Strategies to Leverage a Dissertation or Doctoral Study for Career Advancement

The dissertation or doctoral study is one of the most challenging academic accomplishments in education.   It takes time, perseverance, determination, dedication, and commitment on multiple levels. If you are a doctoral student or a recent graduate, ask yourself, “How can I leverage the extensive work, effort, and knowledge gained through my capstone project to enhance my professional identity and advance my career?”

 Here are some ideas to help you get started with answering that question:

  1. Publications:  After completing your capstone project, consider publishing one or more articles related to your capstone topic and findings. Publishing is especially important if you are interested in a career in higher education teaching or research.  Here are some resources to help you get started:

2. Presentations:  Share the knowledge and expertise gained through your courses and capstone project with other thought leaders in your field.  Consider delivering a presentation at a professional conference or presenting a poster session. If you are hesitant to present alone, find a partner with similar or complementary interests who is interested in collaborating with you. If your presentation is accepted, you both get to include the presentation on your CV! Here are some resources to help you get you started:

3. Professional Connections: Your capstone project gives you something in common with other professionals interested in the same or related research.  Reach out and connect with others via LinkedIn. After you finish your capstone project, share information about your topic on LinkedIn. Prepare to answer the question, “What was your research about?” in an engaging way within three minutes to grab the attention of your audience.  To help you practice answering this question, you can create a free OptimalResume account and use the Interview Prep tool to record yourself practicing until you are able to clearly and concisely describe your research and results in a conversational setting.

As much as you are relieved once you receive the notification that your dissertation or doctoral study has been approved by the CAO, take time to celebrate and then ask yourself, “Now what else can I do with this monumental accomplishment, how can I share what I have learned?”

Written by Denise Pranke, Walden Senior Career Advisor