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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Winter 2016
Peer Advisor Availability

Writing Peer
Kyle Crocco

Mon: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Tue: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m.-noon

Funding Peer
Stephanie Griffin
Mon: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: noon-2 p.m.

Diversity Peer
Ana Romero

Mon: noon-2 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.



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Networking: Or, How Karaoke Can Lead to a Career

"At a karaoke party on the final night of a marine-sciences conference in 2011, graduate student David Shiffman signed up to sing a song that another attendee had also requested. The event director asked the two to do a duet, and they agreed. Shiffman has since forgotten the tune – 'Take on Me' by A-ha or 'I Will Survive' by Gloria Gaynor, perhaps. But the two had a blast, and when they chatted afterwards, Shiffman learned that his singing partner was Chris Parsons, then-president of the marine section of the Society for Conservation Biology in Washington, DC."

Credit: NaturejobsIn a recent Naturejobs article on conference networking, Emily Sohn describes how this experience led to many more professional doors being opened for Shiffman in his career as an ecologist. But even if the conferences you go to don't feature karaoke nights (relatedly, who can I talk to to make this a staple of every academic gathering?), it remains a fact that most people – and especially young scholars – put more thought into planning which sessions they will attend rather than planning which senior scholars they want to connect with in between those sessions. In her article, Sohn gives advice on how to be courageous yet courteous, how to not tweet like a twit, and overcoming senior scholar starstruck syndrome.

But conferences aren't the only place that crucial career contacts are forged. In another Naturejobs article, Julie Gould points out the many ways in which professional societies can hold the key to better networking and career advancement. By becoming an engaged member in a professional society, you gain access to prominent scholars, leadership opportunities, and insider knowledge on your field.

To read Sohn's full article on conference networking, click here. To read Gould's full article on how to make the most of professional societies, click here.

To get regular updates from Naturejobs, like it on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.


Insights from Talk on Careers in Industry

Eighty percent of Ph.D. students don’t have jobs lined up after graduation.

Isaiah HankelThis is just one of the staggering statistics that Dr. Isaiah Hankel shared in his talk last week about breaking into a career in industry. He also provided lots of tangible, helpful, and practical suggestions for graduate students aiming to gear their job search for industry:

Tip #1: Develop a job search strategy

  • Ph.D. students are good at researching and hitting a goal. But you can’t hit a job target when you haven’t set a target.
  • To begin, you create a plan by imagining what kind of job you want. Think beyond salary and title, and get into the daily tasks, values, and setting that is important to you in a job.
  • Spend a majority of time on networking and creating credibility, then work on creating your resume. Set goals. Track your progress closely. 

Tip # 2: Manage your mindset

  • The fact that you don’t have prior direct experience in industry shouldn’t stop you from applying to industry jobs.
  • You have many transferable skills that are valued in industry. There are many ways to market and sell your skills and knowing how to talk about those skills is important.
  • It starts with you believing that you have skills first! Don’t forget that only two percent of the U.S. population has a Ph.D. You have specialized skills, so market them.

Tip #3: Networking is key

  • Dr. Hankel believes that jobs aren’t found through just submitting your resume and crossing your fingers; rather, they are found through networking and building connections. He stressed that you should make a connection before applying to a job. 
  • When networking, give value to who you are talking to and don’t base the relationship around you wanting a job. And don’t dominate the conversation. Ask and listen to others you are talking to.
  • Hone your elevator pitch to 15 seconds so that it answers: 1) who you are 2) what you want 3) why anyone should care. Use this elevator pitch to differentiate yourself.
  • As part of your strategy, find ways to prioritize networking. Industry wants people who they can get along with, not the person hiding in the corner with their nose in their phone.

Tip #4: Three skills you need

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Drive/internal motivation
  • Strategic planning
  • Hint: you have these skills as a Ph.D. Student!

Tip #5: Three skills you don't need

  • Business acumen
  • Business experience
  • Business knowledge
  • Hint: you will develop these skills during your employment

Check out Dr. Hankel's website, Cheeky Scientist, to learn more tips and ways to get employment in industry. Be sure to check out his free booklet on the top 20 Ph.D. industry positions for some inspiration.

Lana Smith-HaleIf you want to know more about the presentation or want to talk about creating your job strategy, come visit me in drop-in hours or schedule an appointment.

Lana Smith-Hale
Graduate Student Consultant
Drop-in hours in SRB 1216: Tuesday 10 a.m.-noon, 2-3 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m.-noon, Thursday 1-4 p.m.
Phone: 805-893-4412


Making Sense of Your Career Transition Narrative

“No one has to know everything about how you got to where you are. They just have to know enough that it makes sense for you to be there.”

