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Winter 2016
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Entries in non-academic (15)


Careers Beyond Academia: A Conversation with Recent Musicology Ph.D.s

Are you a Humanities grad student wondering about careers outside the academy? Then consider attending an event hosted by the UCSB Department of Music on pursuing alternatives to academic careers after getting a Ph.D. The event is this Friday, February 26, from 3:30-5 p.m., and will feature three recent musicology Ph.D.s in a conversation about how they transformed their graduate school experiences into opportunities outside the academic job market. While the primary audience will be students in musicology and ethnomusicology, the issues discussed will certainly resonate with grad students from other humanities disciplines. See the flyer below for more information.


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:


UC Humanities Research Institute Seeks Applications for Research Communications and Projects Manager Position

The UC Humanities Research Institute, the systemwide organization for all 10 campuses in the UC system, seeks a talented and motivated individual with experience in academic and research communications, as well as program administration. The Research Communications and Projects Manager will work in close collaboration with the Director, Assistant Director, Program Officer, and technical staff. The person hired will be responsible for scholarly communications, including UCHRI's social media and web presence, and related programming initiatives. This position will coordinate and manage website redesign and maintenance; manage social media outputs for all UCHRI projects and programs; and administer a public-facing scholarly blog or series on critical interventions in the humanities. The Research Communications Manager will also contribute to substantive program development and administration of current and upcoming UCHRI programs, including but not limited to public and digital humanities projects and Humanists@Work. This position will coordinate all of UCHRI's communications, both research and programming.

The University of California, Irvine, is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to excellence through diversity. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.

Required qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in the humanities.
  • Understanding of academic and educational functions of major research university.
  • Deep understanding of and appreciation for academic and humanistic enterprise.
  • Ability to articulate academic values to diverse constituencies.
  • Superior research, writing, editing, and proofreading skills.
  • Experience in new media communications, social and digital media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogging, podcasting).
  • Experience designing and working with websites (e.g., WordPress).
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multi-faceted programs and projects.
  • Demonstrated ability to work and prioritize in a multi-project, deadline-driven environment.
  • Proven ability to work both collaboratively and independently with little supervision.
  • Strong attention to detail and follow-through.

Salary Range: $52,000-55,000
Work Schedule: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday
Contract Position: This is a 100% yearlong contract position, with possibility of renewal, contingent on budget.

Please apply on the UC Irvine employment website.


Beyond Academia Conference Offers Resource Page for Non-Academic Careers

Following the success of the inaugural Beyond Academia conference at UCSB on May 15, organizers have compiled an extensive and handy list of career resources for those interested in finding out more about non-academic careers. Whether you are just starting to explore options or you are on the job market and wanting to develop skills like networking and negotiating, this resource page is a valuable tool for graduate students and postdocs alike. You'll find information about campus programs, online communities, and blogs dedicated to helping Ph.D.s find work outside of academia.

Check out the resource page here!


For Your Non-Academic Career, Do You Know Your Holland Code?

Are you considering a career outside of academia, but are not sure what jobs you are suited for? Then you might want to figure out your Holland Code, a three letter code based on six RIASEC categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

For example, you might be an easygoing ARS (Artistic, Realistic, Social) or maybe cold as ICE (Investigative, Conventional, Enterprising). You can see what each category means in the chart (below).

The assessment, also known as the Strong Interest Inventory or Holland Occupational Themes, shows your personality type and can help your define your career choices outside of academia.

To figure out your Holland Code, you can take the Strong Interest Inventory assessment offered by Career Services. It takes about 30 minutes to do online and costs only $20 for UCSB students, which includes a counseling session to interpret your results. For a free assessment, try this test online here.

To get an idea of careers based on a single individual code, check out this list from Career Services.

Holland Codes and their meanings. Image courtesy of Career Services


Information from Workshop on Non-Academic Interviewing

If you've been in graduate school for a while, it’s possible you haven’t had to do an interview in a long time. And if you’re considering a non-academic career, it’s important to know the features and quirks of an industry interview.

