One Grad Student’s Experiences at Last Year’s Conference

Nicholas Hrynyk, one of the attendees at the 2015 conference, wrote this lovely testimonial of his experience. Read more about Nick here. Thank you! And thanks for Dominique Marshall from Carleton University’s history department for sending this our way.

Beyond the Professoriate was extremely informative on the opportunities available to Ph.D.s outside of academia. I felt the most beneficial aspect of the conference in this regard was that it was focused around communicating one’s skills and abilities to those who might not understand the value of a Ph.D. Some of the most helpful discussions were about what skills a Ph.D. holds (set deadlines, meet deadlines, self-starter, attentive to detail, manage a complex project, and so on) and translating these abilities to a wider audience. One of the key points stressed, and which I felt was extremely invaluable, was that Ph.D.s must constantly remind people that though our research is independent,  we answer to supervisors, committees, and other faculty members during research and coursework. This makes our time in a Ph.D. a time of collaboration—an essential skill in the workplace these days. In addition, I found grant writing is a perfect example of how we market our research to funding agencies/bodies in order to receive support. This is not much different than informing an employer that you are capable of independent marketing and you know how to position/sell a project to prospective clients, customers, and businesses. 
 
The second weekend primarily emphasized positioning yourself as an effective employee and networking in the field you want to work in. I felt that this session was extremely helpful in demonstrating the value of social media and online networking tools to better inform employers of both your existence and your usefulness to their business. There was discussion of the necessity to create a resume that is distinct from a C.V. The tips offered how to better structure your resume to suit employers’ needs and wants while including only relevant information (cut publications at times or eliminate teaching experience). This process is much different than the C.V. which is an accumulation of past accomplishments and successes, and further emphasizes why we need more training on how to articulate and convey our skills, ideas, and abilities to a wider audience in a much more concise way. 
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