Credit: "Defehrt epinglier pl2," designed by Goussier, engraved by Defehrt. Diderot's Encyclopédie (1762).In a recent article on Vitae, Elizabeth Keenan says that this is the single best piece of advice she got on making a career switch. What's important to potential hires is that you demonstrate your experience (or your transferable skills) in a way that they understand and that gives them incentive to take a risk on you. How do you do this? Keenan gives three specific tips:

  1. Craft a positive personal narrative. Leave behind the maudlin personal narrative that you may have internalized if you've grown frustrated with academia. Instead, present your personal narrative with a beginning (how I gained relevant skills), a middle (what I’m doing to develop them further), and an end (how I can help you at your company with said skills) that explains your transition in a positive way. Practice and internalize your new narrative until it is second nature and it emerges in all of your job application materials.
  2. Your narrative starts with your resume. It can be hard winnowing down your research and academic experience to just the relevant stuff that is valuable to a particular employer. But you have to be ruthless. You may need to go through several drafts and get lots of feedback from different sources. Keenan says, "The lesson here is to focus, but not with such a laser beam that you look frightening to a nonacademic employer. Your résumé should make sense for the position, even if that means leaving off a few accolades."
  3. Don't write an academic-style cover letter. Academic cover letters are often overly long, filled with jargon, and stiffly phrased. A non-academic job letter should be short (which means concise, engaged, and direct) and contain three paragraphs: why you want this job, what experience you can bring, and how excited (but not creepy-excited) you are to change careers.
  4. Don't be afraid to get additional training. Keenan says, "Make sure to demonstrate that you are aware of the standard requirements of your new field. This kind of continuing education shows commitment, which employers like to see in people they hire."
  5. You still may not get the job, even after getting (and acing) the interview. Both inside and outside of academia, there are always factors outside of your control in the job search. This is simply a reality that you have to face.
  6. Changing careers is difficult, but not impossible. As Keenan says, "Focus on the positive aspects of your narrative. Hone your résumé. Take breaks when you feel overwhelmed. Talk with others about your fears, but keep your game face on when interviewing. Who knows? You may end up with a whole new career that you like even more than academia."

Read Keenan's full article on Vitae's website here.

To get regular updates from Vitae, sign up for their e-mail digest, or connect via Facebook or Twitter.


Apply to be a Researcher at the Council of Graduate Schools

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is currently seeking a qualified graduate student to serve as a Researcher in its Washington, D.C. office. Under the supervision of Principal Investigator/Co-Principal Investigators, the graduate student researcher will support NSF-funded projects.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Conduct review of relevant literatures for the projects and summarize key findings.
  • Perform analysis of in-house survey data, student records, and NSF data, interpret results, and summarize findings in preparation of project manuscripts.
  • Prepare figures, charts, and other visualizations of project findings for broader public consumption.

Position Requirements and Requisite Skills

  • Currently enrolled as a graduate student at a U.S. accredited institution, studying relevant fields (e.g., higher education, sociology, public policy, etc.). Advanced doctoral students (i.e., having passed a comprehensive exam or advanced to candidacy) are preferred, but other students with comparable experience may be considered.
  • Extensive training in quantitative and/or qualitative research methodology.
  • Proficiency in MS Office products, SPSS, SPSS Syntax, and Stata.
  • Familiarity and experience in working with various datasets from the National Science Foundation is preferred.

Stipend: $20,000 for a 49-week commitment beginning on January 11, 2016, and ending on December 16, 2016, including federal holidays and one-week leave accrued. This is a half-time position, and is paid on a semi-monthly basis.

To Apply: For full consideration, please send a letter of interest and abbreviated CV to Human Resources,, on or before Friday, October 30, 2015.


Campus Career Fair This Wednesday

This Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Events Center (Thunderdome), UCSB Career Services is hosting the Fall Career and Internship Fair, open to all UCSB students. There will be 117 organizations participating, in areas including engineering, technology, marketing, human resources, business management, sciences, finance, education, government, healthcare, social services, and sales. Of this group, 74 have specific interest in connecting with graduate students.

If you haven’t been to a career fair, or aren’t sure what is entailed, it is an event bringing together a variety of employers interested in meeting Gauchos in regards to their organizations and potential job opportunities. Especially if you have interest in the industries being represented, and come prepared, career fairs can be a great way to connect with professionals in your area, learn about organizations and their hiring opportunities, and possibly even land an interview.

So what’s the best way to prepare?  Here are some proven tips:

Credit: Keith WilliamsDo Your Homework

  • Research the employers you are interested in connecting with – website, products/services, company divisions, current events, competitors, etc.
  • Find out what specific opportunities the organizations have available – website, GauchoLink,, Google, etc.
  • Plan a strategy for organizations with which you'd like to connect.
  • Create a list of questions you’d like to ask them.

