Preparing Fellowship Applications: A Step-by-Step Guide

A major fellowship can be a critical funding resource, especially if your research requires money for travel, equipment or supplies, and time to collect data and write. When you consider applying for a fellowship, keep the following in mind:

Ace the Academic Job Talk

After sending in your application materials and successfully completing a round or two of interviews, you’ll be invited for an on-campus interview. Most on-campus interviews include a job talk. To be successful in your job talk, preparation is key.

Negotiating Academic Job Offers

You’ve received a job offer from an academic institution—well done! The final step in securing an academic position, like any job, is negotiating the terms of your contract. In academia, some aspects of negotiating terms will be similar to the private sector, but some aspects are unique to academia. Begin with these guidelines to prepare for negotiating the terms of your first academic contract.

Preparing for Your Future Career

You may be in your second or third year of graduate school, and chances are good that you’re already setting long-term goals. Career-wise, you know where you want to be in ten years. But how do you get there? Here are a few tips for jump-starting your future career now while you’re in graduate school:

NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Graduate students new to the University of Nebraska—Lincoln who also research in the STEM fields may be eligible for a fellowship through the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP). Research fields include Engineering; Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering; Materials Research; Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry; Physics and Astronomy; Social Sciences; Psychology; STEM Education and Learning; Life Sciences; and Geosciences.

Preparing for the Job Market

You may be reading this on your first day of graduate school, but it’s never too early to think about your entry into the job market—whether you plan on taking an academic route or applying to jobs in the non-profit, government, or business sector. By thinking early on about how you’ll look to potential employers, you'll be prepared to differentiate yourself from other candidates. And no matter what type of a job you’re applying for, you’ll want to make the "first cut" (where employers read your CV or résumé and cover letter) and move on to the interview stage.

Your Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a 30–60 second summary of your research interests, main findings, and their importance to society. It's a good way to introduce yourself and your work, whether it's to professional colleagues at a conference or a job interview or just explaining your work to your neighbors and new acquaintances.

Write it out

When composing an elevator talk for the first time, writing it out will help you organize your thoughts and identify areas for improvement.

WRK4US Listserv

Update May 2010: WRK4US has transformed into The Versatile PhD.

Mentoring Workshops

UNL will host two outstanding faculty members from The Graduate School at Michigan State University:

Academic Job Postings

Searching for an academic position takes work. In fact, you might consider it a “job” without the fringe benefits. To a certain degree, your field of study and the type of position you’re searching for will determine when you start the process. But it’s safe to say that if you’re in the process of writing your dissertation, it’s never too early to start looking. Which begs the question: Where might you look? And how do you decipher the job posting?Generally, key information included in the announcement will help you determine if the position is a good fit.