The (Adaptable, Resourceful, Multitalented) Versatile PhD

Graduate students and postdocs may be aware of Career Services’ many resources on academic careers and the academic job search.  But are you also familiar with the resources we have for PhDs/ABDs who are considering a career beyond academia? The Versatile PhD is one of the valuable tools Career Services provides to help you in your decision making and your job hunting.

The Versatile PhD is a web-based resource that you can use anytime, from any computer.  It includes:

  • A thriving, supportive web-based community where you can participate in discussions, network with real “Versatile PhDs” (humanists, social scientists and STEM trained individuals working outside the academy) or, if you prefer, just read and learn.
  • An online collection of compelling first-person narratives written by Versatile PhDs who describe how they established their post-academic careers and give their best advice for you.
  • An associated LinkedIn group where you can begin to build an online presence and network with Versatile PhDs in a wide variety of fields.
  • Free online “Career Panel” discussions where Versatile PhDs working in a given field share their specific professional experiences in that field and answer questions from members. Online panels in 2012 included Careers in Market Research, Careers in Corporate and Institutional Research and Careers in Program Evaluation.  Panels from prior years are archived on the site.

Coming up on November 12-16, 2012:  Entrepreneurship for STEM PhDs featuring STEM PhDs currently running businesses they started from the ground up, or working in small start-ups.  The panel is presented in an asynchronous format; participate anytime during the week.

University of Pennsylvania graduate students and postdocs have access to all the content areas on the website, including the upcoming panel  – go to the Career Services Reference Library (on the left side of Career Services homepage) and click on Online Subscriptions.  You will be asked to provide your PennKey and password to access The Versatile PhD.

By the Book: New Additions to the Career Services Library

by J. Michael DeAngelis, Information Resources Manager

The Career Services library is open during our regular business hours, Monday – Friday from 9am-5pm.  It’s a great place to come and study during finals and to take advantage of some of the amazing print resources we have.  Here are a few of our latest acquisitions:

The Ten Day MBA by Steven Silbiger (3rd edition) – Billed as “a step-by-step guide to mastering the skills taught in America’s top business schools,” this is an extremely popular book for those about to enter the world of business but don’t have an exclusively business background.  The book covers everything from understanding finical statements to developing corporate strategies.   Easy to read, this book will help anyone get on the same page as those with an advanced business degree.


Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) 2012-2013 – from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The preeminent and reliable resource on medical schools just got better. MSAR’s printed guidebook includes abridged profiles of each medical school, while comprehensive listings of U.S. and Canadian medical schools, and baccalaureate/MD programs appear online. (The guidebook includes a unique code which can be entered for one year of unlimited access to the web site.) On the MSAR web site, you’ll be able to perform advanced searches, sort data, browse schools at a glance, save favorites, compare schools, and access more data and information than ever before. MSAR is the only resource fully authorized by medical schools and is a must for anyone interested in perusing a medical degree after graduation.


The NALP Directory of Legal Employers 2010/2011 – from the Association of Legal Career Professionals.  NALP’s most widely used Directory features information on more than 1,500 employers. The front of the book includes indexes by location and practice area keyword. For the most up-to-date version of this Directory, including employers who listed after the print edition was published, visit (The entire database is replaced annually — at about the same time the print edition is released — but employers can continue to change their online listings throughout the year.) While the online version allows searches, comparison charts, and creation of mail merge lists, the print edition remains a valuable companion resource.

Accelerating on the Curves: The Artist’s Roadmap to Success by Katharine T. Carter & Associates – The definitive guide to self-marketing and career advancement for artists. The 363 page volume is anchored by Katharine T. Carter’s detailed roadmap approach to building an exhibition record and advancing from local and regional success to a path toward national recognition. Also included are numerous practical guidelines and approaches to marketing and presentation–sample pitch letters, artist statements, press releases and résumés, as well as protocols and advice on the best ways to effectively approach and communicate with professionals in each sector of the art world. In addition, individual contributions by the company’s distinguished Associates cover a broad range of issues and professional development topics. And finally, a comprehensive, up-to-date Information Resources index provides a wealth of useful research tools, publications, contacts and professional services essential to artists. A perfect companion for fine artists at both the BFA and MFA levels.


A Day in the Life: College Instructor

Read Ceceilia Berkowitz’s archived tweet feed here:

Teaching isn’t just for the K-12 level, many colleges and universities offer teaching positions for individuals with graduate degrees – and you don’t need to have a Ph.D. necessarily either.  Next week on Wednesday, March 30th @PennCareerDay on Twitter welcomes Ceceilia Berkowitz who teaches higher education courses in New Jersey.  Follow her to learn about this great career path and how she’s managed to transition from a private sector career into one in education.  To learn more about Ceceilia, read below and don’t forget to follow her on the 30th!

Ceceilia Berkowitz (C ’00, W  ’00) is a College Mathematics, Statistics, and Business Mathematics Instructor at several Northern NJ Colleges.  She currently is teaching 18 developmental math credits this Spring semester at William Paterson University and Union County College.  In recent years, she has also been tutoring high potential minority and international low-income undergraduate students in math and business subjects for the Educational Opportunity Fund Program at Seton Hall University.  She has also taught Business Calculus and Developmental Math at other schools including Seton Hall University and Felician College.

