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Doctoral Career Planning and Exploration Tools

Identifying the job that is right for you—whether in academe, industry, or beyond—takes work, and competing successfully for that job warrants a new approach to career planning. Each doctoral graduate brings different characteristics, skills, and talents, and taking some time to analyze those individual characteristics will assist in formulating an effective career plan. Explore the free resources to assist doctoral students and Postdocs with Career Planning and Exploration below.        



ImaginePhD is a free online career exploration and planning tool for doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars in other disciplines can also use this tool. ImaginePhD users are able to:

    • assess their career-related skills, interests, and values
    • explore 16 job families
    • access and save links to extensive information about the job families all in one convenient place
    • identify skills gaps related to different career paths of interest
    • map out next steps for career and professional development success.

AuroraAurora log

Aurora is an online tool that the Graduate School subscribes to. All doctoral students can access this tool using their UMD CAS login. Use Aurora to:

    • Explore different career paths, and hear from doctoral graduates currently in those fields
    • Develop the materials and skills you will need on a job search such as resume writing, interview techniques, and networking strategies
    • Translate your academic experiences into transferable skills



MyIDP (Individual Development Plan) is an online career-planning tool created to help graduate students and postdocs in the sciences define and pursue their career goals. MyIDP will help you identify the career goals that are right for you and develop a step-by-step plan to reach those goals. MyIDP is a four-step process that includes:

    • Exercises to help you examine your skills, interests, and values
    • A list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit your skills and interests
    • A tool for setting strategic goals for the coming year, with optional reminders to keep you on track
    • Articles and resources to guide you through the process



ChemIDP is similar to MyIDP but is specific to those in Chemistry. ChemIDP is a free, online tool. ChemIDP has activities organized by the following four categories:

    • Assess Yourself
    • Strengthen Your Skills
    • Set Your Goals
    • Explore Careers

Doctoral Career Navigator   

Doctoral Career Navigator is an online tool in UMD's online course platform - ELMS-Canvas. It contains thirteen modules of information, videos, worksheets, and links to resources relevant to all UMD doctoral students and postdocs. Students and postdocs will be able to self-enroll shortly. The link to self-register is available at:

The modules can be done at your own pace, or as part of the multipart career exploration and job search workshops offered each semester. Use the modules to:

    • increase your knowledge of campus career resources for doctoral students 
    • do some self-assessment of your interests, values, and transferable skills
    • learn how to create effective resumes, CVs, and cover letters
    • conduct an effective job or internships search