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PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD students and Postdocs with Career Planning and Exploration below.        



ImaginePhD is a free online career exploration and planning tool for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences. PhDs in other disciplines can also use this tool. Imagine PhD 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 develoment success.


AuroraAurora log

Aurora is an online tool that the Gradute 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 PhDs 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 which 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


PhD Career Navigator   

PhD Career Navigator is an online tool in UMD's online course platform - ELMS-Canvas. It contains eight modules of information, videos, worksheets, and links to resources relevant to all UMD doctoral students and postdocs. Students and postdocs should sign up to be added to the course at: You will be added to the course within 48 hours. Contact Susan Martin if you have any questions,

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 PhDs
    • do some self-assessment of your interests, values and transferable skills
    • learn how to create effective resumes, CVs and coverletters
    • conduct an effective job or internships search