PhD Career Exploration Fellow Spotlight: Daniel Zhang (Hosted by Merck – Infectious Disease and Virology)

In the spring of 2021, 44 PhD students from a range of academic disciplines at Penn participated virtually in Career Services’ PhD Career Exploration Fellowship (CEF) program, where they were matched with a host organization to learn about different careers beyond academia. Daniel Zhang, a PhD candidate in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, was placed as a Fellow with Merck – Infectious Disease and Virology. Read about Daniel’s experience in the CEF below!

What did you learn from this opportunity (about yourself, about career fields, the job search, etc.)?

It helped me in terms of polishing my resume and cover letter for highlighting the skill sets the industry requires. It also helped in terms of how I frame my PhD work, so it fits the description of jobs in pharmaceutical industry more.

How does your CEF experience benefit your future career plans?

I learned a great deal about industrial post doc opportunities.

What was the most valuable part of your CEF experience?

Polishing resume, CV and LinkedIn profile, practice informational interview skills and networking skills, as well as actual informational interviews.

Top reason PhD students should apply to the CEF:

It will greatly clear a lot of myths about job hunting and networking. Besides, PhD students tend to believe that they have a lot of problems on their own, but the fact is many of the problems are shared with other students as well. It’s great to learn about that and be confident about job hunting.

By Helen Pho
Helen Pho Associate Director, Graduate Students & Postdocs