Make the most of your postgraduate qualification.
Academic positions are often hotly contested. If you’re interested in an academic career, it’s important that you develop a career strategy and work on this while studying – don’t leave it to the last minute.
Aiming for a different career? A postgraduate qualification from a respected learning institution like the University of Otago will give you an advantage for many roles. However, while the quality and relevance of your degree to a position is important, much depends too on your individual attributes and talent. You'll need to be able to demonstrate valued business skills as required by many organisations.
How can the Career Development Centre help?
We encourage all students – including postgraduate students – to make use of the career resources available on our website. From exploring your career options to specific job search strategies, you’ll find the information you need to attain a career you’ll love. You’ll also find information on this page specifically targeted at postgraduate students.
Get help with:
- Career planning: Explore your career and study options
- Job Applications: CV and cover letters, interview skills and applying for work
- Gaining Experience: Get the ‘right’ skills, enhance your Otago experience… and volunteer
- Finding Employment: Job search strategies, career events and looking for work
Speak to a career adviser one-on-one for further advice.
Market yourself to tertiary and research institutions
I am looking for a career in academia…
Start developing your network early – in person and on social media. Don’t just be a voyeur – work it!
You will also need to:
- Become proficient in explaining your research
- Ensure you develop support while studying and don't become isolated – all networks are helpful
- Attend workshops and seminars at the Career Development Centre
- Develop a career strategy and work on this while studying
Keep in mind when applying for positions that:
- An academic covering letter might need to be more than 1 page in length
- Some academic positions require a teaching philosophy
Online resources for a career in academia
Useful resources include:
- academia.edu (social media)
- researchgate.net (social media)
- LinkedIn (social networking)
- vitae.ac.uk (networking for researchers)
- vitae.ac.uk (networking for researchers – CV examples)
- CV format (Academic staff) (required for University of Otago applications - (under Applications and Appointments))
Market yourself to employers
I am looking for a career in business or other…
Your qualifications are valued by specific employers who regularly recruit graduates with postgraduate qualifications. However, if you are applying to employers who don’t normally seek advanced qualifications, then you may need to offer a rational explanation as to why you are choosing to enter industry and not academia.
How do I convince employers of the value of my postgraduate qualification?
Chosen to study for a vocation? Or is your subject material highly relevant to the position, giving you an advantage over others? This should help you greatly in gaining employment – otherwise you’ll need to really demonstrate the value of your postgraduate qualification to employers.
Skills most desired by businesses include:
- Willingness to learn and develop
- Specialisation in relevant subject area
- Commitment and motivation
- Project management experience
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
- Ability to work independently
Find out how to identify valuable skills in your degree.
Make sure you build your career profile with LinkedIn.
What else have you got to offer?
Your postgraduate degree is a great start, but it is still important that you are able to demonstrate involvement in other areas of your life. Employers value skills developed through a wide range of experiences.
Find out how to stress your skills gained through other experiences to employers.