Explore Career Options

Finding the right career requires a large time commitment. The key is to start early in your graduate career and employ multiple techniques and strategies.  The more dedicated and diversified your job search is - and the more cleverly you apply the fundamentals of a job search, namely, self-assessment and investigation techniques - the more likely you are to find the true breadth of career options available and the right opportunities.

Below are valuable resources related to self-understanding, investigation of career possibilities, and best practices when conducting a search:

Make an Appointment

Discuss your career questions and get advice to clarify your next steps by making a confidential appointment with one of our advisors dedicated to the unique needs of PhD and Master’s students. To make an appointment, go to Port Triton.

Conduct a Self Assessment

Who am I?  What do I like?  What are my interests?  What kind of skills do I have?  What is my work style? 

Whether considering the true breadth of your career options or rethinking your career trajectory, it is important to engage in self-assessment and conduct career research, before beginning any job search. Take some time to reflect on and answer the questions above. Doing this will help you discover careers that suite your skills, interests, and values and make for a more effective, efficient and enjoyable job search. More

Questioning Career Transition Group (QCTG) for PhDs

Register for this exclusive, quarterly professional and career development group for PhDs. Watch for email announcements about upcoming offerings.

Online Articles and Resources

Should You Finish?  Megan Pincus Kajitani
How to Plan for a Career Before You Have One  By Bettina Woodford and Hadass Sheffer
Everyone Needs a Plan B  Alexandra M. Lord
Taking Stock of Yourself  Margaret Newhouse
What is a PhD Really Worth? Peter Fiske, PhD (naturejobs, 2011.)
Answering the Question "Who Am I?"  Kathie Sindt
Self-Assessment Exercises: A GRE for Your Ego and Superego  Peter Fiske, PhD

You have put a lot of time and effort into pursuing your PhD degree.  Now it's time to focus on how to leverage your expertise into a satisfying and productive career. An individual development plan (IDP) helps you explore career possibilities and set goals to follow the career path that fits you best.

Investigate Professions & Jobs

What options do I have?  What jobs fit my skills?  What careers and industries use them?  Who do I know in these careers?

Careers by Discipline

What can I do with an advanced degree in my field?  Explore common industries, jobs, and dedicated support resources by academic discipline. More

Scholarly Societies 

A searchable database of over 1700 scholarly and professional associations, which often provide comprehensive career information by academic discipline and profession, courtesy The University of Waterloo. More

Career and Industry Guides

O*NET OnLine

This resource developed by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor provides detailed trends and industry information including training and education needed, earnings, job prospects, and working conditions. More

Salary Information

Research salary ranges for someone with your education, skills and abilities by discipline, industry and/or geographic location. More

Versatile PhD

Thinking about next steps in your career? Interested in exploring non-academic career options? More

Build Your Professional Network


Making connections and building relationships is widely known to be the most effective way to answer your career questions, hone your search, and land that interview and job offer. More

Professional Societies

  • View a sample of professional society chapters by profession in San Diego. More
  • View a listing of many of the life and biomedical professional societies in San Diego. More

The Informational Interview

An informational interview is a discussion you set up and conduct with an individual in a job or profession of interest, enabling you to gain a better understanding of a particular field, job or employer. This first-hand information allows you to then hone your approach, credentials, and interview prep accordingly to help you stand out from the competition. These valuable insiders can expedite your application, introduce you to others in a company or field, and share additional job opportunities. More

Read Online Articles

The Chronicle of Higher Education

A leading source of news, information, and jobs in academia

Science Careers 

Publisher of the journal Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) come together to provide the leading outlet for career information, news, resources and commentary--especially for advanced-degree students.

  • "Tooling Up Series" of articles to help clarify the transition from advanced-degree student to industry, a postdoc, or academic job.  Search keywords such as "resume," "interviewing," "negotiation," "networking," "cover letters," or just browse the many topical offerings. 

View Guide Booklets

Recommended Books

  • So What Are You Going to Do with That?, Finding Careers Outside Academia, Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius
  • Put Your Science to Work, Peter Fiske, PhD
  • A PhD is Not Enough! A Guide to Survival in Science, Peter J. Feibelman
  • What Color Is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career-Changers, Richard Nelson
  • The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success, Nicholas Lore
  • The Academic Job Search Handbook, Julie Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong
  • The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. into a Job, Karen Kelsky

Career Forums

Join the discussion in ScienceNature, The Chronicle of Higher Ed, and The Versatile PhD


Careers highlighted include Defense Research, Science Teaching, Working in Science Publishing, and Researchers as Quants, among many others.

Videos & Webinars

Professional and career development topics, especially for advanced-degree students

View free videos and webinars  

The Versatile PhD

A resource specifically created for PhD students exploring careers beyond academia. Find resources, information and support to aid your search.

Individual Development Plan

Individual Development Plan (myIDP)
AAAS & Science Careers

You have put a lot of time and effort into pursuing your PhD degree.  Now it's time to focus on how to leverage your expertise into a satisfying and productive career.   An individual development plan (IDP) helps you explore career possibilities and set goals to follow the career path that fits you best. More

Invest in Yourself!pdf doc

View the specific steps to take during your doctoral career (starting in your 1st year) to build the skills and experiences necessary to be competitive for a broad career search.