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Core Skill: Career Development

Career Development is the process through which people develop and achieve professional goals. It involves assessing one’s career values, interests, and skills and actively exploring career fields of interest through networking, mentorship, and gaining relevant professional experiences to expand one’s competencies.

Rackham Resources

Rackham offers several annual career-development programs, including:

Rackham Embedded Coordinator for Graduate Student Career Advancement

Dr. Kirsten Elling provides career coaching, advising, and programming to doctoral students in order to help them navigate challenges and build a successful career. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Elling here.

Gear Your Career

At this two-hour event held annually in January, participants take professional headshots, get business cards printed, and/or consult briefly with a U-M career and professional-development expert on their LinkedIn profile. This event is open to master’s and doctoral students.

Ph.D. Connections

This one-day, multidisciplinary career conference is held annually in April to support doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in their exploration of career paths beyond academe. Participants learn about career opportunities beyond the professoriate through interactive sessions with Ph.D.s working in diverse fields and workshops focused on career exploration and job search preparation.

Designing Your Life

Inspired by Stanford’s Designing Your Life program, this interactive, six-week seminar teaches students principles for designing a fulfilling career. The seminar is held annually in the fall semester and is open to master’s students, doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows.

Rackham Workshops

Rackham also regularly offers workshops on career-development topics, including future-faculty workshops and alumni career conversations. Check the Rackham events page for these regular programs and workshops.

Career development is introspection in action. It was a structured way for me to figure out what I wanted to do, and how I was going to get there. Setting small goals enabled me to envision the big picture of my career trajectory.
Sara Wong

Ph.D. Student, Cellular and Molecular Biology

Campus Resources

CRLT Preparing Future Faculty Web Resources

Academic careers, writing a teaching philosophy, productivity in grad school.

University Career Center

Confidential career consultations and workshops on diverse career options.

Rackham-CRLT May Seminar on Preparing Future Faculty

Nationally recognized program to prepare Ph.D. candidates for the academic job search and faculty positions.


Michigan Engineering workshops to strengthen and diversify the next generation of academic leaders.

Tech Transfer Fellows Program

Fellows assess the technical and market potential of new U-M inventions.

Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Career and professional development for biomedical post-baccalaureate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees.

Versatile PhD

Information on non-academic careers for Ph.D.s, A.B.D.s, and master’s degree holders.

Imagine PhD

Career exploration and planning for humanities and social-science doctoral students.


Career exploration and Individual Development Plan tool for STEM doctoral students.

Upcoming Career Development Events

Contact Professional Development and Engagement

1530 Rackham Building
915 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Phone: (734) 647-4013
Fax: (734) 936-2848


Professional and Academic Development is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The office is closed Saturdays and Sundays and on the following holidays: Thanksgiving (Thursday and the following Friday), Christmas through New Year's, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4), and Labor Day.