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The following low-cost activities help students prepare for BIG careers. It is important to designate a faculty member as the graduate careers point person, and give them service credit for these activities.
- Graduate careers listserv
Computer support staff in the department can set up the listserv. Then the graduate director can post items announcing career fairs on campus, job ads that are relevant to mathematics students, links to events at the campus research park, etc.
- Career panels and round-table discussions for graduate students
These informal events can be held in-person or by Skype. Panelists can visit from
government labs or industry, either being invited especially for the panel or else piggybacking on an existing seminar visit. One can also invite alumni with industry or government experience.
- Advice and résumé critiquing service
Encourage students to take advantage of services offered at the career center.
- Recruiting visits to your department
Employer representatives visit campus all year round, especially at the time of career fairs. The career office staff can put you in touch with relevant recruiters, and you can invite the recruiters to visit the Mathematics department while on campus.
- Networking with scientists on campus
What contacts do your faculty members have in other departments? Would they like a mathematics graduate student to work in their lab for the summer?
- Networking with local employers
Get to know local employers who are open to the idea of hiring a mathematics graduate student. Talking to the technical staff (not the human resources staff) tends to be most productive, especially if someone on the technical staff holds a PhD in mathematics, physics, or theoretical engineering.
- Networking with national labs
Personal and regional contacts seem to help get a foot in the door. Do any faculty members have collaborators at a national lab? Do any alumni work at a national lab? Does your university have a special relationship with any of the national labs? Your vice president or Dean for research may be able to help provide the answers.
- Invite a speaker from industry
Mathematical scientists in industry are great ambassadors for the career opportunities open to your students. SIAM offers a roster of speakers through the SIAM Visiting Lecturer Program, which makes it easy for your department to spark activity and conversations for faculty members and students. Since in-person visits are difficult during the COVID pandemic, you could suggest an online presentation and informal discussions with students.
Additional recommendations can be found in the 2015 NSF-IPAM Workshop report.