A Few Handshake Updates and Reminders

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been successfully using Handshake for almost six months. We’ve had over 10,000 students and alumni activate their accounts, approved over 7,600 employers to use the system, and had over 12,000 jobs and internships posted for Penn students and alumni. (In case you are curious, the top job functions have been education/teaching, finance, data & analytics, business development, and research – but there are lots of others!)

We hope the Handshake system has been working well for you! As a reminder, we wanted to post a few ways that you can optimize the system over the winter break to make it even more effective!

  • Complete your profile! If you haven’t already done so, take a few minutes to add details to your profile about your work experience, activities, educational background, and skills. You can even upload your resume so you don’t have to start from scratch. Once your profile looks great, you can make your profile public to employers so that they can find you for positions for which you might be a strong candidate. (If you have already finalized your plans and are not currently seeking, you can make your profile private so that you are not contacted.) As a new feature, you can also make your profile public to other Penn students and check out profiles from classmates who have opted to share theirs. Handshake can be a powerful networking tool.
  • Fill out the Career Interests section completely! The more Handshake knows about your career interests, the more effective it will be at populating your homepage with opportunities that are a good fit for you. Be sure to indicate what type of opportunities interest you (job, internship, networking, volunteering, etc.), the industries and job functions of interest to you, and where you want to live. Also, take a few minutes to indicate which CareerMail Communications you would like to receive. These are industry based e-newsletters sent out by the Career Services staff on a regular basis. It is one of the primary communication channels we are using this year, so don’t miss out on it.
  • Take a look at the Resources tab to find other career related resources available to you as a Penn student.
  • RSVP for events! (We will have lots more events listed in the spring once we get our room assignments from facilities!)
  • Schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor through the on-line scheduling system.
  • Download the mobile app, so you can do all of these things on the go! (Note that currently a mobile app is only available for the iPhone – an Android app is in the works- but even without the app Handshake’s website is mobile ready.)

Career advice for PhD students/postdocs on the Carpe Careers blog

By Dr. Joseph Barber

Are you looking for career advice that is focused on PhD students and postdocs? Do you have questions about how to navigate through your PhD program or your postdoc appointment to set yourself up for career success? Here is a summary of some of the recent posts you can find from the Carpe Careers blog on the Inside Higher Ed website over the last few months with answers for you!

Do you want great abs and a job in career fields beyond faculty roles? Find out why looking for quick fixes and easy options isn’t always going to be your best strategy by reading “5 tips for flat abs and an industry job”. There are no shortcuts when it comes to training for a marathon, but you may find that the same approaches you use for your fitness training can be equally helpful in your job search – read “why you should job search like a runner” to find out how.

Exploring your own skills, interests, and values requires a fair amount of introspection…, but that doesn’t mean you have go through this self-assessment and exploration process all by yourself. Read “You’re not alone” to find resources and support to help you figure out what comes next from a career perspective.

If you are finding your dissertation all-consuming in terms of the amount of time you are spending on it, then heed the advice in “Don’t let your dissertation run your life” to make sure that you are not missing out on professional development opportunities that might be helpful in your future job search. It is perfectly natural, after completing a 70-80 hour a week postdoc, to find careers that offer a more reasonable work-life balance to be very attractive. Be careful how you bring this subject up in job interviews, though, because there can be a risk of miscommunication. Read “How to discuss work-life balance” to get some insights on how to navigate these conversations with employers. And if you really want research to be part of your “life” even if it isn’t part of your daily work, then read “Crafting a research practice after the PhD” to learn about ways to continue to do research outside of an academic setting.

Employers in a diverse range of career fields often talk about their desire to find candidates with “leadership experiences”. While focusing on independent research may not seem to offer many opportunities to demonstrate leadership, your research, and the many volunteer experiences you have outside of your research, can help you to market your leadership skills. Read “Making leadership and service count in the job search” to find out how. And if you are looking for ways to be a better leader in your academic settings, then the post “On gratitude and leadership” provides some helpful insights.

Being a successful leader requires an ability to thinking strategically, communicate effectively, and build relationships with different groups of stakeholders. My organizations are highlighting their desire to find candidates who can also demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The post “Getting up to speed on diversity” provides useful information on ways that graduate students can talk about this subject confidently and authentically.

There are new Carpe Careers posts added every Monday – make sure you visit www.insidehighered.com/career-advice/carpe-careers to get the relevant advice you need.

Take Some Time This Summer for Self-Assessment Using SIGI3

Some students arrive at college already having a pretty clear idea of what career path they plan to pursue and the path winds up being fairly straight forward and linear. For the majority of students, however, that is not the case, and the path has many twists and turns. Students may take an amazing class and discover whole new career areas they had never even thought about. Others might land an internship thinking it would be a great fit, but discover that the day-to-day work just wasn’t quite as interesting as anticipated. Some students may simply find a particular path extremely hard to break into, so would like to widen the scope of careers they are considering to increase the number of possibilities available.

