Blog post

7 Actions to Build Essential Graduate Skills

September 1, 2022
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By GradProSkills

Action Plan

As we begin our graduate studies, many of us feel an overwhelming sense of pressure. Today, the stakes at the graduate level are higher than ever before and fueled by an expectation to achieve originality. This intense feeling of pressure might stem from the fact that you’ve now entered a competition between a smaller pool of higher qualified candidates.

Now ask yourself: how do I advance in the competitive world of graduate studies? Knowing the resources you have and what actions you can take to develop stronger graduate-level skills is the first step to answering this question and propelling you to stand out.

These 7 actions will help you to take the first step in building essential graduate skills:

1. Get informed about your department, faculty and university.

Know the services and resources available to you and make use of university e-mailing contact lists. You can also connect with a Welcome Crew Mentor to help navigate Concordia’s services and help you find the right resources on Campus throughout your studies.

2. Become a smarter reader!

One of the best resources to graduate students at Concordia is Concordia’s Writing Centre and GradProSkills Success in Graduate School workshops. The Student Success Centre's Writing Centre can help with personalized advice on clarity, flow and expression for any written assignment. You can also join the Meet & Write writing group to establish a structured routine where you can focus on your writing and practice setting goals. GradProSkills also offers many workshops on graduate-level research and writing skills. If you are later in your program sign up for our Thesis Boost 3-day Writing Retreat.

learning essential skills

3. Get comfortable talking about your work

Try writing a blog; check out your discipline’s society publication/magazine; or present at conferences in your field. If you want personal coaching on your pitch sign-up for the 3MT & MT180 Competitions.

4. Find an established lab or research interest group that aligns with your research interests

If you can’t find a group or forum that suits you, start your own! Surrounding yourself with other students with similar interests will motivate you, help you build a network, and strengthen your research.

5. Take advantage of your city! 

With multiple universities, Montreal is one of the top cities in North America to be a graduate student. There are many Montreal-wide research groups available: look for speaker series in different departments at Concordia, browse the websites of your department in other Montreal universities, and search online for innovation centers, professional associations or start-up business incubators (such as District 3) that are related to your work.

6. Make the first move. 

Don’t be afraid to write to people in your field and meet them for a coffee. You never know where reaching out can lead you. If you would like tips on how to get the works done and take that one step, join our workshop on strategies to overcome procrastination. The Professional and Effective Email Writing is another option if you are seeking best practices in email writing and organization, within the Canadian work culture.

7. Stay involved

Remember, when you’re involved and visible, good things will come to you and pay off.

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