A New and Improved PhD and Postdoc Careers Webpage!

One of the exciting projects that I was working on this past summer and early fall was revamping our webpage for PhDs and postdocs in collaboration with my colleagues. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our new Ph.D./Postdoc Careers page! This new webpage centralizes all job and career-related resources for Penn doctoral students and postdocs. It’s structured into three main sections to help you easily find the information you’re looking for.

Here’s a quick run-down of how you can use the webpage:

If you’re currently in a PhD program or postdoc and have questions about which career paths would interest you or how you should prepare for your career, check out the Making the Most of Your Ph.D./Postdoc page. It features a four-step career exploration process to guide you in identifying and preparing for careers that would be a strong fit for your interests.

Are you actively applying for academic jobs and/or jobs beyond academia? The Searching, Applying, Interviewing & Negotiating for Jobs page contains information on the entire job search process for postdoc/faculty careers as well as careers beyond academia. You can find resources on preparing your job application materials as well as preparing for job interviews and negotiations.

If you are looking to find out what Career Services can offer you, take a look at the Taking Advantage of Career Services page, which lists all of our services for doctoral students and postdocs—from one-on-one advising to workshops to digital career resources.

We hope you’ll check out our new webpage—you’ll see below some testimonials from your fellow peers on their experiences using the webpage in our focus group.

The Graduate Student and Postdoc Team at Career Services is eager to help you in all aspects of your career exploration and planning process, for jobs in academia and beyond, so make an appointment to see us!

“The breakdown of the four-step Career Exploration Process on the Making the Most of Your Ph.D./Postdoc page was helpful in clarifying what had initially seemed nebulous to me, and it allowed me to move through the steps systematically without feeling overwhelmed.” –Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English

“I found the Professionalize and Gain Experience page extremely useful because it lists several concrete ways in which one can gain work experience at Penn that extends beyond academia.” –Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Linguistics

“I gravitated towards the Making the Most of Your PhD page. I didn’t realize there were job simulations until now, and I am definitely going to play around with that resource!” –Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Genomics and Computational Biology

“I was really impressed with the Career Exploration Process information. That is a really concise, concrete and useful resource.” –Ph.D. Candidate, School of Engineering & Applied Science

“The webpage’s new step by step overview of how best to use your time in grad school is an invaluable resource!” –Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations

Resources for New International Students – Crossing Your “t”s and Dotting your “i”s

By Dr. Esther H. Ra, Career Advisor

When I lived overseas in Seoul after college, it was thrilling, yet intimidating trying to find my groove in a city that was foreign, but yet now my “home.” I had a couple touchpoints throughout the city that helped me get through the first few months there. I was very grateful to the kind souls who showed me where I could shop for groceries (in the basement of a department store), how to pay my utilities bill (at the bank!), and how to navigate the bus terminal to various cities (unlocking the key to visiting extended family). I remember those first few days of walking around and soaking everything in, while trying to make sense of my whereabouts. It was an exhilarating and formidable time. When I think back, I am so thankful to the kind friends and colleagues who took the time to share valuable resources with me. These resources set me up for success and helped me enjoy my experience in what is now one of my very favorite cities in the world!

Similarly, on Penn campus, many new international students and colleagues have joined us on our campus. The fall 2018 semester is in full swing and already the onslaught of a new year and its classes, events, and activities are upon us. If you’re an international student or colleague, are you ready to conquer this semester? Has the semester already been filled with some anxiety and trepidation? Do you feel overwhelmed by the assignments, deadlines, “to-do lists”, and activities? All of this is exhausting for any student, but if you’re a student who is living in a different cultural context than your own, it can be downright daunting. Below is a breakdown of some of the resources on campus at your fingertips:

Penn Career Services: https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/
Our office services students and alumni of all undergraduate schools and most graduate schools. We strategize with students to define career goals and develop their potential. We offer resume, CV and cover letter reviews, as well as mock interviews. In addition, we conduct a plethora of practical workshops and events related to networking, including career fairs, meet and greets, and employer information sessions. Be sure to be registered on Handshake to access jobs and announcements from our office: https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/handshake

Counseling and Psychological Services at Penn (CAPS): https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/caps/
As the counseling hub for the University, CAPs offers free counseling and confidential services to all Penn students. They offer appointments for life’s transitions and challenges, and work with you to develop coping strategies for situational contexts.

International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS): https://global.upenn.edu/isss/advising
I’m sure by now you are very familiar with ISSS’ services and with advisors who can assist you with visa questions and immigration processes. This office is instrumental to Penn’s international students and I encourage you to use their expertise to make the most out of your experience on Penn campus.

Marks Family Writing Center: http://writing.upenn.edu/critical/wc/
The Marks Family Writing Center is a resource center that can be utilized by both undergraduate and graduate students for feedback on any writing needs. If you’re having trouble developing a paper, writing a cover letter, or struggling to create a PowerPoint for a course you are taking, the experienced staff at the Writing Center can lend a critical eye for great feedback. With a little bit of prior planning, this is an amazing free resource, you can utilize to brainstorm and organize your writing projects. We have had many students, particularly international graduate students tell us that it was a great place to visit when struggling to draft their first cover letter.