There are many reasons why people choose to assess their career options and the summer is an ideal time for self-assessment and exploring how your values, skills and interests relate to a variety of occupations. Luckily for Penn students, Career Services offers a great FREE tool to help you explore your options. SIGI3 (System of Integrated Guidance and Information) helps students create a career plan that’s right for them by integrating self-assessment with in-depth and updated career information that is easy to use and provides individuals with a realistic view of the best educational and career options for future success. SIGI3 helps each user examine key motivators and matches work-related values, interests, personality, and skills to educational and career pathways, and then helps individuals explore a range of options based on their personal choices.

Career Services has purchased a license for Penn students to use SIGI3 for free. Student can access it from the Digital Resources link on the Career Services home page. (Note you must use your PennKey to gain access.) Enjoy the exploration!

Embarrass Yourself This Summer

Natty Leach, Associate Director A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across Mike Boyd’s Youtube channel dedicated to learning new, often frivolous, skills. The first video I came across, for instance, focused on an MIT physicist’s peculiar ability to quickly make a dotted line across a chalk board. 

For the chalk trick, it only takes Mike a few minutes; other videos chronicle upwards of 8 hours of attempts. Regardless of the task at hand, every video shows him starting from scratch with what some might consider embarrassing results. And that’s what I found most impressive about these videos—through every failure, no matter how public, he betters himself until reaching the goal in mind. So this summer, I recommend that you do something completely new and different, even if it feels embarrassing to try at first. Whether you’re busy at a new internship or just taking a break this summer, do something you’ve never done before, no matter how big or small, and relish in eventually conquering it. If you’re not as bold as Mike and would rather do some trial and error before hitting the big stage, here are a couple of projects that you can easily do, embarrassment-free, from the comfort of your couch: A small thing to easily familiarize yourself with this summer: Handshake – Career Services’ new job and internship platform. Handshake Mastering Handshake will only take you a couple of minutes. Check out our Handshake Hints on getting started. If there’s anything I can stress, it’s completing your profile and marking some career interests. Handshake’s homepage shows you opportunities that are molded around your interests so the more choose, the more you’ll see. A bigger project you could tackle: Anything on Lynda, a tutorial database that’s free to Penn students. Lynda.com Lynda has a ton great, skill-oriented tracks you can follow along with. Most videos are digestibility small (10-20 minutes) while full collections can total 40+ hours of hands-on training. Last year, I took a few courses on drawing, game design, and JavaScript.

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Advice for PhDs and Postdocs from Carpe Careers

By Dr. Joseph Barber

The Carpe Careers blog on the Inside Higher Ed website is written by PhD/postdoc career advisors from institutions across North America. The bite-sized advice offered is rich with steps you can take to make the most of your professional and career development. Here are just some highlights over the last few months:

  • Needed: Flexible Mentors in Science: Adriana Bankston provides advice for how research scientists can positively influence the personal and professional development of the trainees who work in their labs.
  • Immerse Yourself with Intention: Short, intense interactions with organizations where you might want to work can provide career insights, but how do you make the most of those experiences? Laura N. Schram shares four best practices.
  • Using Assessments for Career “Fit”: Stephanie K. Eberle outlines the misconceptions about assessments in career counseling and advises how to use them most effectively.
  • Your Ph.D. Experience Is Great Work Experience — Part 2: Attending to the impression you make in graduate school is a great investment in your long-term career, argues Briana Mohan.
  • Your Ph.D. Experience Is Great Work Experience — Part I: Contrary to popular and judgmental opinion, your doctoral experience is some of the best real-world working experience you can get, writes Briana Mohan.
  • Using Job Ads for Career Exploration: Reviewing advertisements of all sorts can help you identify appealing job types and sectors that you may never even have heard of, advises Derek Attig.
  • Seeking Grants: More than Money: Pursuing funding support as a graduate student or postdoc can help your career — and in more ways than one, writes Victoria McGovern.
  • The Menagerie of Potential Employers: It’s important to realize that employers see the world differently than you do and to understand their specific emotional states, advises Joseph Barber.
  • Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Mentor: Pallavi Eswara raises the most important ones — and also provides some answers.
  • Perfecting Your Panel Interview Game: Job interviews with groups of people are quite different than one-on-ones with individuals, and you never quite know what will happen. Saundra Loffredo gives some helpful advice.
  • Help Is Right at Hand: Never again after graduate school will you have access to so many free, high-quality career development services, writes Melissa Dalgleish, who advises how to make the most of what your campus offers.
  • Building Your Personal Brand: Just as corporations try to establish a memorable brand, Ph.D. students and postdocs seeking new opportunities should work to create a lasting impression, writes Gaia Vasiliver-Shamis.
  • Mastering the Art of Presenting: Being able to give an effective presentation is essential to your career success, writes Christine Kelly, who provides six pointers on how to do so.
  • Your Job Is Not You: How can you shift away from mind-sets that equate identity with academic work? And in doing so, can you relieve anxiety about exploring unfamiliar career pathways? Sarah Peterson provides some answers.
  • Why Career Self-Assessments Matter: Determining what your skills are, what you enjoy doing and what is important to you is fundamental to career development, writes Natalie Lundsteen.

Posts are published every Monday on the Carpe Careers blog, and so make the most of these career perspectives relevant to your career development, exploration, and job applications.