Saturday, November 21, 2009

Five Tips to Help You Find a Job/Scholarship in Graduate School

One of the main questions in the mind of a student joining graduate college these days is how to find an hourly job or how to find some form of assistantship. As woes of recession deepen and more and more hourly jobs/scholarship dwindles, it is not easy to find one especially during first semester of your graduate study. Here are five tips that can help you land up in a job after you join for your graduate studies.
1 – Arrive at least three weeks early
If you are in F1 visa, you are allowed to come four weeks before your classes actually start. Try coming at least 3 weeks before the classes start so that you have time to apply for whatever hourly jobs remaining in your school. If you land in the school say 1 week before the classes start then forget about the hourly jobs as most of them may have been already taken.
2 - Networking
When I joined grad school in Fall 2001, I came almost three weeks in advance and I started applying for most of the hourly jobs posted in the school website for almost two weeks. I was not even getting any interview calls. Finally I got a job in the football stadium. I even didn’t send my resume for that job. A friend of mine who already has that job recommended me. I got my second job – a front assistant in a dormitory also through the recommendation by another friend working there. So even for getting an hourly job networking is a key. So I suggest anyone coming to pursue graduate studies to start networking even before you land up in US for your studies so that you have good contacts by the time you are here that can “potentially” help you find a job.
3 – Knock All Doors
Knock all possible jobs. You don’t have to feel shy about that. You never know from where you are going to get a job from. You may know a Professor working in your area of interest who don’t have any openings now but potentially will have projects in the future. Communicate with him constantly showing your interest to work for him/her. When he/she finally gets a new project and wants to hire a student you name should automatically come to his/her mind.
4 – Choosing Classes Wisely
This is one of the best ways to land in assistantship. You know a Professor doing research in your area of interest. Sign up for a class offered by that professor and do extremely well in that class. If you could impress him/her in the class with your skills there is a good chance that when you approach that professor next time he may offer you some assistantship or help you get some thing.
5 - Getting Good Grades in First Semester
I have seen this happening a lot. Get good grades for all the courses you take for the first semester and then approach various professors and you have a lot better chances of getting some assistantship.
Having said all that “luck” plays a very important role at least initially in getting an hourly job or assistantship. I know a lot of students who have done all those I mentioned above and still don’t have any assistantship for the entire length of their graduate study. But these five tips are something that any graduate student can pursue that can enhance his/her chance of getting a job/assistantship.
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Anonymous Vivek Nair said...

Brijesh, excellent advice to all those who dream of doing a Masters in the US but wonder how to pay for it. I just wanted to add my experience when I came to do my MBA in 2002. I networked from India itself looking up ASU India association members, W P Carey MBA Asia association members etc and contacted them. Many of the students who were at the end of their second(last) year of the program are very helpful in recommending you for the TA/RA/GA positions they are currently holding in the university,once they get to know you over email/phone (now phone calls to US are much cheaper than Rs 65 a minute of that time!). So once you make relevant contact before reaching the US for the first time, you already have a plan in place as to whom to contact, what is the job profile and inside info on what is required for the job.As soon as you reach, 3 weeks in advance as Brijesh rightly pointed out, tailor your resume for that job description and request your contact to recommend you to the professor. That way you have more then 80% chance of getting that assistantship. Highlight any experience (graduate assistantships in the business school considers your extra curricular experiences achievements in addition to your curricular experiences) that you think is relevant for the job description, in your resume. And in the end, be positive whatever be the outcome and things will turn around to give you what you wish for.

November 22, 2009 11:43 AM  
Blogger Mani said...

Looking back, I did none of this..How dumb! Short and very effective..good one!

November 22, 2009 5:11 PM  

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