Prepare for Your Career

While you have been navigating academia, building your skills, and creating your plan, you have been preparing simultaneously for your career. The Cornell Career Services (CCS) Career Development model has three stages—understand yourself, explore options, and take action—and the following resources will provide guidance as you navigate all three stages. 

For assistance at any stage of career exploration, graduate students interested in:

Postdoctoral scholars interested in any career path should meet with Christine Holmes. If you are ready to take action toward a career beyond academia and you are a Ph.D. or postdoc in a STEM field, consider getting involved with the BEST Program.


  • The Graduate School Events and Workshops list features academic and non-academic career workshops, events, and seminars.
  • The CCS Events Calendar lists a range of non-academic career workshops, events, and seminars.
  • Handshake lists career-related events including career fairs and employer information sessions.
  • Check the BEST Program events calendar for additional opportunities.
  • Graduate students can look at the weekly Graduate School Announcements email for a list of upcoming events and fellowship opportunities.
  • Postdocs can look at the weekly postdoc newsletter email for a list of upcoming events.
  • Check with your graduate field or academic department for additional career-related events.

Cornell Resources

1. Understand Yourself

  • To understand your skills, interests, values, and career goals, take a self-assessment or develop an individual development plan using the Create Your Plan focus area of Pathways to Success as your guide.


2. Explore Options

  • Research potential career options through the Cornell Career Services resources.
  • For Ph.D. students and postdocs interested in an non-academic career, create a free account with VersatilePhD to identify career options.
  • Graduate students can follow this nine-step process to pursue a non-academic career.
  • For STEM graduate students, between step 5 & 6, find out what skills and experiences you need to add to your resume to fit the type of job you are seeking. Then contact the BEST Program to personalize the experiential opportunities to make you more credible as an applicant. Make an appointment with Susi Varvayanis, Senior Director, at
  • International students can follow this 10-step process to pursue a non-academic career.


3. Take Action

  • Develop your resume, cover letter, and prepare for non-academic interviews with these CCS resources.
  • See example cover letters and resumes for non-academic careers in Versatile PhD.
  • For guidance on academic careers (including CVs, research statements, teaching philosophies, and evaluating offers), consult the Graduate School Career Guide and explore the Academic Job Search Series.
  • To develop your teaching skills, participate in the Center for Teaching Excellence’s GET SET workshops.
  • For Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars in science, technology, engineering, and math fields, learn about career options and create an experiential learning opportunity through Cornell’s BEST Program.


Resources for International Students


Becoming Engaged Alumni

While you are a graduate student or postdoc here at Cornell, you will likely benefit from the expertise of alumni as they share their career-related insight with you. As you move on from Cornell, consider these options to continue this culture of support:

  • This article from the BEST program provides suggestions for how to engage with Cornell graduate students and postdocs.
  • Join the Graduate School's network on LinkedIn
  • Become engaged through Cornell’s Diversity Alumni Programs.
  • Volunteer for a short-term or longer-term opportunity through CU Volunteer.

External Resources