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Core Competencies


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Learn to:

  • explain expectations of your intended profession and field, including communication norms and ethical concerns
  • professionally communicate via email and presentations
  • dining etiquette for networking events and sit-down interview dinners
  • manage conflict in a professional setting
  • initiate and maintain professional relationships
  • present your authentic self

Explore Our Programming Focused on Professionalism:

Career Exploration: Informational Interviewing

Informational interviews are a great way to learn about a new career field. Informational interviews are not meant to ask for a job, but to build your network as you explore careers and begin to interview in a career of interest.

Interested in doing a postdoc or going on the faculty search? These types of information gathering meetings are also great for learning about different types of academic institutions and a potential advisor’s mentoring style.

Attend this interactive session to:

  • Learn about the cadence of an informational interview
  • Discover how to use informational interviews to build your network
  • Discuss common informational interview questions
  • Identify who is appropriate to contact for informational interviews
  • Practice using LinkedIn to find professionals in your field of interest

Identifying Your Transferable Skills

How does your graduate education translate into skills that are valued by an employer beyond academia? As a graduate student or postdoctoral scholar, you have honed your ability to find information, communicate your research with academic and lay audiences, manage projects, teach complex ideas, mentor undergraduate students, and work with diverse individuals. These are examples of transferable skills that you can communicate in your application materials or during an interview.

Attend this session to:

  • Identify your transferable skills
  • Communicate the value of these capacities in application materials and interviews
  • Set a strategy for developing the skills to advance your career
  • Learn about resources online and on-campus to support your skill development

Tailoring Your Resumés and Cover Letters

You hear that tailoring a resume to the job is critical. Did you know this step begins with deciphering the job ad? Use key words from the job description to show the hiring manager you have the capabilities and you’re the right candidate for the job.

Attend this session to:

  • Decode job descriptions, a critical first step
  • Translate experiences (academic, co-curricular, and work-related) in ways that will communicate your skills in the job search application process
  • Craft targeted resumes and cover letters that respond to particular job applications
  • Practice telling your personal story through documents and social media

Interviewing and Acing Common Questions

The interview is a chance to share your professional experience, skills, and why you’d be a good fit for the organization. Interviewing is more than answering the questions well, and includes showing you’d be a good team member, looking your best, and following up with the employer.

Attend this interactive session to:

  • Identify stages of the interview and how to navigate each stage
  • Prepare for different interview formats – phone, Skype or in-person
  • Answer the common questions such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Why are you leaving academia?”
  • Practice telling your personal and professional stories using the STAR technique

Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers

Evaluating compensation packages and determining whether and how to negotiate can be a stressful part of the job search process. In this session, we will discuss what you should look for in a compensation package and how to negotiate with confidence.

Attend this session to:

  • Discuss the different aspects of a job offer, including salary, benefits, and more
  • Navigate the job offer and negotiation process with grace and integrity
  • Practice negotiation and communication strategies

Establishing Effective Mentoring Relationships

Mentors can contribute in crucial ways to the success of your academic and career progress, so it’s important to be thoughtful about selecting a mentoring team and managing those relationships.

Attend this session to:

  • Understand the importance of assembling a diverse mentoring team
  • Discuss strategies to get the support you need from your mentors
  • Practice communication skills to navigate through difficult conversations

Social Media Profiles

Learn to use different online platformsto make connections and look for a job – LinkedIn, Twitter, Research Gate, your personal webpage, blog, Github, Snapchat. What platform might you use to advance your research career and utilize in your job search?

Attend this session to:

  • Identify your goal in using social media
  • Understand the benefits of using social media for networking
  • Set up your social media profile to advance your career goals
  • Practice using social media to search for jobs

Prepping for Career Fairs

Don’t let the thought of the Career Fair or SLAM freak you out! Get a few tips on how to work a career fair or SLAM, from researching employers ahead of time to presenting yourself to an employer. This program is presented by the WU Career Center.

    Dining Do's and Dont's

    What are protocols for a work lunch versus dinner? Should you order certain foods if you're on an interview?

    Attend this session to:

    • Describe appropriate behaviors for dining in professional settings
    • Practice networking while handling food

      Networking at a Conference

      Make the most of your academic conference. Conferences are a great place to share your research and make connections with colleagues in your field. Did you know it’s also a great place to find a potential postdoc adviser or meet potential industry employers?

      Attend this session to:

      • Define your career goals in advance of the conference
      • Outline an effective email to request a meeting with a potential adviser
      • Navigate the conference effectively as an introvert
      • Set strategies to mingle, make eye contact, and leave conversations gracefully
      • Learn etiquette for networking with food
      • Practice the business card exchange



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