Preparing for any career requires self awareness and planning.

The planning, assessment, and exploration resources below are provided to help you be intentional about the career preparation process. Check out the Level 1 Career Development and Self Awareness Pathways in PhD Progression to find out how to earn digital badges for your Self-Assessments.

Self Assessment

A critical first step in the career planning & exploration process is conducting a self-assessment. Gauging your skills, interests, and values regularly will help you focus your career planning and identify new areas to work on during your doctoral education. Self assessment exercises can help you identify and highlight important factors to consider in your career preparation. This might include understanding your work style and optimal work environment, identifying skill areas that need improvement, and optimizing your strategies for your own professional development. We highly recommend starting with one of two tools – myIDP (STEM) and ImaginePhD (Social Sciences/Humanities) – as they combine self-assessments with individual development planning tools.

Self Assessments
This is a list of self-assessments compiled by PDPA with descriptions of the tools and associated costs.

Individual Development Plans

We recommend that all doctoral students create individual development plans (IDPs) as a way of outlining career plans. IDPs are a customized roadmap for your professional training and goals and will enable you to make the most of your doctoral education. The IDP process will prompt you to reflect on your skills and your career aspirations and help you translate those into specific actions and achieve new skills and professional goals. In addition, the Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs (PDPA) offers workshops on creating an IDP.

IDPs facilitate a student’s ability to realize academic and professional goals, and they also serve as a valuable communication tool between student and mentor, enabling mentor feedback on a student’s overall progress and skill development. IDPs are meant to be part of dynamic reflection process. We recommend students continuously update and advance their IDPs throughout their training in collaboration with their mentor(s) and members of their thesis committee.

PDPA IDP Template is a form, developed by PDPA, which can be used as a template for writing your IDP. It is best used in conjunction with a PDPA IDP workshop and after taking the self assessments listed above.

PDPA IDP Workshops are offered at the beginning of the fall (September) and spring (January) semesters.

A career exploration and IDP tool created specifically for graduate students in the humanities and social sciences. Includes self assessments (skills, interests, values) as well as resources for exploring a variety of job families and career pathways.

This widely adopted IDP tool is a unique, web-based career-planning tool tailored to meet the needs of PhD students and postdocs in the sciences.

A career planning tool created by the American Chemical Society designed specifically for chemists.