Photo of a stack of notebooksEarlier this week, our authors put together a list of some of the top tech gifts for grad students. Today, they’re focusing on gifts to make the path to professionalization as a graduate student that much easier.

Ashley – Custom Business Cards: One of the most basic ways to network and make an impression is to have a business card. Give your beloved grad a gift certificate to so they can design their own!

Liz – Wireless Laser Presentation Pointer: These handy gadgets simplify the lives of graduate students by making presentations go more smoothly. This one by Kensington is my favorite, but many brands make them, and they are relatively inexpensive!

Leather-bound “idea books”: I call them idea books because they’re where I take my spur-of-the-moment notes to be filed later, and because I have them with me at all times (in case I am suddenly struck with an idea). Moleskins are my favorites, but really any small book with a durable cover that’s relatively transportable fits the bill!

Kaitlin – Tablet cover or laptop bag: As grad students head to conferences, interviews, and meetings around campus, a nice looking bag to carry their items in is something that many grad students would like to have, but may not have the money to purchase. There are many different styles, colours, designs, and price points to choose from to suit your grad student’s needs and that can be found in a variety of stores.

Andrea – Professional Head Shot: As grad students building a professional identity, we’ve all heard about the need for an integrated and professional digital identity. That poorly cropped head shot from the department Holiday party is not going to cut it. Consider springing for a professional portrait sitting. Do one better and also offer to help with a makeover, whether it be haircut, clothing, or anything to help make the pictures stand up to professional scrutiny.

Practice Networking: This one is free!! Grad students often need practice selling themselves to the job market, both in and out of academia. One of the best ways to practice this is to role play with someone who may or may not have intimate knowledge of the student’s topics of study. Spending time role playing the elevator speech, a mock interview, or networking an industry event is invaluable. If you can, go one step further and think through your own professional network—any potential matchmaking you can do? Personal connections can go a long way.

[Image by Flickr user Omar C used under creative commons licensing.]


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