On Wednesday, February 4, John Coate of UCSB’s Career Services led a workshop about the art of interviewing for non-academic positions. The workshop, which is part of the ongoing Graduate Student Career Series, covered a wide range of tips for acing industry interviews including how to conduct research on a company, how to prepare for different interview settings, and how to field interview questions on a range of topics.

You can learn more about these topics by viewing the slides from the workshop here.


Three Key Considerations in Getting Hired Outside of Academia

Take a moment and think about a group or organization that you’ve been a part of and cared about deeply. For instance, a project, team, or club. Then imagine that you are put in charge of recruiting and selecting new members to the group (or take yourself back to a time when you did just that). What are the key elements and attributes that you would be looking for?

Chances are, they would touch on three main criteria: potential to be a successful member, genuine interest in the focus of the organization, and ability to fit in with the group. It’s also likely that you’d be able to tell pretty quickly who the good candidates are – in essence, the ones who are prepared and engaged.   

For employers in the hiring process, the emphasis is much the same. Though there have been substantial changes taking place in the working world as of late – reflective largely of advances in technology, shifting cultural norms, and generally accepted protocols – these key areas stay largely unchanged in terms of their importance. Because employers are personally and professionally invested in their work and organization, they bring on people who are enthusiastic about the opportunity, fit valuably into their group, and have what it takes to do the job. It may seem somewhat simple and obvious, but by spending significant time considering these aspects and executing your job search accordingly, you will go a long way towards distinguishing yourself and getting hired. So let’s take a more in-depth look at each of these three key criteria in turn.

Source: Wakefield LibraryAbility to Succeed. It is important to employers that they gain a solid sense of your ability to succeed in the work and bring value to the organization, ideally within a relatively short period of time and with minimal “hand holding.” In hiring students out of graduate programs, they are not always just seeking candidates who have done the specific work before, but also those with education, experience, and personal skills and attributes that are transferable or foundational for the position. For example, consulting firms often prize graduate students for their strong research, analytical, and communication abilities.

To prepare for this aspect, start by doing as much research as you can on the position, employer, and industry. Educate yourself in terms of what the most valued qualifications are, including digging into the job description, studying the employer’s website, reviewing industry links and publications, and ideally talking to people in the field. And keep in mind that with most positions there are hard and soft skills that employers seek – hard skills being those most specific, technical, and intrinsic to the work and soft skills being more people-oriented, such as communication skills and ability to collaborate in teams.

Once you have narrowed down the most significant qualifications, start connecting what you’ve done and who you are with those items. Make a list of the educational, extracurricular, and work-related experiences and accomplishments that are most pertinent to the position you are pursuing, as well as your related hard and soft skills. Then integrate them effectively into your resume/CV and cover letter, and start forming and rehearsing answers to potential questions from employers.

Interview questions such as “Take me through your resume” and “Why do you think you are qualified for this position?” as well as a number of behavioral and case questions, including “Tell me about a time when you coordinated a project from start to finish” and “Give me an example of a problem you solved using quantitative analysis,” are all attempts to gauge your ability to be successful in the work.

A common misperception among graduate students is that they are not prepared to pursue positions outside of academia. The reality is, many employers prize the skills, level of education, high-level experiences, and overall maturity of graduate students. The challenge, though, often lies in students being able to effectively convey their ability to succeed in the position, not to mention their interest in making the transition out of academia. Which brings us to the next key consideration.

Credit: OnInnovationInterest in the Position. This is a more subjective aspect but often no less important. Employers are going to potentially be making a significant investment in you in terms of training, salary, and benefits, so they need to get a sense of your passion and commitment to the work and organization. Especially with graduate students, they need to feel relatively secure that you won’t be out the door once an academic position or other opportunity is offered.

Conveying your interest goes beyond just making statements to the fact. It entails showing them, not just telling them. This starts at the very beginning of the hiring process. For instance, take the time and effort to put together a highly relevant and error-free resume/CV, cover letter, and other documents/correspondence, and show that you did your research and are serious about the opportunity. When you meet prospective employers at job fairs and other events, have an effective 30-second to one-minute “elevator pitch” ready, where you not only offer an overview of how you are prepared to succeed in the work, but also genuinely tell your story in terms of how this specific work and their unique organization fit into your career interests and aspirations.

