Looking Forward to Career Pathways Week

By Victoria Romano |

[Image Description: Beavis from Beavis and Butthead saying, “That kinda sounds like a job.”]

Caption: Find a career that doesn’t feel like a job!

We won’t sugarcoat it: the academic job market can be rough! In recent years, however, the relative scarcity of academic jobs has opened up many other, equally edifying job prospects for us PhDs. This quarter’s Career Pathways Week will be themed “Beyond Academia,” and will explore the many burgeoning “alt-ac” career opportunities available to us as we become experts in our respective fields. As such, we have invited UCR alums who are crushing it in industry, non-profit, and government positions in the hopes that they might open us up to a new world of possibilities.

In addition to two panels featuring UCR STEM and CHASS alums, respectively, we have also partnered with the UCR Graduate Writing Center and the UCR Career Center to bring you workshops aimed at creating a winning resume, pitching your ideas and skills in various genres, and networking tactics, both online and virtual. It will hit on all of the big professional dilemmas we all face when transitioning out of academia: LinkedIn etiquette, how to elevator pitch our lofty academic projects, how to concentrate our all-encompassing academic CV into a puny resume, as well as how to salvage the hard and soft skills we’re developing as Ph.D. students and turn them into professional assets outside of a research milieu. 

[Image Description: Don Corleone from The Godfather saying, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”]

Caption: You, too, can develop an elevator pitch this airtight.

Also, we at GradSuccess are excited to welcome Professor Emeritus Dr. Susan Hackwood–Senior Policy Fellow with the School of Public Policy, Former Director of the California Council on Science and Technology, Current Director of the UCR Science to Policy Program (of which I am an alum!), and electrical engineer extraordinaire. Dr. Hackwood will deliver our keynote, field student questions about working in policy and science communication, and is excited to promote an upcoming National Science Policy Symposium meeting that she is organizing right here at UCR! So cool.

Instead of our regularly scheduled Coffee Social, we will host a coffee and mocktail event on Wednesday, February 14th (Valentine’s Day–bring your +1!). As it’s immediately following our Networking and Elevator Pitch workshop, it will be an excellent chance to try out some of those new techniques in a low-stakes environment…and maybe make new connections along the way. It will be out on the XCITE Patio connected to Rivera Library, so come for the professional training and stay for the free snacks and drinks.

I, for one, am beyond ready to think expansively about my professional future. As an arts major, my professional network outside of graduate school comprises a majority of non-academics, all of whom have adventurous jobs where they meet celebrities, produce amazing projects, and travel often. With a degree in hand, who knows what I’ll be capable of and what new resources will be available to me as a soon-to-be professional? And how wonderful it is that UCR prepares us graduate students for every possible outcome. Academia need not be an ultimatum but rather a place to hone our craft and become our best selves, poised to succeed in whatever career path we choose.