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Self-Assessment Resources

Northwestern Career Advancement offers 60-minute career counseling appointments for PhD students and recent alums who are exploring different career paths. You can schedule these appointments via Handshake (select Choosing a Career Path), and a career counselor will help you assess your skills, values, interests, and goals for the next stage in your professional development.

Several online resources for PhDs can also help with self-assessment:

Beyond the Professoriate’s Training Platform

Beyond the Professoriate’s Training Platform is an e-learning platform where graduate students and postdocs can explore career options and learn job search strategies to secure employment in academia and beyond. Through two programs of study – Faculty Careers and Professional Careers – students and postdocs are empowered to make informed decisions about their career path and learn successful job search strategies from other PhDs. Northwestern has a subscription to this resource, and you can access it using your Northwestern credentials.


ImaginePhD is a free online career exploration and planning tool for PhD students and postdocs in the humanities and social sciences. Users can assess their career-related skills, interests, and values; explore careers paths; create self-defined goals; and map out next steps for career and professional development success.


myIDP is a unique, web-based career-planning tool tailored to meet the needs of PhD students and postdocs in the sciences. By applying the principles of an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to career development, this free resource provides exercises to help you examine your skills, interests, and values; a tool for setting strategic goals for the coming year, with optional reminders to keep you on track; and articles and resources to guide you through the process.

Intersect Job Simulations

Intersect Job Simulations engages with an individual’s interests and extrapolates these interests to job functions or tasks in actual professional settings in different industries and sectors. While the simulations do not evaluate an individual’s performance on the task, they offer insight into the specific, real-life duties of varying career paths and help you decide if these are skills you want to leverage as well as identify areas for further professional growth.