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Industry and government job search for graduate students

Employer expectations:

The industry and government job search for master's degree and Ph.D. candidates requires the same skills and knowledge as the job search for undergraduates, plus more.

Differences between the job search for undergraduates and graduate students

  1. The bar is raised. Employers expect to see more career focus and professionalism.
  2. For some industry and government employment, particularly for research positions at the Ph.D. level, the process may be more similar to the academic job search.
  3. For many positions you may be expected to make a presentation as part of the interview process. The content knowledge and skills needed for your presentation should be developed during your graduate academic work.

Similarities between the job search for undergraduates and graduate students

  1. It is to your advantage to use a variety of job sources for your field.
  2. Networking is an essential professional skill and door-opener.
  3. Employers expect to to see strong job search skills, covered in our job and internship search guide, including:

Sources for industry and government jobs

Resources most useful to you will vary depending on your career field and interests. Our advisors can help guide you, and we welcome you to schedule an advising appointment.

Career fairs

  • Virginia Tech affiliated career fairs: Before each event, research the participating employers to determine if there is a match for your qualifications and career interests. This will help you determine whether or not to participate, and, if you decide to do so, to be prepared to effectively present yourself to those employers. Career fairs do not represent all industries, fields and types of employers, but they do offer excellent opportunities to speak directly with employers who have taken the initiative and incurred expense to participate.

Jobs, career information, and advice sources

Ph.D. resources

  • BeyondAcademe.com
    Purpose to educate historians on career options outside of academia.
  • My IDP Science Careers.org
    Individual Development Plan (IDP) concept... used to create myIDP, a web-based career-planning tool tailored to meet needs of PhD students and postdocs in the sciences.
  • Ph.D. Career Guide
    Includes guidance on translating your skill sets to career skills, and on choosing a career path, including industry, government and academia.
  • Versatile Ph.D.
    Empower Ph.D.s, ABDs, and post-docs to build professional careers.
  • #AltAcademy - who we are and what we do
    View and join an online community showing academic and non-academic careers of individuals with graduate education, mostly Ph.D.s, and many from fields of study in humanities.