Don't Miss UCalgary's CareerSkills Toolkit for Graduate Students

124 pages of rock-solid advice and examples to ensure you're working toward the career of your dreams, no matter your field of study.

Grad Students: Don't Miss UCalgary's CareerSkills Toolkit for Graduate Students

Your career development is an important part of graduate studies, so the University of Calgary's Faculty of Graduate Studies has developed a 124-page interactive PDF toolkit to help you find your way to your dream career.

We can't dive into every aspect of the toolkit here — so be sure to try the document out for yourself (PDF) — but we can take a quick look at the four main themes that go into a successful career search. Even if you're not yet in grad school, or you're still working through your program, you'll find plenty of good advice in the toolkit.

Chapter 1: Reflect

Reflecting is all about self-inventory. Do an honest, sober assessment of yourself: strengths, weaknesses, skills, and interests. The more you can let your natural aptitudes guide your job search, the happier you're likely to be in your career overall.

You'll also want to think about your transferable skills (spoiler: grad students have LOTS of transferable skills!) as well as your goals: where do you want to be in a few years? How will you get there? What can you do now to get things moving in the right direction?

Chapter 1, Reflecting, starts on page 15 of the CareerSkills toolkit PDF.

Chapter 2: Explore

Exploration is about networking and interviewing — not necessarily for jobs, but to learn more about the industries and companies that interest you. You'll use social media and other resources to connect with peers and potential colleagues to deepen your understanding of your career path. Hop on LinkedIn and start gathering names and data.

You may want to create a digital portfolio at this stage, too — what UCalgary calls an ePortfolio — to show off your knowledge and work experience to potential employers.

Chapter 2, Exploring, starts on page 35 of the CareerSkills toolkit PDF.

Chapter 3: Prepare

Preparing is where the rubber meets the road: setting up your resumé or CV, getting reference letters, and writing a dynamic cover letter full of action verbs.

If you're looking for a job in academia, you'll want a curriculum vitae (a CV), while if you're looking for a position outside academia, a regular old resumé is just fine. (Don't worry; the CareerSkills toolkit walks you through the differences.)

Chapter 3, Preparing, starts on page 72 of the CareerSkills toolkit PDF.

Chapter 4: Act

Acting is about taking what you've learned, and what you've prepared, and bringing it all into the real world. You'll start your job search, sharpen your skills for interviews, and prep your responses to commonly-asked questions.

You'll also learn about following up on an interview, and even get advice on evaluating and negotiating a job offer so you get the compensation you're due.

Chapter 4, Action, starts on page 98 of the CareerSkills toolkit PDF.

An interactive PDF can't cover absolutely everything you'll need to know (even in 124 pages!) but the CareerSkills toolkit (PDF) will give you a comprehensive overview designed to help you find your dream career.

Remember, once you're in a role, the learning doesn't stop! Employers adore employees who engage in life-long learning, so keep your mind open, be curious, and always be ready to learn.

Questions or comments for the UCalgary grad team on the CareerSkills toolkit? Reach out any time via email to and get in touch!

Best of luck in your job search!

Download the UCalgary CareerSkills toolkit (PDF)

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