Graduated students often wonder what is next after their graduate degree. The truth of the matter, however, is that most of them are looking for a job. If this is the case, employers need to know that you have a full understanding of what your future holds and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to reach it. Your graduate degree will be on your resume as evidence that you pursued a graduate program in an accredited university and are ready to begin your career.
Employers will start by asking you questions about your motivation for pursuing a graduate degree. It is important to be forthcoming and honestly answer these questions. You may wish to emphasize what you learned from your undergraduate program, your connections to specific industry-related groups or your certification with an appropriate trade school. In general, however, it is wise to emphasize the professional benefits of your educational background and your belief that a graduate program was the right choice for you.
Now that you are fully committed to pursuing a graduate degree, you need to decide what type of program is right for you. Do you want to be part of a graduate-level business school? An arts program? A medical program? There are graduate schools that specialize in any number of academic areas. If what interests you are being involved in an industry-related curriculum, however, it may be helpful to look into programs offered by the school of your choice.
Many employers base their decisions about hiring on a candidate’s undergraduate work experience. For this reason, it is critical that you list all of your graduate program activities on your application. Even if you attended classes only in the summers, you may have taken many industry-related classes during your years at college. List every class you took, even the ones you did not appear in. Also, list any specializations you pursued.
If you have a master’s degree, many employers are impressed with a bachelor’s degree in the same field. However, employers are also aware that it takes a good portion of a student’s life to earn this degree. For this reason, they are more likely to hire candidates with a higher level of education, particularly if the graduate program is a graduate school. These employers will want to hear directly from you regarding your full educational history, not just the years you spent in school.
In addition to speaking to your prospective employer, you should also take the time to research each graduate program you are interested in. This can take some research on your part, but it is important. Think about what your skills and interests are as well as what employers look for in a graduate job. Once you know where you want to work, do some research on graduate programs that match what you are looking for. Take into account the level of education you obtained and what you learned during your undergraduate studies.
It may also be helpful to talk to past students of the graduate program you are considering. Talk to people who have been involved in the program for a long time. You can learn about what the school has to offer, what the professors are like and even get a feel for the work environment. Previous students can give you an idea of what you can expect when you enter the graduate program and what aspects of the school make you happy. If a school is doing something well, you might see a change once you start attending classes.
Graduate schools are not all about academics. You may find that there are many other aspects of the graduate program that appeal to you. For example, did you enjoy the recreational activities? Did the coursework help you connect with people in a nonacademic setting? It may be that you are drawn to the Graduate Program because it fits with your personality better than another school would.