One of the first things I ask the students in my Professional Development Course is this, “When should you start planning your career?” After a few moments of silence, various responses start to crop up. Trust me. I have heard the gamut from, “I will think about career planning before I defend my thesis/dissertation,” all the way to, “I have been planning my career since I was five.” Admirable (or not) as that might be, most graduate students have given very little thought to career planning. While some may have thought about career related issues, a deliberate plan has not been formulated to achieve those career goals. Many of us change our minds when it comes to careers. I should know. I used to be an engineer, but am now an Atmospheric Scientist! However, when we get to graduate school, it is important to know where we would like to be after we graduate so we can formulate a plan of action while in graduate school — and do it while smiling!
“Students are usually nervous about giving seminars. You should put yourself in situations that require you to communicate.”