Have a Plan for Your Academic, Career and Professional Development
All PhD students and Postdoctoral Associates should proactively manage their career and professional development. Creating a written plan, or Individual Development Plan (IDP) for each year of your doctoral studies or postdoc position will help you clarify your short and longer-term career goals and the steps you will take to get there. You should think about this as a working document that outlines your own personalized semester-by-semester action plan. In it you will identify specific tasks and experiences you plan to complete in order to clarify your career career goals, explore career options, develop specific skills and competencies related to your chosen career paths, or implement a job search. Download and use the IDP template for current doctoral students. Postdocs should use the Postdoc IDP template developed by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
The Careeer Development Model below illustrates the cyclical nature of the process that is repeated through out one's career.
Where are you in the cycle? Do you need to spend some time identifying or reassessing your values, interests, and strengths? Or do you need to explore specific career paths and job options. Perhaps to are ready to make decisions, set some goals and do some action planning? Maybe you are ready to put your plan into action. It is important at the end of each semester and year to spend some time reflecting on what you learned about yourself and to make appropriate changes to your written plan for the upcoming year. Remember, your plan is a living document that should be revised as you gain insights, gather information and learn from your experiences.
PhD Career Planning and Exploration Tools
PhD Career Navigator - Start here. This online DIY mini career course was developed by Maryland doctoral students in 2018.
ImaginePhD - a career exploration and planning tool for the humanities and social sciences.
MyIDP - MyIDP (Individual Development Plan) is a free, online tool for PhDs in the sciences.
Versatile PhD - online community dedicated to non-academic and non-faculty careers for PhDs in humanities, social sciences, and STEM.