch, interview, and develop your personal brand.
Develop Job Search Materials (résumé, cover letters, and LinkedIn profile)

Once you have identified several possible career paths to pursue, it is time to update your résumé, curriculum vitae (CV), and professional social media profiles. While you should always tailor your cover letter and other job application materials to each position you apply to, you should also keep an updated résumé and/or CV on file. The following resources will assist you in developing your online presence and job application materials.

Résumé (for industry/private sector and most nonprofit jobs)

Curriculum Vitae (for academic, library, and many government and think tank jobs)

Cover Letter

Social Media

Network and Connect (social media, alumni networking, and informational interviewing)

Graduate school is a great time to expand your professional circle. Seek out connections with alumni from Columbia and your undergraduate institution, build relationships with people in organizations and industries that interest you, and remember that the connections you make with your peers are forming the bedrock of your future network and professional community. There are many ways for students to make valuable professional connections with employers, Columbia alumni, and peers:

Online Networking

In-Person Networking and Informational Interviewing (much of this can be done remotely)

Gain Experience (jobs, internships, on-campus positions, and volunteer opportunities)

Throughout graduate school, you should make an effort to gain hands-on experience in fields that interest you. This can include paid internships, part-time work, volunteering, and participating in student groups. Each time you gain a new experience, take time to reflect on the transferrable skills you demonstrated, and add an entry to your résumé or CV. The resources below will help you find opportunities during graduate school or start your search for a full-time job after graduating.

General Job Boards

The three sites below are the three largest job aggregating websites, which means they use web crawlers to pull open positions from other sites across the internet. Use key words in the industry descriptions below to help you find positions in your field of interest. Also, you can set job alerts on these platforms and get notifications of open jobs sent directly to your inbox.

Additional Job Searching Sites

  • GSAS Connect: a job board available only to GSAS students and alumni. See available opportunities and learn about companies hiring from the Columbia community. Students, please log in using "single sign on" option. Alumni, please create a username. 
  • Campus employment
  • Science Mag: Search for jobs in the sciences.
  • NYAS Science Alliance: GSAS students in the Natural Sciences are eligible to participate in the New York Academy of Science’s Science Alliance program, which offers workshops, courses, and mentorship and networking opportunities for graduate students and postdocs.
  • Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC): job board and job search resources for jobs in higher ed—both academic and administrative
  • Chronicle Vitae: another great resource for higher education jobs
  • See our pages for Humanities/Social Science and STEM career exploration for industry-specific links.

Interview Resources

Additional Resources

Opportunities to Gain Experience on Campus

How to Find an On-Campus Job

If you are interested in finding a part-time job on campus as a graduate or research assistant or in other hourly roles, we suggest searching in all the following places:  

  • If you qualify for financial aid through the Federal Work-Study program, check this website for open positions.
  • Search the internship and job database on GSAS Connect, and select the “On-campus” filter in the “Position Type” field.
  • Search the Human Resources Careers at Columbia portal and enter “short-term casual” in the search box to see listings of temporary, part-time employment throughout Columbia. 
  • Watch your inbox during the first few weeks of each term for emails from your department and various offices around campus with opportunities.
  • Ask your department administrator if they are aware of any opportunities either with faculty in your department or in other offices.
  • Contact faculty directly with whom you would be interested in working as a research assistant. In your email, introduce yourself and your research interests, and ask if they might have any need for a research assistant. Keep your email brief and to the point.
     

Volunteering

  • Community Impact: local volunteer opportunities for Columbia students
  • New York Cares: citywide organization with hundreds of volunteer opportunities