Services for PhD Students & Postdocs

PennCome to Career Services! We are here to help you navigate all aspects of your career exploration and planning process.

Need help figuring out your career options and goals? Want advice on how to strengthen your job documents? Hoping to improve your networking, interviewing, and negotiating skills?

We can guide you in building the skills needed for your career success through one-on-one and group advising appointments, programs and workshops, and access to our comprehensive digital resources. Have other questions about how we can help you? Check out our FAQs below as well.

What's On This Page?

Handshake | CareerMail | Appointments & Walk-ins | Workshops & Programs
Customized Workshops for Academics Departments & Student Groups | Where are Penn PhDs Now?
Digital Resources | Externships for Ph.D. Students | FAQs


Handshake is Penn's career platform used for graduate students and postdocs to book career advising appointments with Career Advisors, search and apply for jobs and internships, and learn about workshops, career fairs, employer presentations, on-campus interviews, and more! Activate your Handshake account using instructions here or login if you already have an active account.



To get the most out of Handshake, complete your profile and your "Career Interests" so Handshake can feature jobs, internships, and events tailored just for you. Don't forget to select the options for "Current PhDs in the Humanities/Social Sciences" and/or "Current PhDs in the STEM fields" under CareerMail communications to receive our monthly newsletters from the Graduate Student & Postdoc Team at Career Services.

Appointments and Walk-ins

Have any questions related to jobs and careers? Chat with a Career Advisor! Make a 30-minute appointment for an individual advising appointment, a one-hour mock interview appointment, or a group advising appointment through Handshake. View the video here that takes you through this process step-by-step in Handshake. Or give us a call at 215-898-7530, and we'll be happy to schedule any of these appointments for you.

Need a quick resume or cover letter review or have a specific question you need answered soon? Come to walk-ins at Career Services for a brief, 15-minute consultation. Click on your school to find out more about specific walk-in hours. On the day you plan to drop by for walk-ins, give us a call to confirm the hours.

To learn more about the graduate students and postdocs we serve, click on the "Eligibility to Use Career Services" link below.

Walk-in hours for Annenberg, Arts & Sciences, Design, Medicine, SEAS, and Wharton Doctoral Students & Postdoctoral Fellows

Daily walk-ins are held at Career Services from 2 to 3 pm, Monday through Friday. It is best to call ahead (215-898-7530) to confirm that walk-ins are being held. The times and specific advisors who are scheduled to take walk-ins each day are subject to change.
WALK-INS ARE CANCELLED FOR 7/8, 7/12, 8/30, and 9/2.
Joseph Barber, Ph.D., Senior Associate Director: Walk-ins 2-3pm on Mondays.
Helen Pho, Ph.D., Associate Director: Walk-ins 2-3pm on Thursdays.
Dianne Hull, Associate Director: Walk-ins 2-3pm on Tuesdays.
Marianne Lipa, Career Advisor: Walk-ins 2-3pm on Fridays.


During the academic year, our advisors travel across campus to hold walk-ins on Wednesdays from 12 to 2 pm at various locations. The particular advisor holding walk-ins at each location rotates regularly. Please check back in the fall for updated details on locations and times.

Walk-in hours for GSE, SP2, and Nursing Doctoral Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

Nursing Walk-ins: Mondays, 12pm-1pm
GSE Walk-ins: Tuesdays, 1:30pm-2:30pm
SP2 Walk-ins: Wednesdays, 2:30pm-3:30pm
Sharon Fleshman, Senior Associate Director.
John Tuton, Career Advisor.
Esther Ra, Career Advisor.

Eligibility to Use Career Services

Career Services works with doctoral students in all schools, with the exceptions of the Law School, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Veterinary Medicine and students in the Perelman School of Medicine pursuing only MDs. Additionally, Career Services works with the following postdoctoral fellows:
  • Current Biomedical postdocs in Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs
  • Current postdocs in Annenberg, Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences, Design, Education, Medicine, Nursing, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Social Policy & Practice, and Wharton.
Note: We are not able to see research associates or former postdocs, unless they are Penn alumni/ae.

Workshops & Programs

PennCareer Services offers a range of programs and workshops for doctoral students and postdocs related to the career exploration and planning processes. For a full list of programs and workshops, please log into Handshake and click here. View the video here that takes you through this process step-by-step in Handshake.

Are you planning on going on the academic job market? The Academic Job Search Series, which is co-sponsored by Career Services and the Vice Provost for Education, features workshops geared toward doctoral students and postdocs who plan to apply to faculty positions.

Are you planning to apply for jobs across a broad range of career fields? The Job Search Series includes workshops designed to provide graduate students and postdocs information on effective job searching and career planning techniques.

