PennLink has a new and improved look!

Mylène Kerschner, Associate Director

If you’ve logged into PennLink in the past couple of weeks, you’ve noticed things look a bit different. Things are cleaner and more easy to navigate now, but we thought you might appreciate a few general pointers regarding the new layout.

What’s the deal with this “Profile __% Complete” alert at the top of my screen?

Profile Percent Complete

Previously, employers could only see the documents you submitted directly to them via your applications. Now you have a profile similar to one you might have on LinkedIn. Click into the top part of the page to go into your profile and to edit it in order to increase your percentage complete. Your profile is still private, but you have the option to create a URL that you can opt to share with employers. Currently (as of Summer 2016), this is something that only you can send to employers. Employers cannot find it on their own.


By clicking “publish,” you will be able to click a link to create and share your URL:

Share it

Share Profile

One important thing to note here: while you can add a personal statement, update your education and include projects and experiences, you won’t be able to update your GPA on this page. To update your GPA you will need to click on “My Account” from the left toolbar.

My Account

Choose “Academic” to get to your Academic profile. Here you will be able to update your GPA. 

PennLink will also make smarter recommendations based on your searches:

Job Finder

And it’s even clearer to tell which jobs are OCR and which aren’t:

Campus Interview

You can also see the resume submission or job posting date along the right column.

It’s even easier to conduct and then save an advanced search, and now you can save more than twenty searches (the old version maxed out at 10). You can also create search agents which will send you an email when a new opportunity is posted that matches your criteria. Here’s a quick tutorial:

We think you’ll really like the new easy-to-use format of PennLink. If you have any questions at all about the system, about OCR, or really anything related to your summer or post-graduation plans, stop in to meet with a counselor, or schedule a phone or Skype call if you’re not in Philadelphia:

We’re looking forward to having you back on campus soon!

Have you missed these posts from the Carpe Careers blog?

Dr. Joseph Barber, Associate Director

The Carpe Careers blog on the Inside Higher Ed website is written by PhD career advisors for PhD students and postdocs, and covers all of the key information you need to know about as you are considering your career options and professional development strategies. Here are just a few of the posts from the last few months that you’ll want to read:

Professional identity and skills development

Your attitude is an important part of how you are evaluated by colleagues and employers. Keep a clear focus on being optimistic by having strategies to combat pessimism, and follow the advice of the author who states, “Don’t be a Professional Downer”. Professionalism is also key, and the process of “Ensuring Professional Success” is closely link to the steps you can take to develop a professional reputation.

If you find your own research a little isolating sometimes, then finding opportunities to work in a team-based environment that is big on collaboration will be essential. Collaboration is “An Imperative for Graduate Students”.

The post “Exploring Your Skills” highlights approaches that PhD students have taken to discover and apply skills they may not be used to talking about or using by getting involved in experiences beyond their thesis research.

Several posts talk about the benefits of effective relationships with people who can support your research and your own professional developing. “Managing You Advisor” is obviously very important, but your advisor isn’t the only person who can or should support you.  You may also find it helpful to set up a “Job-Search Buddy System” with a group of your peers, or reach out to an even wider range of allies – after all, “It Takes a Village”.

One of the most sought after skills that employers are interested in across industries is critical thinking – including the idea of effective decision making. Practice your decision-making skills when it comes to your own career paths by reading about “How to Decide What to Do Next”.

If you are trying to make career decisions, then it helps if you are also “Cultivating a Career Calling” to understand the types of career paths that will resonate with the way you see yourself. You’ll find great steps you can take to do this within this post.

Applying and Interviewing

In your rush to apply for jobs that interest you, one author cautions that you should “Stay Inside the Lines” when it comes to actually submitting your application materials – and explains why this is important. It will also be important to understand the “Anatomy of a Job Ad” by closely scrutinizing what an employer has written, as this will be the best way to tailor your information to meet their needs.

Don’t forget to be an active listener as well as a great speaker during interviews, as both are involved in effective communication. Read “Interview Success Through Better Listening” to find out more.

If you are looking to ace your next interview, then make sure that you are comfortable with yourself. Preparing answers to questions you know will be asked will always be helpful, but for some questions there are “No Correct Answers”. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the better your performance during the interview will be, and you may find it helpful to think of “Interviewing as Performance Art”.

At the end of the application and interviewing process the goal is to get an offer on the table. Once an offer has been made, the process of negotiation can begin – and this should be done positively and confidently. Avoid some of the pitfalls of this process by understanding the different between your “Worth vs. Value in Job Negotiations”.

Can Pre-health Students Go Abroad?

Yes, many pre-health students find a rewarding way to study, conduct research, work or volunteer abroad.  It may not seem possible when you consider all of your required coursework and campus commitments, but with a little planning, it can be done.  These are some of the most common paths our pre-health students take to experience life in another country:

Penn Study Abroad – a traditional semester or year of study in another country.  Some students choose programs related to health or science, others not at all.  Whatever you choose is fine, but remember the requirements for health professions schools need to be taken in the U.S.

Penn Short Term Abroad – summer study abroad and short-term learning experiences.  From a summer of international study to service learning and leadership ventures, Penn sponsors a number of opportunities if you want to “go global” outside of your regular class schedule.

International Clinical Volunteering Programs – opportunities to help provide healthcare abroad, from 10 days to a year.  Do evaluate the expense and safety of each program.

Penn International Internship Program – 8-12 week long internships and funding for internships abroad.  Survey a list of previous participants for examples related to healthcare.

International Fellowships – A number of fellowships, such as the Fulbright or Gates Cambridge Scholarship, fund study or research abroad.  CURF is your stepping stone for applying to them.  It is not at all uncommon for our applicants to health professions schools to delay their application to take advantage of a post-graduate opportunity in another country.