• Career Resources from the Top

    Career Resources from the Top


    You probably remember the troubles of applying for school. From personal statements and interviews to recommendation letters and resumes, application prep certainly had its late nights.

    Beginning your career search may feel like application season all over again, but with higher stakes. Once you leave the safety of academia, how do you get a job in the ‘real world’? How should you organize the job application process without feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, or discouraged? And how do you know if it's the ‘one’?

    Here at Petal, we’ve compiled a career resources guide from some of the world’s best universities — Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Northwestern, and UPenn. These tips apply to any student and span a variety of research backgrounds.


    By becoming more in-tune with who you are and what matters to you, you can efficiently direct your time towards industries and roles that align with your interests. To make well-informed decisions in any career search, take 5 - 10 minutes to answer the following questions:

    1. What are my interests?
    2. What skills do I possess?
    3. How would I describe myself?
    4. What values are important to me?
    5. What are my non-negotiables (aka deal breakers)?


    Check out the following resources to hone your responses and elucidate your values.

    • Yale’s Values, Interests, & Skills Worksheet: Time to bust out that pen and paper because this worksheet will help you dig deeper into discovering who you are. By the time you finish, you’ll have a better idea of what your best-fit industry is.
    • Columbia’s Design Your Next Steps: Navigate to the ‘Build Self Knowledge’ section to try your hand at several activities and exercises to help you identify the core areas of yourself.
    • UPenn’s Self-Assessments: If taking insightful quizzes, surveys, and assessments is your thing, then you’ll enjoy UPenn’s compilation of resources.
    • Northwestern’s Assessment Tools: Look at Northwestern's ideas for even more assessment tools that help expand your career potential options.


    Once you have a good idea of your skills and values, start exploring career options. There are infinite ways to create value through work. Explore our list of top career resources from leading experts to organize your search. Use these tools to reflect on what you enjoyed in your classes, internships, extracurricular activities, and more!


    • Harvard’s Career Pathways: Think you might be interested in a few industries but aren’t quite sure? You can delve deeper into each sector and explore new ones that you might have never considered before.
    • Columbia’s Design Your Next Steps: Navigate to the ‘Explore Careers’ section to learn how to design your professional journey with strategies, handbooks, and more.
    • Northwestern’s Researching Careers: Loved research? This resource will help you apply your research skills towards finding your career pathway.
    • Northwestern’s Industries: Want a brief overview of all the industries out there but don’t know where to start? Northwestern provides an in-depth list of industries and includes enough basic information to get you started.


    Submitting applications is the bread and butter of the job-search process. It’s your opportunity to perfect your job application materials (resumes, cover letters, portfolio, letters of recommendation, etc.), learn about companies, explore the marketplace, practice your interviewing skills, and, eventually, prepare yourself for ‘the one’. Though gathering your application materials can be time-consuming, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Thanks to the resources below, you’ll have the best advice to help you craft the perfect job application.



    Networking is a skill that can get your foot in the door. However, if you don’t have prior training or experience, developing the talent on your own can be confusing and scary. For starters, what is networking? Where do I start, and how do I do it? Are there unspoken rules I should follow? The resources below will answer your networking questions and prepare you to make the right connections.


    Final Thoughts

    If you’ve read through the materials above and followed their advice, you should feel confident about how you will appear on paper. However, there are no substitutes for practice and a positive learning environment. Call up some friends and ask them to mock interview with you. Challenge yourself to connect with three new network contacts a week and invite them for informational interviews. Record your successes and failures; these will encourage you later on.

    If you’re wrapping up grad school but stuck writing papers, check out a powerful tool that will save writing time so you can spend more time in your job search. Petal is a cloud-native reference management solution developed for academic research labs, university faculty, graduate researchers, and industry professionals. Petal is built with the latest web application technology, offers the most intuitive user experience, requires no download or training to use. Sign up today and check out Petal’s unique and powerful automation capabilities for yourself!