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Career Services

Penn State College of Medicine Career Services assists graduate students in preparing for and pursuing meaningful and rewarding careers through a comprehensive array of programs and services.

For details, contact:

Jessica L. Kirkwood, MS
Career Services Coordinator

Penn State College of Medicine
Office of Graduate Education
Room C1712A, Mailcode H170
500 University Dr.
Hershey, PA 17033

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More About Career Services

Services Offered Expand answer

Career Counseling and Planning

  • Individual appointments & Quick Question/Drop-In Hours
  • Career exploration and coaching
  • Career assessments
  • Career information and resources
  • Resume/CV/cover letter assistance and review

Programming and Information

  • Penn State Career Guide
  • Presentations/seminars on career-related topics
  • Internship/job search strategies
  • Interviewing skills and mock (practice) interviews
  • Networking skills
  • Job offer and salary negotiation tips
  • Professionalism/soft skills development

Recruiting and Employer Engagement

  • Nittany Lion Careers: primary online resource for connecting students with employers
  • Career Fairs: Fall & Spring Career Days at University Park, regional, and online
  • Employer visits, panels, and information sessions
Resources Expand answer

While the following career resources are used by many Penn State students and alumni, they are not directly affiliated with Penn State and the University cannot control their security. It is recommended that users not create accounts for these resources using the same credentials (username and password) that they use for their Penn State Access accounts.

Graduate Career Development Collection

A collection of print and electronic titles offered through Harrell Health Sciences Library to assist students with career exploration and development.

Find more information about the collection here, including reading recommendations from Dr. Clifford.

Nittany Lion Careers

Nittany Lion Careers is Penn State’s single-system recruiting platform for all students, alumni and employers. This resource provides access to job and internship postings, employer profiles and contacts, career fairs, and on-campus interviewing.

On-campus interviewing is open to all Penn State students but is only conducted through Nittany Lion Careers at three campuses: Penn State Harrisburg, University Park and Behrend (Erie).

Job Posting/Company Verification Disclaimer

Read the full disclaimer, which describes the shared responsibility among Penn State Career Services (including University Park and Commonwealth Campus career offices) and internship/job seekers in researching and identifying potential concerns about the legitimacy of employers and their respective postings.


Practice and improve your interview skills to prepare for any internship or job interview with the use of a computer/webcam or tablet.


Connect with Penn State alumni to ask questions about respective career paths, networking, and professional interests.

Penn State Career Guide

This publication, produced by Career Services, offers information on an array of career-related topics including Finishing Your Master’s Degree and Planning Your Next Step, Finding a Teaching Position in Academe, Finding a Postdoc, and more. Pick up a copy in Career Services.

Penn State Career Services

The Penn State Career Services (University Park) website provides comprehensive information on career-related topics such as resumes and cover Letters, interviewing, internship and job searches, and tips and resources for diverse populations.

Online Career Resource Center

As Penn State graduate students, you have access to powerful online career information tools and resources. A sampling includes:

Vault: Comprehensive information related to careers, industries, salaries, and more.

GoinGlobal: Valuable resources for students looking to work internationally or international students looking to work in the U.S. or abroad.

Mergent Intellect: Industry information, growth projects, and company lists.

Career Fairs and Events

Penn State holds two elaborate career fairs at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus each Fall and Spring Semester. Throughout the year, Penn State also remains informed of other fairs being hosted in major cities such as Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia; this information is placed on the events calendar of the career fairs website.

LinkedIn Groups

Search for the group name under the “Groups Directory” tab within the “Groups” section of LinkedIn.

Penn State College of Medicine Graduate Alumni: This group provides an opportunity for PhD and master’s graduates and students of the Penn State College of Medicine to connect and stay in touch with the College and with each other.

Penn State Career Connection: This group is focused on connecting Penn State students with employers on career-specific issues. You will be able to discuss general career topics such as resume writing, interviewing, job search strategies, etc. with employers. You can also join a subgroup relevant to your career interests.

Resources for International Students – Office of Global Programs

If you wish to work in the U.S., it is necessary to plan ahead. For example, it is important to understand the processes involved in applying for work authorization on your student visa. If you are unclear about the options, contact the Office of Global Programs.

Education and Teaching Resources Expand answer

Graduate School Teaching Certificate

Penn State graduate students wanting recognition of their commitment to college teaching may earn the Graduate School Teaching Certificate. The Graduate School Teaching Certificate was developed to provide graduate students with an avenue to enhance their teaching skills. The certificate is self-directed and available to all Penn State graduate students who fulfill the specified requirements.

Learn more about the Graduate School Teaching Certificate.

Interprofessional Education (IPE) Facilitation Opportunities

Rewarding educational opportunities are available for College of Medicine graduate students, faculty and professional staff, both basic and clinical science departments, to facilitate Interprofessional Education (IPE) experiences for medical, nursing, and physician assistant students. You do not need to be a “content” expert in any particular area to participate.

