News you can use: Summer Survey report

by Helen Cheung

During the Fall, many of you answered our pleas and completed the Summer Survey which asks undergraduates what they did last summer.  Thank you so much!  I’ve read each and every one of your responses (those from CAS students) and enjoyed living vicariously through your experiences.  In doing so, I also have learned a lot about summer opportunities.  Just as we like to base our career advice on real information, I hope that you will use this data to guide your summer job search. Those of you who have met me might know that I’m a fan of “fact checking.” Here are some facts:

1. Exploration: First, if you are ever curious about what other students in your major and class do, what opportunities are out there in a particular field, how much money on average an intern makes, or where students live over the summer, the Summer Survey Report has the answers.  One thing I learned is that nearly half of the students do more than one thing in the summer – they work full-time and intern part-time, or they take classes and volunteer, etc.   You can also search for upperclassmen to ask internship-related questions on the Penn Internship Network, the database of Penn students who have volunteered to speak with other students about their internships.

2. Industries: The industries that hired the most CAS students are: education, financial services, nonprofit, communication, and government.  So, while CAS students have no trouble finding work in business, far more students are in creative and service industries. Don’t limit yourself to the types of employers who recruit on campus or post jobs on PennLink if your interests lie elsewhere.

3. Jobs: CAS students held summer positions in more than 90 different job categories and is the most diverse of the undergraduate schools at Penn.  Your arts and sciences education gives you many career options.  Therefore, explore and research your options.  For example, students who did a legal internship worked not only in law firms, but also higher education, nonprofit, manufacturing, and government industries.  The “What Can I do With My Major” link is a good resource that lays out for each type of work, what sort of organization you would look in to find it.

4. Application timing: Last summer, 65% of CAS students found their summer jobs in March, April and May last year, with most offers coming in April.  That means *now* is a good time to apply for jobs and follow up on leads and applications.

5. Search methods: 30% of CAS students found their jobs through personal contacts and 18% through applying directly to the organization. The lesson here? Talk to people, meet new ones, take the initiative to research organizations, inquire and follow up. Too many students believe that their applications go to a “black hole” and don’t bother applying at all.  In addition to applying directly, diversify your approach, including using PACNet or LinkedIn to seek advice and leads from Penn alumni.

I hope these observations and advice will be helpful as you continue your summer job search. As always, you’ll find a great deal of helpful information on the Career Services website, and I encourage all of you to connect with one of the career counselors if you have questions about your search.  Good luck!

Author: Helen Cheung

Helen Cheung is an Associate Director in Career Services for College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates.