The OPTIONS Program

The OPTIONS Program is an initiative to support all engineering graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in exploring diverse career options. It consists of a: 1) Cohort Program and 2) Complementary Events.

Cohort Program

Take a deep dive into career management and join a supportive community of like-minded graduate students and postdoctoral fellows exploring career possibilities. The Cohort Program is a nine week, non-credit program facilitated by faculty and professional development experts. The program provides:

  1. Nine, two-hour, online, live sessions that create a structured career exploration experience
  2. A short instructional video on resumes and cover letters for viewing on your own time
  3. Two career management tools to develop an individualized, career plan
  4. A one-on-one, 30 min meeting with a career coach (optional)
  5. A one-on-one, 20 min resume and cover letter review with an instructor (optional)
  6. A one-on-one, 30 min meeting with an engineering professor (optional)
  7. A mock interview, personalized feedback on your interview skills, and access to an interview preparation toolkit
  8. An informational interview, a mechanism to establish at least one alumni contact in a field of interest, and a database of informational interview questions
  9. A Peer Success Team to support your career exploration

In addition to the programming, resources, and one-on-one meetings listed above, participants who complete the program (attend seven of nine sessions) receive:

  1. A digital certificate of completion approved by the Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies and the Faculty Convenor.
  2. Four credits for the My Graduate Professional Development (MyGPD) initiative at the School of Graduate Studies.
  3. Join a community of 200 OPTIONS alumni from six cohorts that are working in industry and completing their degree, and gain access to an exclusive OPTIONS LinkedIn Group.

The cohort program is open to MEng students, PhD students (who have completed qualifying and/or comprehensive exams), and postdoctoral fellows who want to develop their professional skills and explore career options. Involvement in the program requires participants attend all sessions, actively engage in discussions, and support their peers’ career preparation.

The next cohort program will be offered in Fall 2021. More details will be available in August.

 

Complementary Events

In addition to the Cohort Program, there are complementary events throughout the year open to all engineering graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. These events provide an introduction to the school-to-work transition, tools to develop skills critical to the success of a professional, and a venue to network with engineering graduate alumni.

EventDayTime (ET)LocationRegistration
Intentional Career Exploration for Engineers in Uncertain Times Thurs May 62:00 - 3:30 pmOnline
Creating a Resume for Industry JobsWed May 191:00 - 2:30 pmOnline

 

 

Resources

Navigating a Job Search in Uncertain Times: Practical Tips and Inspiring Stories from Engineering Masters and PhD Alumni – View the Career Buzz Podcast recording here.

 

What participants have said about the program

  • The OPTIONS Program provided me with a how-to guide on exploring next steps. I am more confident in reaching out to individuals in different positions to learn about their career paths. I left the program with a better understanding and ability to market my skills and strengths gained throughout my education. (PhD, BME)
  • The OPTIONS Program helped me understand my skills from childhood to adulthood by realizing common patterns. It aided me to widen my career possibilities as opposed to the classic ‘industry vs academia’ approach after PhD. (PhD, ECE)
  • I was in the middle of my career exploration when I joined The OPTIONS Program. For me the program highlighted the possibilities outside of the more “well traveled” career paths and I felt empowered to explore these. Through the program I was able to recognize all my skills and how these are of great value for my chosen direction in life. (Postdoctoral Fellow, UTIAS)
  • The OPTIONS program gave me the tools to reflect on my career story from different marketable perspectives. The course helped me to define, schedule, and practice clear and concise actions to create job opportunities aligned with my core values. The introspection was guided by instructors with different fields of expertise. The diversity of their knowledge and experiences were an advantage that benefited me to observe more job possibilities and to have a better understanding of the path to follow during my transition from academia to industry. (Postdoctoral Fellow, ChemE)

Questions? Contact:

Teresa Didiano
Graduate Professional Development Coordinator, Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering
t.didiano@utoronto.ca

 

 

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