There are steps you can take for career outcomes

Patrick S. Osmer — January 30, 2013

Pat Osmer

It’s easy to get caught up in all the important activities involved in pursuing a graduate degree--courses, research, exams, publications, and presentations. You might find yourself focusing on these activities rather than your larger goal: the career (or careers) that will be the outcome of your graduate study.

Your graduate activities should support that larger goal, not be ends in and of themselves.

While it's not possible to plan all aspects of your future career with certainty, it is possible for you to be deliberate in exploring and preparing for this next step.

Many of you will pursue faculty careers. Others will pursue research careers; still others will follow the professional career paths indicated by their graduate training. Many of you will forge new career pathways by applying your skills and interests to careers outside of the academy.

It’s never too early to start talking with your advisor and other mentors about your interests, career goals,  and what you need to do to achieve them. There are many resources available to you in your graduate programs, in the Graduate School, and at Ohio State to help you figure out what you need to do and when.

We’ve created a short summary of the resources available to you at Ohio State. I encourage you to review it and start developing a plan. Meet with your advisor to talk about faculty and research careers. Make an appointment with a consultant in Career Connection to explore your interests and options. Join the confidential, on-line community available to you through the Versatile Ph.D.  where the focus is on alternative careers, or careers outside of the academy.

I am personally committed to making sure that employers know about the tremendous value that graduate degree holders bring to any job and any employment sector, and not just academia. This is part of work that I’ve been involved in nationally and internationally over the past year and a half. I encourage you to read the reports on career pathways for graduate students that I’ve been part of.

On a more immediate basis, I want you to know that the Graduate School is here to help steer you toward helpful resources and to developing a plan for your own career pathways. If you’re not sure where to start, give us a call.

Patrick S. Osmer is vice provost of graduate studies and dean of the Graduate School at Ohio State. He is also a recent past chair of the board of directors for the Council of Graduate Schools. Osmer was chair of the Ohio State astronomy department from 1993-2006.

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