Professional Development Resources

Preparing for the Job Market

Over the past few years you have spent a significant amount of time at University studying for your career; soon you will want to put theory into practice and find employment in your field.

It's never too early to think about your entry into the job market – non-profit, government, business sector, or academia. And although job markets are competitive, by reflecting on how you’ll look to potential employers, you'll be prepared to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

Personal Branding

Personal branding is a great exercise that helps you identify qualities that make you unique. To begin, identify your strengths – areas where you do very well. Think about previous performance appraisals, – what was said or written about you:

  • List the skills and experiences you have that would be required in the type of job you are seeking,
  • Give some thought to those skills in which you excel,
  • Think of the personal traits that make your personal branding unique.

When you have identified your strengths, make a list of those strengths and some examples of when those strengths have helped you achieve results on the job. It is essential that you not only identify your strengths, but that you also have examples and stories and times you have demonstrated those strengths and your personal branding in the past. 

Connecting with Employers

You can also implement some strategies to help you connect with employers:

  • Develop a persuasive and tailored resume,
  • Search for job openings,
  • Use CAPS: Your UAlberta Career Centre, and
  • Network with potential employers.

Successful Outcome in Your Work Search 

Throughout your work search you will likely have questions such as:

  • “What do employers consider most important on a resume?,” 
  • “How can I make my application letter stand out from the rest,” 
  • “How do I network and with whom?,” 
  • “What can I do to prepare for an interview?,” and 
  • “How do I stay cool, calm, and collected once I am at an interview?”

These tips are intended to act as a guide on the work search journey and help you achieve a successful outcome - finding employment leading to a rewarding career. Even if you have not formally started your work search yet, you will want to start putting material together now. Some simple activities are included to help you apply the material.

Where to Start the Job Search
  1. Networking [PDF Document]
  2. Non-academic Career Options [PDF Document]
  3. Researching and Contacting Employers [PDF Document]
  4. Selecting the Right Size of Institution for an Academic Career [PDF Document]
  5. Making the most of the Employer-Student Mixer [PDF Document]
Reference Letters
  1. Reference Letters [PDF Document]
Preparing for the Job
  1. What Employers are Looking for in New Hires [PDF Document]
  2. Resume Writing and Cover Letters [PDF Document]
  3. Preparing for the Interview and Successful Interviewing Strategies [PDF Document]
  4. Handling Inappropriate Interview Questions [PDF Document]
  5. Negotiating and Sealing the Deal [PDF Document]
  6. Skills Expected from Graduate Students in Search of Employment in Academic and Non-Academic Settings [PDF Document]