Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Post 68: Transferrable Skills as a Graduate Student

Looking forward to the summer approaching, and what I hope will be the end of my thesis, has me thinking about applying for jobs and work post-program. There are quite a lot of skills we pick up as graduate students during our programs, and this post will cover a few of them. Later in the semester when things get serious, or after I'm done, and I visit the Career Counselling to update my CV and Resume, I may write a follow-up post, as I'm certain they will have other recommendations that I haven't thought of. Their expertise is in thinking about job and transferrable skills, whereas mine is not. 

We teach. We research. We write. There are at more than three transferrable skills in those three short sentences. Let's pull them apart.

Teaching involves time management, student engagement, presentation delivery, punctuality, consistent attendance and classroom leadership, and generally, marking and evaluation. Perhaps even the ability to have difficult conversations with people, depending on whether students approached you, disconcerted about grades or their performance in the class or tutorial or lab. 

Sunset from my airplane as we drifted into Vancouver at the end of my Christmas Break, late December.

Undertaking research involves a number of components. I'll write from the qualitative data perspective, but among those, a thesis involves reading, organizing, and collating relevant literature, summarizing and analyzing content, undertaking data analysis and reporting and project management for the whole thing. Then there are also conference and lab poster and oral presentations. Managing relationships with colleagues and your supervisor. Undertaking work with supervision. Perhaps there are also lab coordinating duties.

Sunset in Victoria, Odgen Point. 
And of course all the writing (a thesis is like a big report). Editing. Revising. Polishing a professional document. 

What are some of the things I'm missing in here? I'm sure there are quite a few, but these are the ones that are top of mind for me tonight.

There are a lot of resources available to students at UVic who are completing their programs and starting to think ahead towards work, or post-degree options. To carry on and work on a PhD, or enter the workforce, or take some time off and travel, I would still recommend a visit with the Career Services folks. They've been very helpful for me in the past, and do everything from polishing a CV and Resume to interview practice. To anyone in this boat, good luck! I wish you well! :)

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