In the interview you certainly want to convey your enthusiasm throughout. This doesn’t mean turning into a used car salesman or being someone you are not, but rather speaking to what actually excites you about their organization and what you would be doing in relation to what you’ve done and where you’re going. The interesting thing about hearing people talk about work they are truly passionate about is how often times it is almost boring in its detail. Bill Gates and Tiger Woods are examples that come to mind. There is no “sales” in them when they discuss technology and golf. It seems to be an extension of who they are. Not that this extent of focused passion is always easily accessed and available, but it does offer perhaps an ideal model for the job search.

Credit: Oglethorpe UniversityOrganizational “Fit.” The last key aspect for employers in the hiring process is whether you will be a good potential fit for their team. This is also more subjective, but you should focus on issues such as organizational culture, personality traits, attitude, and simply whether they like you.

This is the aspect that is hardest to prepare for, as there are often several intangible factors that are known only to the employer. For example, a candidate may be a perfect fit for a position in terms of what they’ve done, do a great job of interviewing and conveying their abilities and interest, but it turns out the employer already has someone just like them on the team in terms of personality. That is, for instance, on a team full of introverted technicians the team manager may be looking for a more outgoing person who could bring balance to the group and be more willing and able to lead internal and external presentations.

Though challenging, there are steps that you can take to prepare for this aspect. One is to dig for as much information as you can with regard to the culture of the organization and, ideally, the specific unit/team you would potentially be working in. The first part is relatively easy. Websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Google are great places to find cultural insights on organizations, as well as potential leads to connecting with people within or at least working in the industry. Finding out about the smaller team is more challenging, both from the standpoint of finding contacts with inside information as well as running the risk of overstepping boundaries implied in the hiring process.

Another way is to simply accentuate the positive sides of your personality, attitude, and character as much as possible throughout the hiring process. Be professional, thoughtful, and engaging to everyone you meet. Be open to sharing interesting and appropriate aspects of your life, including outside interests, hobbies, and pursuits. Display an eagerness to learn and grow and a willingness to be flexible and take on new challenges. Speak in a positive way about previous supervisors and experiences. And follow up with correspondence thanking everyone you interacted with and reiterating your interest in the position and organization.

In preparing for getting hired outside of academia, start by delving into these three main aspects, formulating a targeted game plan, and going to work. Chances are, you’ll be well ahead of the majority of other candidates.

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

John Coate is the Assistant Director and Coordinator of Graduate Student Services for UCSB's Career Services. He periodically writes post of career and professional development issues for The GradPost.



Related GradPost articles

UCSB Career Services' New Assistant Director, John Coate, Will Focus on Graduate Student Services

UCSB Career Services Presents Career Series for Graduate Students

What Can UCSB Career Services Do for You?



Transferable Skills: Making Your PhD Work for You

Credit: Kate at Flickr.comMost current and recent PhDs regularly hear about (or are lectured about) the abysmal state of the academic job market. Whether in science or the humanities, the statistics are indeed grim. This has led to an influx of resources – such as the Versatile PhD website and nonacademic job search guides – for those leaving academia to seek jobs in civil service or industry (as well as the advent of terms like post-ac and alt-ac).

Recent GradPost articles have offered advice on how to build your nonacademic profile and how to navigate the non-academic labor market. Below are other helpful resources from the Naturejobs blog, a dedicated science jobs board hosted by the journal Nature.

How to become a science adviser for films and TV shows. This fascinating podcast interviews several scientists who have successfully marketed their skills to Hollywood producers and directors to become consultants on science-driven shows such as Breaking Bad, The Big Bang Theory, and Bones. Find out more about entertaining science here.

Transferable skills and storytelling. Developing and identifying transferable skills is one thing. Being able to communicate those skills and demonstrate how you've used them is another. This article explains how to use storytelling as a strategy to portray your transferable skills in job interviews.

How to look your best on paper (part 1 and part 2). Part 1 gives advice on how to market your academically developed skills in business-ready ways for career paths such as project management, research and development, and technical sales. Part 2 lays out the key differences between a CV and a resume, and how and when to use each.