Penn Tutoring: https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/tutoring/
This center at Penn is for undergraduates only. They offer supplemental help for your academics with tutors who are an ace in the subject area you may be struggling to understand. Again, with a little bit of planning, this free campus resource could be a wonderful aide to any bumps in the road with adapting to the academic rigor that is Penn. We’ve had many students tell us that this has been an invaluable resource and a great help to becoming acclimated to classes on campus.

Weingarten Learning Resource Center: https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/lrc/lr/
Did you know that Weingarten Learning Resources Center has programs especially designed for international students’ and their transition to Penn’s campus and its academics? Many of them take place at the beginning of the semester. Some of the workshops offered may help with organizing your semester, discuss cultural differences and expectations in the US classroom, as well as equip you with research skills and citations.

I hope these places on campus can serve as touchpoints for your time on Penn Campus. You’ll be so glad you crossed your “t”s and dotted your “i”s when you did (an American idiom for being detailed and thorough). Welcome and we wish you a successful semester!

Organized Networking with CareerShift

Natty Leach, Associate Director

As of just last week, Penn students have a new resource for their networking toolkit—CareerShift. With ways to search for companies, contacts, and keep everything organized, CareerShift can be a useful way to keep track of the networking side of your job search. Since it’s a new tool, I wanted to highlight just one key part of the system that can be particularly useful.

Whether you’re in the midst of applying to positions now or gearing up for positions that will open later in the Spring semester, having an informational interview with a Penn alum can be a great way to learn more about the company culture, job function, and overall industry you might be interested in. In addition to LinkedIn and QuakerNet, our alumni database, CareerShift has a great contact search that let’s you look at contacts within the organization by school attended, position, or location:

This can be useful for discovering new contacts or following up from a conversation you had at a career fair or information session. You can also organize all of your contacts by company or job to help keep track of who you’ve contacted so far.

If interested in informational interviews, take a look at the guide on our website with sample questions to ask or ways to craft an email to request a meeting.

Who Can Use Career Services?

by J. Michael DeAngelis, Information Resources Manager

It’s a question that comes up at the start of every school year: “Am I eligible to use Career Services?”

If you’re a current Penn student or an alumni, the answer is probably a resounding YES!  We offer lifetime services to our graduates in the programs that we serve.  While we do service a huge part of the Penn community, we don’t see everyone.  I thought it would be a good time to highlight our official eligibility policy:

Eligibility for Services

Career Services is the central career resource center for all Penn undergraduates; for graduate and professional students in Annenberg, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Graduate School of Education, School of Design, Medicine (master’s and PhD), Nursing, Social Policy and Practice and Wharton Doctoral Programs; for alumni from these schools; and for post-doctoral trainees.

Full-time students in a degree program in these schools/programs have access to all services.

Part-time students in a degree program, both graduate and undergraduate, within one year of graduation also have full access.

Full-time students in a degree program at The College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) have access to all services. Part-time students in a degree program within one year of graduation also have full access. Part-time LPS undergraduates who have more than one year until graduation have access to the following services:

  •  Use of Career Services library
  • Attendance at programs and workshops
  • Use of credentials service

Exchange students here temporarily, visiting scholars, research assistants, students in non-degree programs and members of the Quaker Exchange taking classes on Penn’s campus for credit at their home institution are generally not eligible to use our services.

So that’s the official policy. What happens if you don’t fall into one of these categories?

Wharton MBA Students – You have your own dedicated office, Wharton MBA Career Management.  They’re also located in McNeil, right across the hall from us.

Penn Law Students – You also have your own dedicated career office: Penn Law Office Career Planning and Professionalism.

Penn Dental Students & Alumni – The Dental School regularly posts jobs on their alumni services page.

Other Members of the Penn Community – Other members of the University community are welcome to use our career library and to attend public presentations sponsored by Career Services.  Anyone with an active PennKey may also access restricted areas of our website, though certain areas may only be available to current students.

Non-Penn affiliated persons – Members of the public are welcome to use the information on our website, blog and social media.  Unfortunately, we can not accommodate non-Penn affiliates at any programming or career fair.

If you are eligible to use are services but have questions about when a good time to come see us is, check out this Career Services timeline for undergraduates or for Ph.D. students.

Add our upcoming fall events to your calendar!

by Lauren Kemp, Administrative Assistant for the Graduate Student and Nursing/Education/Social Work Teams

The academic year will soon be underway, as will the fall programming season at Career Services.  Career Services hosts a number of workshops and events, as well as a full slate of career fairs, for students and alumni.

This fall, career days will spotlight opportunities in fields as diverse as communications, education, finance, engineering and nursing, among others.  To get the latest information on upcoming fairs, visit http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/careerfairs/.

You can see a full calendar of events by linking through the icon on our main webpage, or you can view programming tailored to your school or degree by visiting the specialized sections on the site.  Be sure to check back periodically, as events are still being added for the semester, and remember to sign up early for any events that require preregistration.  If you’re a graduate student, you can receive announcements of upcoming programs through one of our listservs: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/gradstud/grad_distribution_lists.php.

Curious about what you might see or learn during a Career Services presentation?  You can check out video recordings and Powerpoints of some of our popular offerings at http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/undergrad/onlineworkshops.php and http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/phdspring14calendar.php.

As always, you can find supplemental information on interviewing, resumes and cover letters, preparing for career fairs and more through the website.

Good luck with the new semester, and remember to add us to your calendar!