If you decide to pursue a non-academic career or a dual job search for both academic and non-academic jobs, it is important to understand the conventions of non-academic professions and to develop skills that are in demand outside of academia. In addition to accessing the resources below, consider reviewing the other competencies of this guide for specific guidance on developing skills that are widely valued in the non-profit, government, and industry sectors. For example, see the Leadership and Collaboration competency to learn about project management and time management skills, and see the Research and Data Analysis competency for resources to develop analytical skills.

Steps You Can Take

Participate in Workshops and Consultations at the Career Center and GradPro

The Berkeley Career Center has career counselors for graduate students who specialize in supporting students who are applying for careers beyond the academy. They can help you explore interests, identify positions, and reframe the skills you have developed in graduate school as you apply to these positions. Sign up for an appointment with one of the counselors on Handshake. Workshops on applying for careers outside of the academy are typically offered by the Career Center in the spring semester. 

GradPro also offers consultations for graduate students with Professional Development Liaisons (PDLs). Consultations are a great place to get guidance on all aspects of professional development. Learn more about consultations in the GradNews article “What Can a GradPro Consultation Do for You?” Sign-up for a consultation here and learn about GradPro workshops on the GradDiv Calendar. 

For professional students, check if your school has a designated career office or advisor to provide you with resources and counseling specific to your professional interests.


Take Part in Conferences and Workshops Offered by Beyond Academia, SLAM, and MCB 295

Beyond Academia is student-initiated organization that hosts a two-day conference each spring and several excellent workshops during the fall and spring to help graduate students explore career options and prepare to apply to jobs. There is no cost to attend the conference, and the conference hosts dozens of workshops and panels on career exploration and preparation for students of diverse academic backgrounds and professional interests.

SLAM (Science Leadership and Management) is a seminar series focused on understanding the many interpersonal interactions critical for success in a scientific lab, as well as some practical aspects of lab management.

MCB295 is a career and professional development seminar series for life science Ph.D.’s. The weekly series features speakers from a variety of careers who share their post-Ph.D. paths and workshops on topics in career development, including networking, resume building, interview techniques, and negotiation skills.


Participate in an Internship

Internships can enable you to test the waters while obtaining valuable experience and mentoring. They can also position you to apply successfully for career positions which may require prior experience. The Career Center website lists a number of internship and externship opportunities for graduate students. A number of units on campus intermittently offer graduate student positions that function as internships, including GradPro, the Graduate Writing Center, the GSI Teaching & Resource Center, D-Lab, the Othering and Belonging Institute, the Townsend Center, and the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, among others.

There are also some fellowship programs and post-graduate internships that support recent graduates with a transition to a non-academic career. For example, the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is a two-year paid fellowship to train advanced degree graduates for government leadership positions. Another example, the ACLS Leading Edge Fellowship Program, places recent humanities Ph.D.s in two-year positions at diverse organizations in government and the nonprofit sector. 


Participate in Entrepreneurship Workshops or Classes

Berkeley graduates in a wide variety of fields have found ways to create new ventures based on the skills and knowledge gained through their masters or doctoral programs. Consider getting involved with the Berkeley Postdoctoral Entrepreneur Program (BPEP), a program that aims to foster entrepreneurship in the UC Berkeley postdoctoral and graduate community by providing tools, mentoring, and a platform for science-business communication to enable research innovations to move into the marketplace.