As a Class of 2000 graduate of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at Penn, Ceceilia is also considering teaching College Business courses or even French courses as her schedule permits at the nearby colleges.  She has been working for Medows CPA, PLLC, a boutique New York City accounting firm as a Training Manager, with Senior Accountant and Marketing Assistant responsibilities.

In addition to her Penn undergraduate degrees, Ceceilia has an MBA in Professional Accounting from Rutgers Business School, where she was a Dean’s Scholarship Recipient.  She has over four years of work experience in telephone and E-commerce sales and customer service at Tiffany & Co, Weichert Realtors, and MetLife, mostly before she entered the 2007-2008 MBA program.  She also has worked in jobs and internships, mainly in accounting and finance at the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Merrill Lynch, Prudential’s 1999 IPO Team in the Controller’s Office, a medium-sized NJ CPA firm, and (now part of Yahoo!).

At Penn, Ceceilia was involved as Treasurer of the Women’s Club Tennis Team, participated in Wharton Women, visited nursing homes with Penn students in Bridges Community Service group, played French Horn her Freshman year in the Penn Wind Ensemble and also in the Penn Law School production of Guys & Dolls, lived in the Maison Francaise French House on-campus residence her Senior year, and studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, during the second semester of her Junior year.  She also enjoyed Penn’s campus social life at the local restaurants and coffee shops, and parties of all kinds at frat houses, friends’ apartments, and at the Huntsman Program office, as well as occasionally attending Penn Football and Basketball games.  She mainly studied in the main Penn library on various floors, though also occasionally at Center City Xando Cosi locations and Bucks County Coffee, both Wharton buildings at the time, as well as some solitary studying in the upstairs very heated mathematics library in DRL. She frequently explored Center City restaurants and shops including her favorite restaurant Monks Cafe, and the Liberty Place JCrew.

Follow Ceceilia on Twitter for more information – @ceceilia


A Day in the Life: Web Design & Marketing

Read Jillian Kuhn’s archived tweet feed here:

There’s more to websites than meets the eye – Who built the site? What is the site’s goal? What are the results?  On Thursday, February 24th, alum Jillian Kuhn will tweet for @PennCareerDay about her day with Viget Labs.  If you’re interested in web design, marketing or growing a business online – follow Jillian this week! Learn more about Jillian below.

Jillian Kuhn

Jillian Kuhn is a web project manager for Viget Labs (, a mid-sized agency that specializes in web and mobile visual design, development, user experience design, and marketing.

As a project manager, Jillian is responsible for project planning and execution. She is the lead consultant — overseeing the budgets, schedules, strategy, and deliverables of her team, as well as managing client communication.

On any given day, Jillian is actively leading several diverse projects. Her clients range from non-profits to start-ups to big brands, and they span industries from entertainment to healthcare to higher education.

Jillian graduated magna cum laude from the School of Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in Communication. Prior to working with the web, Jillian was a television promotions producer for local news affiliates.

To connect with Jillian, follow her on Twitter – @jillyk, or find her on LinkedIn –

Ac-cen-tchu-ate the Positive & Eliminate the Negative

By Claire Klieger

This 1940s Johnny Mercer song (catchy, in the hey, I can’t get this out of my head way) offers sound advice as we approach the spring OCR season. Recently, I’ve spoken with so many students who are concerned about things that they worry make them less competitive: a slightly lower GPA, lack of experience, and…dare I say it…not being in Wharton. Because the process is so competitive and therefore intimidating, there is temptation to try and explain away these perceived faults on a resume or, especially, in a cover letter. This is a BAD idea.

Here’s why…

Much like those pesky zits we all get from time to time, chances are these flaws are much more noticeable to you than they would be to any employer. In fact, it’s possible that what you see as a possible negative isn’t even something that has occurred to the employer. All hiring managers consider a wide range of factors and they are thinking about the things that you do bring to the table, not what you are lacking. Discussing “blemishes” in any way only shines a brighter spot light on the issue (kind of like the green colored pimple concealer that was popular when I was in high school—seriously, what were they thinking?).

You have very limited space on your resume and cover letter to get across the message you want. Why would you want to waste any of it on something negative? Think about it—would you want to hire someone who starts off a paragraph by saying, “Even though I’m not in Wharton…” or “The poor grades from last semester do not accurately reflect my potential”? Trust me, there is no explanation you can offer that would in any way make you look like a strong candidate. Your chance to explain anything (if and only if an employer brings it up–because if they don’t bring it up, they don’t care) is during an interview.

As the song says, you are much better off focusing on the positive attributes you bring. Tell them about all of the things that make you a great candidate for the position. You obviously think you could do the job or internship and there are reasons for that. Use your documents as a way to Ac-cen-tchu-ate whatever great qualities, skills or experiences that you bring. In other words, only include what would come after the proverbial “but” in one of those negative starting sentences. The more you can e-lim-in-ate the negative (see, it’s stuck in your head already, isn’t it?), the better off you’ll be.