Over the next few months, I am transitioning from a graduate student to employee! Eeks! I am full of emotion – stressed, nervous, excited, pumped, motivated, scared, ready etc…. I can’t believe it is time for me to leave the role of ‘student’. I have been in an academic setting for so long, that I can’t really imagine the endless possibilities of the ‘outside world’; gosh I am SO READY. The end of a graduate degree is overwhelming, you are trying desperately to finish your thesis and prepare adequately for your oral defense that you easily lose track of time and space. When the defense is over and your final edits to your thesis are into the graduate school you emerge from your bubble and you slowly remember how to function again. Throughout your graduate degree you are likely in classes, a research assistant and potentially holding a few other jobs. For myself I was lucky enough to be a research assistant, a teaching assistant and be doing an internship. At times it was difficult to manage but I persevered. Now ON TOP of ALL those commitments I had this constant thought of – what are you going to do after graduate school, and more specifically what job are you going to do. This was also a very common question that I received following my thesis defense which was not entirely helpful (so friends and family please don’t ask graduate students this- just let them tell you and if they don’t tell you, assume that means they are working on the whole job thing!)


So that brings me to the ‘now’. Navigating the job market has been tough, we are not taught in school how to approach this. Therefore the process requires you to seek out resources at the schools you are at, and or seek out mentors to help guide you. I like to be efficient and systematic about anything that I do, therefore I made a plan. I took a workshop offered at Duke that talked about how to network and I received the “Two hour job search” book. Networking turns out to be SUCH a key in landing a job. Did you know that only 1 out of 12 hires at a company are without a referral?!!!! HOLY! When I first hear this stat I got nervous, as I really don’t know that many people in the field of Global Health outside of the academic setting – which is where I am looking for employment. So, to jump start my networking I signed up for Lunch Club- it is a FREE online networking platform. On lunch club I met really cool people and even some that I have been able to reconnect with while applying for different jobs. Currently, I am searching high and low for global health positions, prioritizing companies that align with my morals, and my ambitions as a person.


Tips and tricks I’ve learned so far:

  1. Track your applications – I use an excel spreadsheet
  2. Just keep applying – but remember to be selective… meaning that you shouldn’t apply to every opening at a company, because that shows that you don’t have a specific interest and could come off poorly
  3. Make sure you have an updated resume and a cover letter that you can easily edit per job application
  4. Reach out to the connections that you have – it might feel awkward, but it will be well worth it – remember 1 vs 12
  5. Enjoy the process because eventually you will get a job
  6. Don’t get to attached to each job posting you apply to because at the end of the day you will never know exactly what the hiring managers are looking for