Tips to find time for career development in graduate school

Graduate students can reap enormous benefits from engaging continuously in career development during the course of their academic journey. If you are a graduate student, attend career-related events, network strategically, and engage in experiential learning. 

All these undertakings however require some purposeful investment of time. Between balancing coursework, research, teaching, and other commitments graduate students are often very busy. It can be challenging to find time for career development while staying on top of all of the other responsibilities. 

Here are a few tips to navigate graduate school effectively while finding the time for career development: 

  • Break large projects into smaller pieces – Large tasks like writing a research paper can seem overwhelming. Breaking them down into smaller parts like doing literature review, creating an outline for the paper, writing the introduction section, and so on can make them more approachable. Similarly, the thought of finding a fulfilling position after graduation can be daunting. Zoom in on the steps to finding a career, for example, research career options, look at job posts, conduct informational interviews etc. 
  • Create a schedule – A schedule is a simple yet powerful way of managing your time. Map out various commitments by outlining them in a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. Keep track of your schedule with a digital calendar or a planner. You can also utilize any schedule management software of your choice like Jira or Monday. Incorporating your career development tasks into your schedule can help with finding the time for them.     
  • Prioritize your tasks with to-do lists – After mapping out your tasks and goals on a schedule, identify your goals. You can then create a to-do list based on these goals. Make sure to order your action items based on priority. Even though your career development might not seem like the most pressing commitment in the short-term, keep it in focus for the sake of long-term success.  

Effective time management can be key to success in graduate school and beyond. We hope you the above strategies are helpful in managing your career development in parallel to your academic responsibilities. 

By Tithi Basu Mallik
Tithi Basu Mallik Associate Director, Graduate Students