For individualized help on navigating the job market (whether inside or outside academia), schedule an appointment with UCSB's Career Services or professional development peer advisor Shawn Warner-Garcia.


Building Your Nonacademic Profile: Strengths and Weaknesses You May Not Know You Already Have

John W. Tomac for The ChronicleMany graduate students know which types of academic skills they excel at and which are more challenging for them. But how does an academically cultivated skill set translate to the world outside of academia? With recent trends in alt-ac and post-ac careers, it is important for graduate students to learn how to make themselves marketable to broad audiences. In their article "Using Your Last Two (or More) Years Wisely" for The Chronicle, professional development experts Julie Miller Vick and Jennifer Furlong discuss how to build your nonacademic profile while finishing up grad school.

In particular, the authors point out that doctoral students already have many skills that readily translate to the outside world, such as:

  1. Applying for external grants.
  2. Learning to teach and present information clearly.
  3. Being able to synthesize complex information quickly.
  4. Developing a high level of comfort with (big) data.
  5. Building strong writing and/or technical skills.

However, they also note that there are some things that many grad students don't do well or don't do a very good job of communicating that they do well, such as:

  1. Working as part of a team (particularly one made up of people with different training and perspectives).
  2. Supervising people.
  3. Overseeing complex projects.
  4. Managing a budget.

For tips on how to play up strengths and shore up weaknesses in preparing for a wide range of career opportunities, read the full article here.


Navigating Your Non-Academic Career Path: Tips from Dave Forman's Talk 

Credit: HCI.orgIf you're thinking of a career outside of academia, then these tips from Dave Forman, UCSB undergrad and grad school alum and Chief Learning Officer of the Human Capital Institute, can set you on the right path to successfully navigate your non-academic career search.

Transferable Skills

Academics all have skills that are easily transferable to the business world, such as

  • Understanding and using research and statistics
  • Writing (knowing how to write clearly, simply, to the point, with the reader in mind)
  • Presenting
  • Synthesizing a variety of views
  • Being flexible (in this world, job descriptions change all the time; so if you’re flexible and resilient, you will succeed)

Opportunities and Networks

Students should use their work and school experiences to build their opportunities and expand their networks. Specifically,

  • Get a foot in the door. Do contract work or internships. Each small job can lead to new experiences, skills, contacts, and new jobs.
  • Don't be timid. Try different jobs in different places. Risks lead to opportunities.
  • Don’t stop working. Continue to build your brand and network all the time. Build your brand through your writing, speaking, and work.
  • Find a mentor.

The Recruiting Process

Recruiters are always busy and have hundreds of applications for a few positions. Many people never make it to a phone interview, let alone an in-person interview.

To get to the top of a recruiter's list, you should

  • Get a referral from someone. Companies prefer referrals. Remember, referrals don't have to be from close friends or family. They can be from a colleague, or a colleague of a colleague. 
  • Apply early, even before jobs are advertised if possible.
  • Use LinkedIn and keep your profile up-to-date, as recruiters will first look at this page to find out about you.
  • Use Glassdoor to research the company and the industry you are interested working in. This information will help when crafting your message.

Crafting Your Message

Finally, hiring managers don’t want to hire people because the process takes time and they will have to train the new person. They want a person to solve their business problems yesterday, so craft your message to solve a company's problems, such as

  • Competitive Threats
  • Slow Revenue Growth
  • Merger or Acquisitions
  • Aging Workforce
  • Yearly Strategic Initiatives

Hiring managers also want people with skills. Let them know you have desired capabilities, such as

  • Learning Agility
  • Resilience and Flexibility
  • Curiosity
  • Passion
  • Ownership and Accountability
  • Team Collaboration

Getting a Job is a Full-Time Job

Finally, the skills to get a job are not the same as doing the job. Always remember that:

  • Getting a job is not a part-time endeavor. Approach it casually and you will fail. Take it seriously and you will succeed.
  • Research and preparation are essential. Used LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
  • Expand and leverage your connections from acquaintances, colleagues, family, and former jobs. With the right referral you might not even have to interview for a job.
  • Don’t wait in line. Uncover jobs before they are posted.