Three types of facilitation opportunities are available (single-session IPE, simulation IPE, and ongoing clerkship IPE). These are once-a-year commitments, although facilitators are encouraged to participate as often as time allows.

For details, contact Lynne Peterson, Office of Associate Dean for Medical Education, at or 717-531-0003, ext. 280808.

LabLearner Career Development Opportunity

Apply your scientific knowledge and expertise to shape PreK-8 teacher training through LabLearner, a hands-on science curriculum. LabLearner is seeking graduate students and post-doctoral fellows looking for an opportunity to step out of the lab and make an impact on the educational system for seasonal summer work.

Visit LabLearner website.

Internship/Teaching Participation Expand answer

This information pertains to all graduate students enrolled in the following programs: Anatomy, Biomedical Sciences, Biostatistics, DrPH, Epidemiology, MD/PhD (during graduate years), Neuroscience and legacy programs.

In order to participate in an internship/teaching experience, the graduate student must be post-comprehensive or complete the experience during the summer.

Graduate students who have already secured and plan to complete an internship/teaching experience must submit the required Career Services Internship/Teaching Consent Form and attachments by the deadlines specified below.

  • Summer experience: May 1 deadline
  • Fall experience: July 1 deadline
  • Spring experience: Nov. 1 deadline

Internship/teaching experiences encompass all supplemental learning opportunities including, but not limited to, internal and external internships, off-campus teaching, off-campus research, special projects and job shadowing/externship experiences.

This process is to ensure transparent and seamless communication between the student, adviser, graduate program, internship/teaching site, Career Services and the Office of Graduate Education.

Fill out the form

Please direct any questions to:

Jessica L. Kirkwood, MS
Career Services Coordinator

International Students

International students are required to work with DISSA (Directorate of International Student & Scholar Advising) to obtain the appropriate authorization for all internship/teaching experiences.

Please read the information regarding F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT). In general, CPT can be done before completion of coursework as long as full-time enrollment is maintained during fall or spring semesters unless you do not require a full course load based on F-1 enrollment requirements and as long as you receive credit for the internship. If you are beyond coursework and post-comprehensive exam, CPT is generally only available if the internship provides data for the thesis. If you are not eligible for CPT, you may have to use pre-completion OPT.

If you have any questions, please go to Penn State’s online services for international students page and complete the SUBMIT A QUESTION online form.

IDP Expand answer

Establishing good communication between graduate students and their mentors is critical for a successful relationship. The Individual Development Plan (IDP) serves as a communication tool and provides a planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives. The IDP opens communication, identifies expectations, establishes objective criteria for success, recognizes the importance of training and service, and is flexible to allow new opportunities to be pursued when they appear. The IDP should include defined time and resources devoted to research and career development activities in addition to contributions to the supervisor’s research.

Two recent reports (the NIH Biomedical Research Workforce Report and the NIGMS Strategic Plan) have brought renewed attention to the value of career planning for scientists. IDPs have been suggested as particularly useful tools for assisting in the career development of science PhDs. In response to this need, a interactive, web-based tool that will help postdocs set and achieve long-term and short-term career goals was launched in September 2012: myIDP. Created with support from the Burroughs Welcome Fund, myIDP helps postdocs and graduate students in the sciences develop a step-by-step plan for reaching their career goals.

According to Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the purpose of the IDP is to provide a planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives. Furthermore, IDPs serve as a communication tool between individuals and their mentors.

The IDP will set a course for your appointment that will match your skills to your career ambitions. Of course, since your skills and goals will almost certainly change over time, the IDP will be an evolving document that you will return to with your mentor over the course of your appointment. The purpose of IDP is to build upon your current strengths by identifying areas for development and crafting a plan to address those areas. You should work with your faculty mentor(s) to agree on a development plan that will allow you to be productive while positioning you to be successful in your chosen career.

For graduate students, it is recommended that you utilize the AAAS’ free online tool myIDP. This tool asks a series of questions on your

  • Interests
  • Skills
  • Values

And provides several suggestions for possible career matches. It also contains links to career resources and tools to help you develop concrete plans, attend workshops, networking etc.

An annual IDP helps graduate students:

  • create annual plans to reach their career goals
  • establish target dates for academic and research milestones
  • set goals for next year, including discussions of how to spend time and
  • define in detail the approaches to take to obtain specific skills and strengths needed (e.g., courses, technical skills, teaching, supervision) along with an anticipated time frame necessary for obtaining these skills and strengths.

The IDP form should be shared in draft form with the mentor(s) at the meeting where the graduate student or postdoc accomplishments and goals will be discussed in light of the core competencies and the graduate student’s career aspirations.