Put Together 30- to 60-Second Intro or ”Elevator Speech”

  • For use in answering the “tell me about yourself”-related questions.
  • It should include information about who you are, what you’re looking for, what you have to offer (education, skills, experience, etc.), and why you are interested in the company.
  • Write, edit, get feedback, and practice, practice, practice your speech.

Credit: Woodley WonderworksTailor Your Resume/CV

  • A resume (as opposed to a CV) is appropriate for most industry positions.
  • Your resume should be distinctive, easy to read, error-free, and relevant to the research you did about the company.
  • If necessary, have different versions for different employers.
  • Get your resume critiqued by at least two knowledgeable people beforehand.
  • Bring several hard copies of your resume in a portfolio or something professional-looking.

Make an Effort Towards Your Dress and Appearance

  • Err on the side of over-dressing vs. under-dressing.
  • Wear a suit or business casual dress, depending on the industry.

Credit: Kyle SteedArrive Early

  • Long lines often form and some employers leave early.
  • Note: If you get your resume/CV critiqued in drop-in counseling at Career Services (Career Resource Room, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday-Friday), you will receive a pass to enter the fair one hour early.

Follow Up

  • Ask for cards/contact information from employers you meet.
  • Send them an email within 24 hours, thanking them for their time and interest, reiterating your interest in their organization/opportunity (if applicable), and following up with any action steps or other pertinent discussion points.
  • Follow-up further, as appropriate.

UCSB Career Services offers an effective array of resources, programming, coaching, and other services. For more details, visit the Career Services website.


What to Do When Hard Work Isn't Enough

Statue of Cain, by Henri VidalWhy do bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people?

This age-old question could also be applied to the job market. As Josh Boldt writes in a recent article on Vitae, "Why are some people rewarded for sacrifice and others exploited for it? Why does one Ph.D. land a tenure-track position while another is relegated to a lifetime of adjunct pay?"

While Boldt eschews the idea that all success is entirely attributable to one's personal effort, he offers three pieces of advice that he learned through one failed job search cycle and a subsequent successful job search cycle.

  1. Know the power of a well crafted CV/resume and cover letter. The more interesting and tailored your CV/resume and cover letter are, the better. Use your application materials to show your personality and use targeted language pulled directly from the job ad you are applying to.
  2. Effectively manage the value of your labor. As Boldt puts it, "You don’t want to allow yourself to be exploited but you also don’t want to appear to be an inflexible and egotistical ass. You have to learn when it’s OK to give your labor freely (or cheaply) and when you must stand up for yourself and negotiate a better deal." However, even if do decide that give your labor away freely gives you a competitive advantage, don't completely give away your leverage. Negotiate the terms of your free/cheap labor by asking for something in return (such as a contract with clear terms or a promise of future paid work).
  3. Focus on building strategic relationships. Yup, this means networking. Even if you are introvert, make a point to go to events and meetups to make strategic connections with people in your field(s) of choice. Otherwise, when it comes time to go on the job market, you're the only one that can really vouch for yourself and your experience. It's a lot easier when that labor can be distributed among a network of people who know you and your work.

Read the full article on Vitae's website here.

To get regular updates from Vitae, sign up for their e-mail digest, or connect via Facebook or Twitter.


UCSB Instructional Development Seeks TA Development Program Coordinator

UCSB's Instructional Development Department is seeking a graduate student to fill the 49% time position of Teaching Assistant Development Program Coordinator. The Coordinator is responsible for the management and operation of the campus-wide TA Development Program (TADP) affecting all academic departments and programs that employ graduate student TAs. The Coordinator is in charge of the planning, implementation, and assessment of activities and events such as annual TA orientation, quarterly pedagogy workshops, TA video and consultation, and the Lead TA Institute.

The Coordinator, under the supervision of the Senior Instructional Consultant, is also responsible for cooperating and collaborating with other agencies and programs (e.g. Graduate Division, Summer Sessions, Certificate for College and University Teaching) on activities to strengthen the preparation of graduate student TAs and Associates for the teaching aspects of their current and anticipated professional roles.

Qualifications. Graduate students wishing to be considered for this position must demonstrate in a cover letter or resume the following qualifications:

  • Currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at UCSB and already advanced to candidacy
  • At least three quarters of teaching experience at UCSB (as a TA and/or Teaching Associate)
  • Experience using a variety of teaching approaches
  • A desire to work with TAs to help them improve their teaching
  • An interest in learning more about college and university pedagogies
  • The ability to make non-judgmental observations
  • Aptitude for communicating across disciplines
  • Some experience in training/mentoring others is helpful, but not essential

To view a PDF of the full job notice, click here.

The position is open until filled, but Instructional Development is looking to hire someone as soon as possible.