You can view PowerPoint slides and other information from our past workshops from both series on our Program Notes page.

Career Services and CAPS also collaborates on a series of workshops that will help you to better understand your skills, values, and strengths as you begin the process of career exploration and development. Participating in any of these workshops will provide you with tools to develop career readiness competencies that will be valuable as you transition from your graduate or postdoc program to your professional life.

Customized Workshops for Academic Departments & Student Groups

We are happy to create customized programs and workshops for academic departments and graduate student groups. If you'd like to have us present to your students, please review the list of programs for Academic Faculty Careers and for Careers Beyond the Faculty Path and email Dr. Joseph Barber at to arrange a workshop.

Academic Careers
Careers Beyond

Where are Penn PhDs now?

Penn PhD graduates are employed in a variety of meaningful, challenging, and rewarding careers. For more information about post-PhD career plans broken down by school, program, and graduation year, please see the survey reports here.

Digital Resources

Resources at Penn and beyond have been invaluable to PhDs and postdocs exploring the range of careers outside of academia. Below are some of our favorite digital resources for doctoral students and postdocs. Simply create your free accounts, start exploring, and feel free to bring your assessment results and what you've learned from your online career exploration to your next appointment with a Career Services advisor!

ImaginePhDImaginePhD is a free, online career exploration and planning tool designed specifically for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars in humanities and social sciences. On ImaginePhD you'll be able to assess your career-related skills, interests, and values; explore career paths appropriate to your discipline; create self-defined goals; and map out the next steps for your career. If you're looking to explore common career paths undertaken by humanities and social sciences PhDs, check out the 15 Job Families on ImaginePhD, where you'll be able to read profiles of PhDs in different careers and connect with resources and build skills in relevant industries. ImaginePhD is sponsored by the Vice Provost for Education at Penn.
myIDPMyIDP is a free career exploration and planning online platform created for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars in the STEM fields. It includes exercies to help you examine your skills, interests, and values; a list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit your skills and interests; and a tool for setting strategic goals for your career.
Versatile PhDVersatile PhD is a web-based platform for PhD students and postdocs in STEM, Humanities, and Social Science fields to explore the full range of career fields that value the PhD experience, and the skills and knowledge associated with doctoral education. Don't know what career options are out there? Check out the PhD Career Finder to read stories of PhDs who have gone on to exciting careers in a range of careers, see how they converted their CVs into resumes, and read their successful application materials. Don't forget to look at the forums as well for more insights and inspiration into how PhDs developed careers in different fields and industries. Just sign up for your free account through Career Services' online subscriptions and access to premium content on the site using your Penn email.

PhD Externship Program

The PhD Externship Program encourages non-faculty career exploration among doctoral students by facilitating shadowing experiences and fostering mentorship relationships with advanced-degree holding professionals. This unpaid opportunity allows doctoral students to gain hands-on, real-world career experience in administrative offices, libraries, and other centers on Penn's campus and in the Philadelphia area. Students can use this experience to cultivate a stronger professional profile and to develop career-readiness competencies and administrative skills in preparation for a range of careers. Learn more about deadlines and participating on- and off-campus hosts for the 2019 program here.


Q: How do I make an appointment with a Career Advisor?
A: Log in to Handshake and click on "Career Center" and then "Appointments" to make an appointment. Check out the video below to learn more! 

How to schedule appointments with a Career Advisor on Handshake from Penn Career Services on Vimeo.

Q: How do I find out what workshops and programs geared toward PhDs and postdocs?
A: Log in to Handshake, click on "Events" at the top, then click on "Event Search" and check off the "doctoral student and postdoc event" box on the bottom right under "labels." You'll be able to find all the PhD and postdoc workshops and programs coming up. Check out the video below to learn more! 

How to search for PhD student/postdoc events on Handshake from Penn Career Services on Vimeo.

Q: When should I meet with a Career Advisor?
A: Anytime! We encourage you to meet with us as early as your first year so that we can get to know you and help ensure that you're on track to achieving your career goals, whatever they may be.
Q: I'm about to finish my PhD next month or I've just finished my PhD. Is it too late to come to Career Services?
A: Not at all! While we advise students to come visit us sooner rather than later in their graduate careers, it's never too late. We also serve alumni for life and are happy to meet you wherever you are in your process.
Q: Are advising appointments at Career Services confidential?
A: Absolutely!
Q: Why are group appointments helpful?
A: Group appointments are great if you and your friends or colleagues have similar questions or concerns related to the career exploration process. While individual meetings are most useful when you need to discuss your own specific job documents or application process, group meetings can be productive (and even fun!) if you'd like to chat more generally about how to get started in leveraging your PhD for different careers. Students have found that having someone to support you in your exploration can be very helpful.