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International PhD Career Readiness Series (Nov. 2023)

The International PhD Career Readiness Series is intentionally designed to focus on providing strategies of career preparation for international PhD candidates and Postdocs in the United States, including best practices on navigating PhD career landscape and U.S. workplace culture, job search process, and how to prepare for the immigration portfolio.

With 3 interactive sessions, we hope to tackle topics commonly faced by PhD candidates and Postdocs with an international background. Led by Dr. Priya Date and Dr. Yi Hao who work with many graduate students and Postdocs and share the lived experiences of international PhDs and immigrants, this series is best suited for PhD students in their candidacy (or ABD status), and Postdoctoral Scholars. 

Topics, Schedule, Format, and Location

First Three Thursdays, 3:30-5 PM (ET), in November 2023, virtual | Registration 

  • Navigating the Career Landscape and Workplace Culture in the U.S.: November 2
  • Job Search Strategies for International PhD Candidates: November 9
  • Using Professional Development to Strengthen Immigration Portfolios: November 16

* This series is to address the overarching challenges facing international PhDs and to enhance individuals' career readiness post-PhD/postdoc training. Most content will be applicable to those interested in academic AND industry careers in the U.S. For Session 2, however, we will focus more on job search strategies in careers beyond academia, given the series is scheduled in November and the typical academic job search cycle. Please see the session description below for more details.


Dr. Priya Date, University of Virginia, School of Engineering

Dr. Yi Hao, University of Maryland, College Park, the Graduate School

Session Descriptions

As we acknowledge the changing landscape for PhDs, what do you know about career outcomes for international PhDs? Specifically, what unique strengths and transferable skills do you have as international candidates that will help you stand out during the job search process? We will also uncover the U.S. workplace culture, what are some unsaid shared values and belief systems in the U.S. workspace? What are some assumptions and cultural nuances that you should be aware of as you begin your job search and tips to improve your intercultural fluency.

In this session, we will discuss specific job search strategies best suited for international PhDs. You will gain tacit knowledge on the application process in the U.S. through standard job search timeline, employer perspectives, and strategies to save time during job search. You will also understand best practices in resumes and cover letter writing, as well as how to utilize LinkedIn to collect information and build relationships with working professionals. 

*Note: Since this series is scheduled in November, we will focus on professional careers beyond academia. For participants at UVA, please refer to PhD Plus’s Future Faculty module in late summer/early fall. For participants at UMD, please refer to the Graduate School’s Academic Job Document Retreat every summer and fall.

Your career success as an international PhD student or Postdoc in the United States depends not only on your skills, credentials, and experience but also on your ability to obtain a work visa or permanent residency as fast as possible. To secure the proper immigration status, you need to assemble an immigration portfolio, similar to a job application package. An immigration portfolio helps you stand out and includes evidence of your credentials, work experience, international recognition, and the importance of your work. Unlike job packages, immigration portfolios are more robust and less understood. Preparing an immigration portfolio is like building a network--it takes time, effort, and knowledge. Come learn how to use your professional development activities to create an immigration portfolio by prioritizing activities that satisfy the immigration criteria for substantial merit or the National Interest Waiver while increasing competitiveness for diverse careers.

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