Reflections on Our First Year of #GRADprofdev: Dr. Emily Rendek

Reflections on Our First Year of #GRADprofdev: Dr. Emily Rendek

It’s been a busy year! In helping to organize the well over two dozen #GRADprofdev events offered this year, the message that I felt was emphasized over and over by the invited speakers was how important it is to highlight the significance of graduate students’ transferable skills.

Whether you plan on staying in academia or not after you finish your graduate education, start taking an inventory of the skills that you have gained during your education and realize that you have far more transferable skills than you probably give yourself credit for. Putting together a skills inventory can become an opportunity to reflect on what you value and what you think could be a meaningful career for yourself.

One of the other takeaways from the workshops and events this year is that you need to make opportunities for yourself because they won’t come looking for you. You’ll find far more doors opening for you when you’re being proactive rather than reactive. One of the tangible bits of advice related to this idea is setting up informational interviews. Want to learn more about a job or career path that you are potentially interested in? Set up a meeting (over coffee, in the person’s office, over the phone, etc.) where you ask questions and learn more about potential job areas for yourself. Networking is incredibly important (Dr. L. Maren Wood writes about how crucial it is in this Chronicle article), and informational interviews can be one way to build up your professional network. Don’t forget to take advantage of all the resources at UofSC, too! Take a training class offered by HR. Check out the Career Center. Take on a leadership role in the GSA or in the graduate student organization in your department. There are so many career paths open and available to you—start exploring this summer!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many students from departments all over campus this year at #GRADprofdev programming and while assisting with the Graduate School’s affiliated programs, such as the Bridge Humanities Corps. I’m looking forward to planning more professional development events for our graduate students and hope to meet you at a #GRADprofdev event in the upcoming academic year.

Have a great summer!

Dr. Emily Rendek is the Public Information Specialist for the Graduate School at the University of South Carolina.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Contact Dr. Heather Brandt at


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