The key to a successful career is finding a path which fits not only your skills and interests, but also your values. Though most graduate students have only been exposed to faculty careers in academia, the truth is that fewer than 30% of Ph.D.s will have a permanent academic job.
Therefore it's incredibly important that you begin exploring all of the career options — and understanding which is best for you — early in your graduate studies. The sooner this work begins, the better your chances of successfully pursuing a career you love after graduation.
APS Online Professional Guidebook
The Guidebook is your one-stop shop for advice on key professional development areas, such as networking, interviewing, and effective resume writing.
APS Webinar: Putting Your Science to Work! (REQUIRES APS MEMBER LOGIN)
Celebrated career coach Peter Fiske covers key aspects of the job search process: self-assessment, building a network, informational interviews, resume writing, interviewing and negotiation, and more! For APS Members only.
- "Put Your Science to Work: The Take-Charge Guide for Scientists" book by Peter Fiske, Ph.D.
Other General Career Resources
Resumes and CVs
APS Tutorial on Effective Resume Writing
This brief tutorial gives instructions on how to convert a "CV-type" document into an effective, targeted, skill-based resume. Resumes are appropriate for non-academic settings.
Institute of Physics Physicist’s Guide to Writing Your CV - a very well written guide on how to write an effective CV for academic jobs.
Industry Career Resources
APS IMPact: Industry Mentoring for Physicists
The IMPact program is designed to connect graduate students with physicists who work in industry.
APS Webinar: Career Self Advocacy: How I Got My Six Figure Salary in the Private Sector
In this webinar, Meghan Anzelc describes her journey from high energy physics graduate student to director of predictive modeling at CNA Insurance.
- Leaving Academic Physics - a website by Jennifer Hodgdon addressing what it’s like to leave academia to pursue a career in industry.
- APS Job Prospects Profile on Private Sector Ph.D. Careers - provides an overview of typical salaries, daily activities, and additional recommended training to prepare for an industry career.
Postdoctoral Fellowship Resources
APS Webinar: Launching Your Postdoc
Edmund Bertschinger, physics department head at MIT, gives advice and strategies for successfully landing a postdoctoral position.
APS Webinar: Physics Faculty Positions in the Colleges
Neal Abraham, executive director of Five College, Inc. explores the nature and diversity of college faculty jobs and how best to prepare for such positions.
- "A Ph.D. is Not Enough: A Guide to Survival in Science," by Peter J Feibelman, Ph.D.
- "The Professor is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job," by Karen Kelsky, Ph.D.
- Presidential Management Fellows Program - provides graduate degree holders with appointments in various Federal agencies which can lead to permanent employment
- AAAS Congressional Fellowships - opportunities for a year-long fellowship working on science and technology issues in the federal government
- Congressional Research Service - careers providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of the US House and Senate
- USA Jobs: Student Jobs - jobs in the US government for students and recent graduates
Other Non-Academic Careers
- Examples of Alternative Career Paths - Interviews with physicists working in a variety of areas, including policy, financial analysis, and nuclear engineering
- "Alternative Careers in Science,” book by Cynthia Robbins-Roth, Ph.D.
- Guide to Nontraditional Careers in Science,” book by Karen Young Kreeger, M.S.
- A Guide to Careers in Science Writing - a website with resources to exploring this important and in-demand field
Career Resources for Underrepresented Groups
APS Webinar: Maintaining a Work/Life Balance
In this webinar, Bonnie Fleming, associate professor of physics at Yale University, discusses how to maintain a work/life balance as an academic in the culture of physics departments.
APS Blewett Fellowship
This fellowship is designed to enable women to return to physics research careers after an interruption.
APS Professional Skills Seminars for Student and Postdocs
A highly interactive seminar experience designed to empower women to thrive in physics.
APS Bridge Program
An effort to increase the number of physics Ph.D.s awarded to underrepresented minority (URM) students.
Studying and Pursuing a Science and Technology Career as a Post-Secondary Student with a Disability
A guide from the National Educational Association of Disabled Students