Alternative-academic & post-academic career development

student using tablet in library

Plan and prepare for your post-academic life

How do you define yourself and what you do? The Centre for Career Action can help you:
  • Think more broadly about your career options
  • Identify and describe your skills, roles, and responsibilities in non-technical language
  • Think critically about whether the academic career path is right for you
  • Identify the multiple career paths (both within and outside higher education) that align with your skills, interests, and strengths
  • Find jobs, create an application package, practice your interview skills, and negotiate a job offer

Watch our animation about Robin, a Kinesiology grad student who wants to work in a non-academic context:


Alternative-academic and post-academic career Q&A

When should I start thinking about and preparing for my post-academic career?

Right away! Whether you're in a one-year master's program or a 5-year (or longer) PhD program, you can and should start planning right away. Think of your graduate school experience as a contract job, one that will end. Don't you want to plan for what comes next? Meeting with a career advisor in the early stages of your degree will help ensure you use your time at Waterloo wisely, and it will get you planning your next steps. The job market outside academia is very competitive. Start planning now so you're well prepared to enter the job market.

Where should I start if I'm new to graduate school?

  •  Book an appointment with a  Grad Career Advisor for a Career Exploration  appointment
  •  Attend a workshop designed just for grad students: Parallel Career Planning, and Translating Academic Experience to Industry are good introductory workshops to start.
  • Attend Mitacs workshops at the Centre for Career Action to begin developing your professional skills.

I am a PhD student/post-doc. I've only ever considered an academic career path. What can you do for me?

Our mission is to support you in achieving your goals while increasing your awarness of the wide range of exciting careers for which your PhD prepares you. In addition to our academic career workshops, advising appointments, and resources, we recommend you book a career exploration appointment and that you attend career planning workshops. After all, even if you do end up in an academic career, you ought to be prepared for periods of non-academic employment. That's why The Centre for Career Action promotes parallel career planning. 

What are my career options? 

Your training and education has prepared you well for several different kinds of careers. It's not hard to find examples of former grad students and post-docs working successfully in careers we bet you've never considered! Grad students often consider only those careers that require their specific training and skills. Our grad career advisors can help you how to transfer your skills and training to new, exciting contexts that you'll be happy working in. 

 I want to take my next step. What do I do?