Friday, February 26, 2010

Internships for Graduate Students

Gain Experience, Beef Up Your Skills, and Learn Something About Yourself
By Susan Dennehy, Assistant Director of Graduate Services, Social Sciences

Most doctoral students begin their graduate programs thinking they will pursue the traditional academic career path by seeking a tenure-track position at a four-year college or university. Over the course of your graduate career you may begin to have second-thoughts. Your priorities may have shifted. Or your life may have changed significantly. Perhaps you’re not willing to relocate anywhere in the country you get a job offer. Perhaps you have a spouse or a partner, and want to ensure that you can live in the same city or town (a radical idea, I know!). Perhaps you’ve decided the academic life just isn’t for you.

Even if the academic life is your primary goal, you might want to set up a Plan B in case you don’t obtain a tenure-track position. As you probably know, the academic job market has been hit hard by the bad economy, and the competition for tenure-track and other academic positions is likely to be very tough even after the economy recovers, given that every year, there is a fresh class of newly-minted PhDs. In the coming years there will be a bit of pent-up demand, as students delay graduation or take on adjuncting or other temporary positions while they wait for permanent positions to open up.

If you’re enrolled in a dedicated Master’s program, then you may already have some ideas as to the kind of post-academic jobs that interest you. You may have come to graduate school precisely to prepare for a specific career field or, if not, you may be thinking about what kind of employment to pursue after graduation.

In any of these cases, it behooves you to take some time in graduate school to explore your career options. Internships are a great way to do this. With an internship, you can:

  1. Gain some experience in an industry or organization that you think you might like to work in after you finish school
  2. Beef up your skills and to acquire new skills
  3. Build or expand your professional network
  4. Learn more about yourself—i.e., do you enjoy doing this kind of work, and can you see yourself doing this on a full-time basis?

Finding a rewarding career is a trial and error process. You have to try something out in order to learn fully whether or not you like it. Once you’ve worked for a little while, you can say with some certainty whether you like the job or not and, most importantly, why you like or dislike it. This helps you refine your career direction and identify a path that is more likely to be the right one for you.

Internships That Welcome Graduate Students

A variety of internships are available to graduate students in both the public and private sector, and many of them are paid. Some internships are available during the academic year, while others take place over the summer. Students can search for internship opportunities via Chicago Career Connection (in the "detailed search" tab, click on “internships”).

Here is a sampling of internships for which graduate students are eligible. This is not an exhaustive list. It is intended to give you an idea of the variety of internships that are out there.

If you are interested in learning more about internships opportunities, please see a member of the CAPS Graduate Services Team (call 702-7040 and identify yourself as a graduate student). For general information on internships, check out the Internships page on the CAPS website.

**If you would like to explore post-academic career options and you are a doctoral student in the social sciences division, consider applying to an externship.**

Do you have tips for fellow graduate students, or internship stories of your own? Leave a comment!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Resume or Curriculum Vitae? The Eternal Question…

by Laurel Mylonas-Orwig

Recently, a friend of mine decided to leave the workforce after two years and dive back into the world of academia. Since she knew that it was best to give herself plenty of time to gather all of the necessary materials, her first step was to contact former professors to request letters of recommendation. Inevitably, the first question they asked was, “Can you send me your CV?”

My what?

The terms curriculum vitae (CV) and resume are often used interchangeably, but as my friend learned, they are not the same thing. If you’re thinking of applying to graduate school, research fellowships, grants, etc., it is definitely useful to understand the differences between a resume and a CV, and what information should be included in each.

Curriculum Vitae versus Resume

One of the main differences between a CV and a resume is cultural. In the United States, a CV is primarily used when applying to academic, scientific or research positions. Fellowships and grants also generally require a CV. In Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, however, a CV is submitted for nearly every application. This means that if you’re applying for a job outside of the United States, an employer will likely expect to receive a CV with your cover letter, not a resume.

Another key difference is the information contained in a CV versus a resume. A CV is intended to be a detailed portrait of the applicant, while the resume is a quick snapshot. A CV will contain a complete list of your academic achievements, work experience (both paid and unpaid), teaching and research experience, publications, affiliations, etc. It will also have details not usually listed on a resume, like date of birth and nationality (this is especially true outside of the United States). Because a CV is expected to include so much information, it will be longer than a resume. Curriculum vitaes are generally two pages, but can be as long as five, if necessary.

Finally, there are the nitty-gritty formatting differences. Resumes can be formatted in several different ways, depending on what attributes and experiences you are trying to highlight. They also include significantly less information than CVs. Because a CV incorporates so many different aspects of an applicant, it requires a certain structure. Thus, before you start writing a CV, it’s best to make a list of all your background information and organize it into categories. For a complete, detailed guide on what to include in a CV (since listing it all here would make this post go on forever), please see the CAPS guide to the Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Letter of Application, which can be found at

Key Attributes of a CV:
  • Length: 2 – 5 pages
  • Includes all work experience, paid or unpaid
  • Lists all of your achievements in reverse chronological order
  • Details publications, affiliations, licenses/certifications, teaching and research experience, presentations, honors and awards
Key Attributes of a Resume:
  • Length: 1 page
  • Includes only work experience relevant to the job you are applying to
  • Highlights major achievements, awards and honors
  • May include a short “Skills” section detailing relevant abilities/competencies
Remember that CAPS counselors are always happy to help you write or revise your CV, so don’t hesitate to come see us!

Do you have any CV or resume tips, tricks or suggestions? Leave a comment below!