[Image via Flickr user Vicky Brock and used under creative commons license]

In case you’re still doing your holiday shopping or, like many of us grad students, haven’t even thought about it yet, here is part one of our handy gift guide for graduate students. Graduate students can be difficult to shop for- often our needs can be different and we don’t have too much time to make extensive lists. All our posts this week will be dedicated to sharing ideas for grad student gifts. Today is professional gifts!

Julie Platt

1. A “professional” looking briefcase, messenger bag, or tote. It’s important to look pulled together for job interviews and campus visits, even if your normal style is more casual. A nice looking leather or nylon bag in a neutral color is essential for men and women on the job market. Ebags.com is a good resource.

2. A nice-looking padfolio. This is another job market essential-a padded folder with paper for making notes and pockets to keep sample syllabuses, information on schools, et cetera. Make sure it’s of a size that will fit in your aforementioned bag.

Kaitlin Gallagher

1. A functional work bag is the best option because it can be brought to conferences or interviews. Usually items such as these are luxuries, but carrying around the bag we’ve had since undergrad doesn’t always leave the best impression. Ideally it will look sleek on the outside with many, many pockets on the inside.

Jason Heppler

1. On Writing Well by William Zinsser. Zinsser has been teaching nonfiction writing since the 1970s and his book is an excellent resource for anyone writing in the genre. Among the books about writing I own, it’s one of my favorites.

2. Getting Things Done by David Allen. Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin are in the middle of a Getting Things Done arc where they are revisiting Allen’s GTD system on the Back to Work podcast. I have been rereading my heavily dog-eared copy, and Allen’s system has lots of ideas about managing tasks and projects that can easily be applied to managing work in graduate school.

Katy Meyers

1. Business cards are a great gift, and while you can’t really buy them, you can give a gift card to a local printing place or the university store so that your grad can buy them. Getting a cool case for the cards is also nice! My dad got me this Edgar Allen Poe and Skeleton one- which is perfect since I study human remains.

2. Having a ‘fancy’ version of a water bottle is usually a good purchase. I have a beat up pink Camelbak bottle that I love for working out, carrying to classes and using when I’m out in the field doing archaeology. It’s not conference appropriate, so I suggest getting them a nice glass waterbottle that they can carry around!

What professional gifts do you suggest for a grad student?


2 Responses to GradHacker Gift Guide: Professional

  1. LAM says:

    I second Jason’s recommendation of On Writing Well, and I’d add Williams and Colomb’s Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace.

  2. Fill out the baby book. Though be careful what you write about the birth. I’ve seen moms jinx themselves by writing a certain day or month. But you can fill out the pregnancy information or the family tree. Again it is a nice focusing technique that can leave you able to stop for contractions and employ comfort measures as needed. If you don’t have a baby book or this doesn’t appeal to you, try writing your baby a letter.

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