Soul-searching is just the beginning of a job search and career transition plan. In a previous post, you heard from Janet*, an Anthropology PhD student from Chicago who has been trying to identify the right nonacademic career for her. (*pseudonym to maintain client privacy) She showed us that soul-searching is a key part of narrowing your nonacademic job choices. But what else did she do to be effective in her career transition and job search process?
She kept an open mind. She’s invested a lot of time and energy into a grad training and academic career. However, nearly two years before completing her degree she had the feeling that she wanted to work outside of academia. Though a little freaked out by this new development, she didn’t let fear of the unknown or of trying a new path stop her from following her instinct. She fought passed over-analysis and sought out quality information.
She got out of her office and from behind the Google search engine. She signed up for and completed an externship. Unlike internships, externships can be as short as one day or one week. They are very short-term experiences where you shadow a professional or team, get inside a company of interest, and perhaps complete small job-related tasks. If you are a current student, your campus career services office may have an externship program.
She didn’t try to go it alone. She sought out a job search group and a mentor. By participating in Options for Success, she met other graduate students and recent PhDs from universities across the country who were also interested in nonacademic careers. She found camaraderie among her peers and a trusted, knowledgeable career coach (yup – yours truly!)