Graduate Student Resources

We recognize that there are some unique needs for students who are pursuing advanced degrees, and our career counselors are ready to assist you.

While it is the goal of The Department of Career Planning & Development to assist students in reaching their career goals, it is important to remember that a student’s professional future is a matter of individual responsibility. Students must be willing to devote substantial time to career exploration, networking, and the job search process. With your graduate studies also requiring a large devotion of your time, let The Department of Career Planning & Development at KSU help you find that balance.

  • Self–assessment is the first step in the job search process. You will not be in a position to prepare a resume, send it to prospective employers or go to interviews until you have some basic understanding of the kind of position you are seeking.

    You should give considerable thought to the type of work that you like to do. Such tasks require substantial preparation and a realistic appraisal of your abilities.

    How to conduct a self-assesment?

    The objective of self–assessment is to help you take inventory of the values, skills, and interests that you currently possess. The following exercise should help you determine what it is you want to do, what is important to you, and what you feel you can do well. Once you have established these priorities, you can begin investigating potential career options.

    1. Understand Your Personal Traits
          The personal traits that describe me are: (Include all of the words that describe you.)

    2. Identify Your Personal Values
          Working conditions (physical and philosophical) that are important to me: (List working conditions that would have to    exist for you to accept a position.)

    3. Identify Your Skill Base

    • The general skills I possess are: (List the skills that underlie tasks you are able to complete.)
    • The specific skills I possess are: (List more technical or specific skills that you possess and indicate your level of expertise.)
    • Skills I would like to use on the job include: (List skills that you hope to use on the job, and indicate how often you’d like to use them).
    • Some skills that I’ll need to acquire for the jobs I’m considering include: (Write down skills listed in job advertisements or job descriptions that you don’t currently possess.)

    4. Calculate Your Economic Need
          My estimated minimum annual salary requirement is: (Write the salary you have calculated based on your budget.)

    5. Explore Your Long–term Goals
          My long–term plans include: (Describe how the positions you are considering will help you to obtain your long–term goals.)


    Identifying Potential Resource People

    Your network will consist of individuals you want to contact for career–related information, not for a job. This list will include family, friends, current and previous co–workers, current and former classmates, social acquaintances and those you have met in professional organizations, volunteer organizations, church and civic groups.

    Rules you need to follow when networking:

    1. Ask contact for information, not jobs. Remember your purpose for meeting with these individuals is to gain career-related information.
    2. Be sure you are asking the contact for something they can provide. Don’t make them feel awkward by requesting something they can’t provide. It is appropriate to ask your contacts to critique your resume, suggest organizations in which you should become involved, refer to other individuals in the field, etc.
    3. Make it clear at the beginning why you want to meet. You should have a specific reason for requesting their advice and expertise.
    4. You must be willing to share relevant information about yourself with the contact. It is crucial they know who you are and have a good understanding of your background. You will want to keep them informed of any changes in your circumstances.
    5. When you meet with your contacts, focus on them, not your needs. You are meeting with these people because they are in a business of interest to you, the company you want to join, have interests and values similar to yours, etc. You want to learn from their experiences; let them do the talking.
    6. Give them feedback. Let them know how you have used their advice, keep them informed.
    7. Keep track of your contacts. Develop a system to record information on your contacts, summary of your meeting, and further developments.
  • Interested in employment within the United States? Start by talking with an International Student Advisor, William Mirandy or Hollis McCollum. If you are an MBA or MACC student, you will need to see Tasha Bruner in addition to one of the International Student Advisors listed above. It is important that you fully understand your visa status, how it relates to practical training, and other employment authorization options.

    You will need to accurately explain this to prospective employers. If your goal is to return to your home country, keep current on employment issues there, maintain work and family contacts to get job leads, and prepare for reintegration to your home culture. Begin early and use all of the resources the Career Services Center offers you.

    General Job Search Tips

    • Visit your student advisor in the International Center to learn all the details regarding your visa status and related employment regulations.
    • Visit The Department of Career Planning & Development early to look at your career options. Determine what you want to do, where you want to work, and the position requirements.
    • Learn which skills and experiences are valuable in your career area. What will make you more marketable?
    • Get as much relevant experience as you can with a co–op or internship. If you cannot get one, then volunteer.
    • Prepare appropriate targeted resumes and job search letters.
    • Join professional organizations – on and off campus – so you can meet others in the field.
    • Schedule digitally recorded practice interviews with a career professional. Develop proficiency in English – written and oral. Good communication and presentation skills are extremely important.
    • Attend career fairs and career workshops.
    • Network with everyone – advisors, faculty, and friends. Attend campus events in order to meet people who can assist you in finding employment.
    • Contact alumni from your home country who have been successful in their job searches in the U.S. Ask for advice and suggestions from them.

    Job Search Strategies: Points to Remember

    •  Begin and end the process with your international advisor. You must remain legal and in status to find employment in the U.S.
    •  Begin early because the process can be tedious and frustrating.
    •  Be prepared for all outcomes.
    •  Learn all you can about your selected area of interest. Develop an action plan.
    •  Schedule an appointment with a career professional who will help you develop a great resume and excellent interviewing skills.
    •  Use various job search methods such as informational interviews.
    •  Network and use personal contacts to learn of all opportunities.
    •  Consider relocating to smaller communities.
    •  Expand your job search to include international firms operating in the U.S., and U.S. firms operating in foreign countries.
    •  Maintain a good GPA.