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Professional Development

June 2021

While personal mental health and well-being is extremely important, balance also includes professional development and growth. Learning to navigate the professional environment can be difficult, but we are here to help. Check out the content below for more information.

In this month’s module, we will be exploring topics related to professional development during graduate studies.


We hope that you continue engaging with this content beyond the end of the module.

City Business Meeting


June 6 - June 12, 2021

In academia, it's not only about what you know, but also who you know. Making connections with colleagues within and outside your institution, at all academic levels, and across disciplines is important for growth as a graduate student and young professional.

How to network

Where to network

Why to network

  • Connect with other academics or professionals in your field (and outside your field!)

  • Join local or national organizations in your field

  • Identify a sponsor to promote your work and potential

  • Don't be afraid to reach out to others – the worst they can say is no!

  • Email: Never underestimate the power of a simple email! It can be. hard to press send, but it's often worth it.

  • Social media: Check out sites like LinkedIn for professional content and Twitter for more academic content

  • Conferences and showcases: Gatherings your field are a great place to meet others and to promote your work

  • Often helps with future job prospects

  • Improves name recognition

  • Allows you to connect with other like-minded individuals

  •  May spark collaborations or inspiration

  • Fun to meet new people with different perspectives!

What are informational

  • Informational interviews occur when a person who is interested in a position, field, or career discusses this with someone already in that position, field, or career

  • Informal way to obtain information

  • NOT a job interview, but instead an opportunity to learn

Example informational
interview questions

  • Can you tell me a bit about your career path and what led you to the role you're in today?

  • What were some of your early roles in the field?

  • What does a work day look like for you? 

  • What are some big projects you’re working on now or that you’ve finished up in the last few months?

  • Do you think there’s a personality type that’s not well-suited for this kind of career?

  • What are some of the biggest challenges you face day-to-day?

Job Interview



June 13 - 19, 2021

Job interviews can be scary. Whether you are seeking a career within academia or seeking a  job in industry, some general advice on how to prepare for a job interview can go a long way.

Before the interview

  • Do as much research as you can 

  • Seek advice within your network from other peoples experiences

  • Identify potential questions you could be asked, and try to give your answer to them

  • Reflect on what is unique about you, and how your skills add value for the company or what it will change for the better

  • Rehearse and practice orally your answers to a friend, family member or colleague or video record yourself and rewatch it 

  • Make a list of references 

  • Prepare questions for your interviewer e.g. day-to-day responsibilities, current challenges the company face

  • It is normal to get anxious up to an interview - it can be helpful to meditate (visualizations or breathing exercises), listen to music or go for a walk to help you focus your mind and calm down before going into the interview

During and after the interview

  • Give examples from previous work, e.g. how you previously have dealt with a similar problems 

  • Respond truthfully to questions 

  • After your interview, it is appropriate to ask either your interviewer, hiring manager about what you should expect next

  • Treat the interviewer with respect

  • Consider your body language as this can impact the impression of your interviewer 

Negotiating pay and benefits

  • Be aware of the differences in benefits between public employment and private employment (i.e. pension, vacation, working hours, sabbatical leave) - the same rules might not apply.

  • Know your value – e.g. from stats of salary in similar job positions

  • Teaching experience - and what classes you could teach 

  • How would you plan a course in ___? What texts would you use? What topics would you cover?

  • How would you evaluate student learning?

  • How do you bring diversity into your day-today teaching?

  • Describe your current research. Will you be continuing in this research track? Describe your future research plans.

  • How would you involve graduate/undergraduate students in your research?

  • What is the cutting edge in your field and how does your work extend it?

  • Research projects 

  • Long term plan

  • How does your academic competences add value for the company?

  • What positive changes can it add (be specific with examples)?

Tips for academia

Tips for private sector

Image by Sigmund


CVs and Resumes

June 20 - 26, 2021

Having a curated list of the accomplishments, accolades, and skills we’ve acquired as students is an essential for both academic and non-academic purposes. This can come in the form of a CV or resume -- but what's the difference?

What is a CV?
  • Lengthy and in-depth coverage of accomplishments and experiences

  • May include publications, presentations, honors and awards, funding, various experiences (e.g., research, teaching, clinical), professional contributions, science communication efforts, DEI initiatives, and other academic accolades

  • Often used for academic job applications and funding/award applications

What is a resume?
  • Brief coverage of accomplishments and experiences condensed into one or two pages

  • May highlight a selection of the most relevant publications, funding, honors, and other experiences

  • Often used for business/industry jobs or internship applications, and may be beneficial for networking

See this website for additional information on CVs and resumes, writing tips, US vs international CVs, and more!

Should I include undergraduate experiences on my CV?

It’s up to you! If there are relevant undergraduate experiences that showcase your skills, productivity, or knowledge, that can be a great addition to your CV, particularly if you are early in your graduate career. If you find that your undergraduate experiences are no longer relevant to your professional identity or make your CV feel clunky, then it may be time to take these off. The bottom line is that you should include on your CV whatever you feel will demonstrate your abilities and academic potential, whether undergraduate, graduate, or outside experiences.

Surgical Mask


Impact of COVID-19 on Job Search
June 27 - July 3, 2021

There are many ways the pandemic has negatively impacted our lives. Among these include how COVID-19 has impacted job loss and search especially for recent graduates or those looking to graduate soon. While vaccine roll-up in some regions has been given has a bit of hope that the end of the pandemic may be near, recent graduates are still uncertain about job prospects. If you are finding yourself in this boat, we have curated a few resources below to help your job hunt.

​As you job search during this difficult time, remember that you probably already have people in your circle who are available to support you. Reach out to your network, past mentors, and those you’ve connected with at past conferences. LinkedIn professional is a great resource to tab into a network of supportive people.

Consider doing an internship to learn or add to your skillset. This list contains internship opportunities for summer 2021 and 2022. Or a micro internship such as those housed here 

Tap into job opportunities available to you through the federal, state, or local government 

Master your virtual interview using this article from indeed 

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