Career Preparation

OPD helps graduate students and postdocs plan and prepare for careers beyond UMass Amherst—and it’s never too early to start! We organize numerous events and activities to help you assess your values, skills, and interests; explore career paths; build professional networks; and navigate the job application process. Our OPD alums enjoy rewarding, impactful careers in academic, industry, government and non-profit organizations.

Adaeze Egwuatu, PhD student, Neuroscience & Behavior

Coming into UMass, I didn’t know many people who had earned a PhD, so there were a lot of transitions I didn’t know about.  I attended OPD events to learn more about careers I hadn’t imagined before, meet with professionals to expand my network, and begin the process of self-discovery to find the right career fit for me.

Adaeze Egwuatu (PhD student, Neuroscience & Behavior)

Upcoming Events


Interview Strategies

May 25, 2022 | 11:30am - 1:00pm | Online with OPD!

The thought of interviewing can feel stressful when we don't know what to expect or how candidates will be evaluated. Whether interviewing in person or online, this session will offer a framework that can help reduce anxiety and boost confidence. If you are considering jobs outside academia or non-faculty positions inside academia, this session is for you. 


Secrets of the Academic Job Market from Successful Applicants

May 26, 2022 | 12:00pm - 1:30pm | Online with OPD and GSS!

Are you getting ready for the faculty job market? Want the insider scoop on what to expect and how to prepare? A panel of current graduate students and postdocs (Swati Birla from Sociology, Subhalakshmi Gooptu from English, Hee-Tae Jung from Computer Science, and Mojtaba Salarpour from Isenberg) will share their surprises, frustrations, and successes from their time on the academic job market this past year. Co-sponsored by the Graduate Student Senate.


Work-Life Balance

Jun 1, 2022 | 4:00pm - 5:00pm | 538 Goodell

Academia is well-known for its high expectations, particularly when it comes to how many hours we work. How can we find a balance between our personal lives and the work we do? Finding that balance can lead to increased productivity and happiness. Come learn some tips to start on the right path. 


How to Write a (Better) Cover Letter

Jun 2, 2022 | 1:00pm - 2:15pm | Online with OPD!

In an oversaturated job market, demonstrating “fit" is critical - and the cover letter is the best place to make the persuasive argument that you are right for this job! We’ll discuss common cover letter mistakes and discover some foolproof ways to write a cover letter that will make employers take notice. This workshop will be helpful whether you are writing your first or fiftieth cover letter! (Please note that this workshop focuses on cover letters for non-faculty jobs.) 


Additional Resources

Your advanced degree opens the door to many career possibilities. New resources emerge daily to help graduate students and post doctoral students navigate this discovery process. Here are a few of our go-to resources.

  • Graduate students and postdocs may access the Handshake career platform managed by UMass Career Services. Create a profile today to access actual jobs, internships, and fellowships and to register for career-related events sponsored by each College’s Career Center. For students, access is automatic using NetID. Postdocs may request an account by emailing the appropriate college-based UMass Career Center.


Contact us for more information on OPD’s Career Preparation workshops and assistance.

Business Foundations Series candid photo