What are potential employers looking for in Ph.D. graduates?
Depending on the type of job, potential employers are looking for evidence of productivity, creativity, trainability, and ability to work independently or in groups.
Does productivity refer to publications and is that the most important part of my professional record?
Yes in both cases. Independent funding is also considered.
How much will my grades count in obtaining jobs after I earn my Ph.D.?
Surprisingly, very little. Potential employers will pay little attention to your grades. However, most graduates undertake postdoctoral training and grades can influence competitiveness for fellowship awards.
But won’t it count for something that I have a 4.0 GPA as a graduate student?
Yes, but not much. Good grades do impress funding agencies, both internal and external, to help you get assistantships or fellowships both during and after graduate school. Even though postdoctoral fellowship applications usually include your transcript, your grades will not likely be considered as the major criterion for funding. Graduate school serves as a transition during which the criteria by which you were judged during most of your academic career, i.e., grades, marks, test scores, and GPA, are replaced by new standards—research publications and presentations, recommendation letters from those who know your work, and your ability to define a scientific problem and design and execute experiments to address it.
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