Gaining Relevant Experience

To increase your marketability, you will need to gain experience while you are pursuing your graduate degree. Employers outside of the academy will value the experience you get through your coursework and will also prefer 6-12 months of related experience in the industry or career field.

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Career-specific experience

To gain relevant experience:

If your time is limited because of work, family, or other obligations:

  • Seek micro-internships for short-term, project-based experiences
  • Volunteer to gain low-commitment, flexible exposure to mission-driven organizations or causes
  • Ask your current employer for opportunities to support work/projects related to your career goals
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Coursework as experience

You can gain relevant experience through campus research and strategic use of course assignments. Here are ways to maximize the career development benefits of research papers and projects over the course of your graduate program:

  • Register for an internship or practicum course that counts toward a degree requirement, if offered by your academic program
  • Register for project-based, client-based, and experiential or skill-building courses. Talk to your faculty advisor to learn about options in your academic program
  • Select a research topic that addresses a question of interest to your target employers
  • Interview alumni and experts in the field and/or in organizations of interest during data collection to expand your professional network
  • Use the latest tools, technologies, and approaches to build career-specific skills as part of your research, data collection, analysis, etc.
  • Ask for feedback on your teamwork and leadership skills when working on group projects
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Funding your experience

Most graduate-level positions are paid. However, if you are only able to secure an unpaid internship, fieldwork, or volunteer role, investigate funding opportunities:

For internship/job search support, schedule an appointment.