2021 Job Search Prep Camp for PhDs in the Humanities & Social Sciences

Are you looking to begin a job search outside of academia or thinking about your career options with a PhD in the humanities or social sciences? Join us for a four-day morning virtual prep camp from Monday, June 7 to Thursday, June 10 to prepare yourself for applying to jobs beyond academia. We’ll provide an overview of exploring career options for humanities and social science PhDs and share specific advice for each step of the job search process. You’ll come away with strategies and tips to help you position yourself for your post-PhD job.

This virtual prep camp is open to all Penn PhD students, postdocs, and alums. Please register for each event in Handshake. After registration, you will have access to the web link 5 minutes before the start time on the Handshake event page.

Schedule of Events

Monday, June 7

9:00 – 10:15am: Exploring Careers for PhDs

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757573

This workshop will cover the four steps of career exploration for PhDs: reflecting and exploring options; networking and gathering information; professionalizing and gaining experience; and taking action and making decisions. We’ll also walk you through some of our most popular online resources from Career Services and beyond to help you navigate this process, including ImaginePhD, VersatilePhD, and the newest addition to Career Services’ digital resources, Aurora.

10:30am – 11:30am Student and Alumni Job Search Panel Discussion

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757616

This panel features Penn students and alums in range of roles and industries who will share their experiences transitioning from their PhD experiences to their current careers. Panelists include Andrew Daniller, Research Associate at Pew Research Center (Penn Communication PhD ’17);  Daniel Davies, Incoming Assistant Professor of English at the University of Houston (Penn English PhD Candidate); Mayelin Perez, Librarian for Literatures in English, Theatre Arts & Comparative Literature at Penn (Penn English PhD Candidate); and Evgenia Shnayder Shoop, Recruiting Manager at ClassDojo (Penn History MA ’16). They will discuss their career exploration, offer advice from their own job search experiences, and share their perspectives on professionalism in their career paths. There will be opportunities for questions during the panel discussion.

Tuesday, June 8

9:00am – 9:55am Demystifying Job Ads and Researching Employers 

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757656

This interactive workshop will provide you with strategies to decode job advertisements in a range of career fields and research employers in ways that could help you prepare your applications and interviews. After our presentation, you’ll work together with other PhDs in breakout rooms to decipher job descriptions together and research sample employers. Participants will come away with strategies for reading job descriptions and identifying commonly sought skills.

10:00 – 10:45am: Reviewing Job Candidates from a Hiring Manager’s Perspective

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757670

Join Ellen Owens, Merle-Smith Director of Learning and Public Engagement at Penn Museum, for a presentation on understanding the job search process from a hiring manager’s perspective. Ms. Owens will share her experience of how she views, reads, and assesses job candidates for a range of roles in her division at the Penn Museum. Attendees will leave this program with insights into how they might present themselves in job documents and in online hiring systems to strengthen their candidacy.

11:00am – 12:00pm: Hiring Manager and Recruiter Panel Discussion

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757679

How do employers read resumes and cover letters? Do they even read them? What are they looking for when they hire someone? Join panelists Nicole Torsella Harris, SPHR, Director, Talent Acquisition and Executive Recruitment at the University of Pennsylvania; and Evgenia Shnayder Shoop, Recruiting Manager at ClassDojo (Penn History MA ’16) as they answer these questions and many more from their different perspectives overseeing the hiring of candidates in their organizations. They will discuss the role of applicant tracking systems, the review process for application materials, and general advice for job applicants.

Wednesday, June 9

9:00am – 10:15am: Converting Your CV to a Resume

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757686

What’s the difference between a CV and a resume? How you do convert your CV into a resume? This workshop will walk you through the process of understanding the role of resumes in a job search and how you can tailor your document for a specific job and organization. In addition to best practices in content and formatting, we’ll also discuss how to optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems.

10:30am – 11:45am: Telling Your Story in Cover Letters

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757723

This workshop will cover the basics of writing a strong cover letter, from how to structure your letter to what kind of examples to provide to tell your story. We’ll provide some examples of cover letter paragraphs for you to review and discuss in breakout rooms and talk through do’s and don’ts of good cover letter writing.

Thursday, June 10

9:00am – 10:15am: Acing Your Interviews

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757726

Making a good impression during interviews is crucial to ultimately landing a job offer. We’ll discuss what to expect for a behavioral interview, how to prepare answers for standard interview questions, and what kind of questions you can your potential employer. We will also have you practice answering one of the most common interview questions: Tell me about yourself!

10:30am – 11:45am: Negotiating Your Job Offers

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757733

Should you negotiate a job offer? When do you negotiate a job offer? What can I negotiate? What if I don’t have another job offer to leverage? This workshop will cover all of these questions and many more to give you the tools and confidence to negotiate. We’ll also identify some action steps to take before an interview to help with negotiations, discuss what to do after negotiations are complete, and give everyone an opportunity to practice saying out loud something they would like to request in a job offer!

12:00pm – 1:00pm: Announcing the Launch of Aurora at Penn

Register here: https://upenn.joinhandshake.com/events/757753

Join L. Maren Wood, PhD, Founder and CEO of Beyond the Professoriate, for a webinar on how to take advantage of Penn’s newest digital resource — Aurora, an eLearning Platform with on-demand, self-paced learning modules that allow PhDs and Postdocs to discover career options and methods to apply the skills acquired through their education. Penn students and alumni now have unlimited access to Aurora by selecting the University of Pennsylvania from the dropdown menu. Join us for the official launch of this brand new resource to help Penn PhDs explore and plan for their future careers.



If you have any questions about the Job Search Prep Camp, please email helenpho@upenn.edu. Panel events will not be recorded to ensure that panelists can be candid in their discussions, but all other workshops presented by Career Services advisors will be recorded and uploaded to the Penn Career Services YouTube page by the end of June. Stay tuned for an announcement of our 2021 Academic Job Search Prep Camp, which will take place virtually in early August!