Top 10 Life Affirming and Career Ready Tasks for Grad Students

Graduate Students’ Association president Aidan Smith views grad school as the ultimate blend of opportunities to develop academically, personally and professionally.

“We are surrounded by professionals and experts who are passionate, knowledgeable and motivated to share their insights,” he told an audience of grad students during the closing remarks at the recent SHIFT Conference.

Sixty Brock graduate students who attended the second annual SHIFT Conference in the spring discussed life and career planning strategies in a day of workshops themed around self-discovery, skill development and career readiness.

A repository of resources and worksheets developed by facilitators for the SHIFT conference is now available on the Vitae Essential Skills website and summarized below.

Top 10 Life Affirming & Career Ready Tasks for Grad Students

Go ahead, jump in! Here are a few summer tasks to help you prepare for a meaningful life and career:

1.  Swim in, float on or follow a river. And recommit to the wonder and potential of your life.

2.  Reflect on your graduate experience and compose a list of your transferable skills.  Your graduate education provides you with a rich set of experiences and skills that employers seek. If you are an international student, learn how to ‘Canadianize’ your resume.

3.  Write a few ‘achievement statements’ and be prepared for the position you desire. Reflecting on your achievements is a real feel good exercise. Sometimes we underestimate what we’ve accomplished. Take the time to assess, reflect, articulate and transcribe those accomplishments.

4. Go inside. Reflect on your unique qualities, interests, and ambitions. Ask yourself about how you intend to live your values? What is your life purpose? What impact and influence do you envision for yourself? Are your life and work-related values congruent?

5.  Ask yourself the hard questions about your future and actively explore your career choices. The dynamic and changing world of work means inconceivable opportunities. Take the time to explore your options. There are some very cool self-assessments available.

6.  Get social. Define your brand, assess your online presence and build a strong LinkedIn profile.

7. As a researcher you are a knowledge mobilizer. Every facet of work within and outside of higher education will require a sophisticated set of communication skills. Learn how to make your messages memorable to a funder, potential employer or larger audience.

8.  Take the Entrepreneurial Potential Self-Assessment: perhaps you have what it takes? Are you a social innovator, ‘edupreneur’, or ‘artpreneur’? Consider immersing yourself in Brock’s Kick-Starting entrepreneurial training program and the Blueprint Challenge at Brock over the next year. Explore your entrepreneurial spirit by taking a free online Entrepreneurship 101 course.

9.  Get Ready for your interview. Understand the interview process, what the employer wants and how you can prepare for those tricky questions.

10.  Stare at the flames of a fire under an August sky. And be inspired and motivated for the year ahead.

Our Vitae Partners: Career Services, Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, Graduate Students’ Association, Faculty of Graduate Studies, International Services and Programs Abroad, Brock Libraries, Academic-Zone Learning Services, Office of Research Services

The Vitae Essential Skills Partners are a group of campus-based student service professionals who closely follow the national dialogues and track current reports on competency-based learning and skill development areas that are most predictive of employment success.

The Vitae Certificate, endorsed by the Dean of Graduate Studies, provides additional credentialing and evidence of your training and specialized skill development.

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