information for supporting graduate student career choices

discover actions you can take in a time of transitioning markets

supporting diverse careers for PhDs means

  • Maintaining the same level of commitment to all of your advisees, regardless of their expressed career interests.
  • Asking your advisees about their career goals early, and encouraging them to set milestones to achieve their goals.
  • Encouraging your advisees to talk to other mentors and career advisors on campus about their career interests and goals.


what graduate students can do

  • Have conversations with career advisors and alumni in diverse career fields.
  • Create one to three-year plans with tangible milestones for achieving career goals, even if these goals only include tenure-track jobs. [Imagine PhD has a “My Plan” tool that allows you to map degree completion and career/skill development goals together. For non-academic careers, these goals might include career exploration, conducting informational interviews, or learning new skills like coding or grant writing.]      visit imagine phd
  • Talk to mentors who have the "I Support Diverse Careers" placard, and speak with your advisors (and your colleagues) about diverse careers for PhDs!
  • Talk about what you value in your professional life. [Consider completing Imagine PhD’s "Values Assessment", so that you can understand what is most important to you both professionally and academically.]

Navigating Diverse Careers

BELIEF: Professors and advisors don’t have any role to play in helping students find careers outside of the academy.

truth: Graduate students may feel a stigma attached to seeking non-academic jobs, so advisor support can play a huge role in how early students seek resources, and how they feel about their choices.

BELIEF: Encouraging students to look into non-faculty careers on top of all the things they need to do for their degree will overwhelm them.

truth: Students are already anxious about jobs, and not knowing how to prepare is often more stressful than making tangible, small steps toward a future profession.

BELIEF: If professors are not outwardly objecting to alternative careers, students will know that they support them.

truth: Students are concerned that if they bring up diverse careers with their advisors, their work will not be taken as seriously.

BELIEF: The purpose of graduate school is to create more professors, and if there are not enough professor positions, there is no reason for students to get the degree.

truth: Graduate education teaches students to think critically and analytically, evaluate sources, identify gaps in knowledge, conduct new research, and clearly communicate complex ideas to diverse audiences. We need these skills in all sectors of the economy, and students often find that their values and skills align more neatly with jobs outside of the academy.

career exploration resources at your fingertips

these resources provide additional support when navigating careers



Students can watch video lessons on how to ace an interview, and record mock-interview videos with virtual interviewers who can ask either general or industry-specific questions.



Students can meet with a career advisor to discuss careers, set goals, and plan next steps.



An online platform that allows PhD-level students and professionals to explore future career options. InterSECT engages with an individuals interests and extrapolates these interests to positions in actual professional tasks in industry, academia, and government sectors.

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