How to apply. Address cover letter and/or resume and curriculum vitae to:

Lisa Berry
Senior Instructional Consultant
Office of Instructional Consultation
Instructional Development Department
Email submissions to:


Versatile Ph.D. Online Panel Discussion Oct 19-23: 'Careers in Publishing'

Versatile Ph.D. will host a free web-based asynchronous panel discussion on "Careers in Publishing" from October 19-23. All panelists are Ph.D.s from Humanities or Social Science fields:

  • A Humanities Ph.D. who has served in several roles at an academic digital press and is currently its Director of Strategic Initiatives
  • A Historian who is now Editorial Director at a major academic press, and formerly the executive director of a small scholarly press
  • A Political Scientist who is Manager of Content at a digital service and app that distributes global newspaper content, and formerly Digital Content Strategist at an educational publisher
  • A Philosopher who is currently Senior Acquisitions Editor at an academic press, and formerly Associate Editor at an independent trade/academic publishing house

You can interact with panelists throughout the week on the site, or follow the discussion via email. All questions welcome, from the most general to the very specific.

As a UCSB graduate student, you have free access to the information and resources on the Versatile Ph.D. website. To learn more about accessing its premium content, such as the panel discussions, follow these simple instructions provided by the Graduate Division.


Get to Know Your New Graduate Student Career Counselor

Lana Smith-HaleThere is a new face at the Graduate Student Resource Center these days. Lana Smith-Hale joins us as Career Services’ new Graduate Career Consultant. She will be dedicated to helping graduate students prepare for non-academic careers. From her office in the GSRC (located in the Student Resource Building Room 1215), Lana offers drop-in and appointment counseling exclusively for graduate students. She also helps develop targeted career programming and serves as a point-person and liaison for graduate career needs.

Lana has nine years of counseling experience and has spent the last year as Director of Compassionate Counseling at UCSB’s Hosford Clinic. Lana received her master's degree from the University of Southern California and her bachelor's degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Lana said that she is excited about working with graduate students “because they are a driven, successful, and committed bunch of students. Graduate school offers twists and turns for many students and helping them navigate their evolution in the program and in career goals is exciting to me.” She went on to say, “I think most graduate students feel that making the decision to go to grad school was ‘the big career decision’ and that the career path from there is all downhill. But grad school doesn’t always set up a clear path and more often than not, there are more questions raised and bigger career decisions ahead once grad school gets underway.”

Lana is available to discuss anything career-related with graduate students, including career exploration, the job search process, CV/resume help, interviewing, and negotiation strategies. And since she is located in the GSRC, she said that she hopes the office can become a one-stop shop for graduate student support. Oh, and did we mention that she is a huge chocolate fanatic? So you know that she will likely always have an epic snack supply on hand.

How to get in touch with Lana:

By e-mail:
By phone
: 805-893-4649
In person
: SRB Room 1215
Drop-in hours

  • Tuesdays 10 a.m.-noon, 2-3 p.m.
  • Wednesdays 9 a.m.-noon
  • Thursdays 1-4 p.m.

Fall Career Events to Help You Break into the Non-Academic Job Market

This fall, Career Services is debuting a series of workshops and services designed to help graduate students prepare for and break into the non-academic job market. In addition to offering targeted workshops, Career Services has also recently hired a Graduate Career Consultant who is solely dedicated to helping graduate students prepare for non-academic career options. Read on for more information on these new and improved services! (For a downloadable flier, click here.)

(Keep an eye on the GradPost for more details about these upcoming workshops)

Presenting Yourself to Potential Employers:
The Resume and Cover Letter

Tuesday, October 13
11 a.m.-noon
Student Resource Building, Multipurpose Room

Laying the Groundwork for Your Job Search:

Wednesday, October 28
11 a.m.-noon
Student Resource Building, Multipurpose Room

Finding and Getting the Job You Want:
The Interview

Monday, November 9
3-4 p.m.
Student Resource Building, Multipurpose Room


Lana Smith-HaleLana Smith-Hale is Career Services' new Graduate Career Consultant. From her office in the Graduate Student Resource Center (Student Resource Building 1215), she offers drop-in and appointment counseling exclusively for graduate students. She also helps develop targeted career programming and serves as a point-person and liaison for graduate career needs.

Counseling services include:

  • Career planning, assessment, and exploration
  • Job search strategies
  • Resume and cover letter critiques
  • Mock interviews
  • Networking strategies

Lana's drop-in hours are:

  • Tuesdays 10 a.m.-noon, 2-3 p.m.
  • Wednesdays 9 a.m.-noon
  • Thursdays 1-4 p.m.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, you can call 805-893-4649 or 805-893-4412. Phone and virtual appointments are also available. Lana can be reached by email at:

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