Another Chance for an OCR Interview

Barbara Hewitt

On-campus recruiting for full-time opportunities is in full swing and the newly renovated OCR suite is humming with activity. Hopefully many Penn students planning to graduate this year have been invited to interview with employers of interest to them. However, I’m confident there are also many students who have been disappointed by not receiving as many interview invitations as they had hoped. After devoting time and effort to networking with employers and submitting applications on PennLink, this can be a frustrating experience.

Penn is fortunate to attract many students who excel academically, in campus leadership positions, and in the broader community. Most employers who recruit at Penn (especially the larger, well-known ones) receive applications from many more students than they could possibly interview. We also all know that reviewing resumes is an imperfect tool for selecting which candidates might make the best “fit” for a particular organization. For these reasons, we strongly encourage students to take advantage of the recruiter add-on interview process, which allows students to be added to an interview schedule in the event that the interviewer has late cancellations on his or her schedule. (While employers tend not to have very many openings during the first few days of recruiting, it is much more common as the recruiting season progresses and students begin to accept offers with other employers.) If you are reasonably well-qualified for a position (based on the position description) it makes sense to try to get an “add-on” interview. You may really impress the recruiter in person and be offered the perfect job! I have had many conversations with students over the years who have landed jobs through this process, and just last May a recruiter from an investment bank told us she hired three Penn students who had been late additions to her schedule through the add-on process.

Some of you may feel like it is not worth your time and effort to apply for add-on interviews if you weren’t selected for an interview initially. After all, who wants to be rejected twice? I urge you to reconsider this attitude. You might have been the next person they would have picked if they had more slots available. You never know what could happen… When I was searching for my first job out of graduate school, I treated myself to a two week trip to Africa right after graduation (and also while I was job searching). When I arrived home on a Saturday I was thrilled to have a call for an interview and promptly returned it at 9:05 am on Monday. Unfortunately, in my absence the employer indicated that he had been forced to make a decision on another candidate who had a competing offer, so they no longer would be interviewing me. I was disappointed and assumed I must not have been what they had been seeking in a candidate after all since they hadn’t waited for me to return. Lo and behold, a few days later, they called to tell me that the candidate had turned down the offer and re-invited me to interview. Two weeks later I started my new job with them. Moral of the story….there are many good candidates and you should take advantage of every opportunity to get in front of an employer to make your case about why you should be the one they hire.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to apply for add-on interviews…so here’s how you do it. First, fill out a “Recruiter Add-On Interview Request Form” (available from the main OCR web page) for each position that interests you, attach it to your resume, and deposit it in the “Recruiter Add-On Interview Request Box” outside of Career Services, Suite 20, McNeil Building. Collection hours are 9:15 am – 2:00 pm one working day before the interview date. Your add-on request(s) will be given to the recruiter(s) when they check in to OCR the following morning. The recruiter(s) will review the resumes at their convenience and will inform the OCR receptionist should they wish to interview you. However, we request that you not call to check on the status of your add-on request. The OCR receptionist will contact students whose requests have been accepted. Students whose requests are not accepted will not be contacted.

Good luck with it!

Responding Sincerely is Very Professional

Responding Sincerely is Very Professional

by Rosette Pyne

You receive an invitation by email, snail mail or in person…what do you do? Let’s see….you really only have two options – accept or reject. But many of you pursue what you believe to be a third option…don’t respond at all. Most invitations to events give you a bit of time to think about it, but then, oh no…. eventually you have to reply yes or no. But you don’t know what to do, so you do nothing at all. You check with friends and relatives to see if they are going, but many of them are just like you – waiting. What are you waiting for?? An invitation to an event you think will be more fun or one where you can hang out with your friends?? Are you waiting for a better offer? Waiting to see if you have a work or school commitment? Waiting, waiting, waiting …for Godot…till the cows come home…till it stops raining…what exactly are you waiting for?? Make up your mind! Meanwhile, the event organizer is waiting too. They are waiting to hear from you! In most cases, there is food to be ordered, tables to be assigned, hotel rooms to be reserved…well you get the idea. Or do you?? Make a decision and stick with it.

This brings me to the “say yes”, then don’t show up scenario. Over the past year, Career Services has organized numerous events that require an RSVP (comes from the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please respond”). Speakers come to campus, the response by students is overwhelming – so many want to attend, and the venue is changed to accommodate the larger crowd, more food is ordered, and well, you can see where this is going. Everyone is excited for the big event, but what happens? A significant percent  of students don’t show up and there is a venue that is too big with too much food. This happens more often than most could imagine; some are large events and others are small personal luncheons/meetings with employers, alumni and high profile speakers. With limited seating, you have taken someone else’s place, someone who would have showed up. Look, I’m not talking about an illness or emergency that keeps you from attending an event. I’m talking about behavior – your behavior and you know who you are. Guess what folks, it’s not professional!

Perhaps none of this will mean anything to you, until you are the organizer. You send out the invitation, you wait for the responses, some don’t respond at all, others respond yes and don’t show up and you end up calling the non respondents and paying for those that don’t attend. All the while you are thinking why in the world they don’t just let you know if they are going to attend. Will you think twice about inviting them to your next event? Sure you will..and if you don’t respond more than once to a friend you will be asking later why you weren’t invited to the next party.

Responding sincerely is very professional and if you by chance you were not taught this growing up, it’s not too late to apply the lesson beginning today. Respond in a timely manner and certainly prior to the deadline; it’s okay to say “no thanks I am unable to attend”, and when you say “YES” BE CERTAIN TO SHOW UP.

Why not U.S.?

As a career counselor for the College, I’m supposed to learn a little bit about every career. When I was charged with giving myself a crash course on government careers, I was probably like many people and thought – boring! But the more I read about working for the Uncle Sam and the more I talk with the alumni feds, the more I realize what a unique employer the government is.  (Yes, it is an occupational hazard to be attracted to a new field every day.)

Not only is the federal government hiring right now, but they are hiring for jobs in every field. You can work in public health, finance regulation, historic preservation, foreign service, engineering, environment, etc.  It also turns out that federal jobs pay better than I thought, and there is a schedule for raises and promotion. The jobs are located in every state in the U.S.

I admit that government applications can be a hassle, but that’s why Career Services is putting on a slew of events to help you navigate the process and talk directly with real feds who can show you the ropes. Here’s what’s coming up this semester:

  • Finding and Applying for Federal Jobs and Internships Tuesday, September 28, 3 – 4 pm
  • State Department Information Session Wednesday, September 29, 5 pm – 6 pm
  • Internships in Government Wednesday, September 29, 3 – 4 pm
  • Policy and Government Career Fair 2010 Friday, October 1, 11 am – 3 pm
  • Careers with the Foreign Service: From Philadelphia to Pakistan and Back Friday, October 1, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
  • Business Careers in the Government Panel and Networking Reception Thursday, October 14, 4 – 5 pm panel, followed by reception
  • Working for Uncle Sam: you, what, where, why, and how Thursday, October 14,12 – 1pm
  • Federal Resume Critiques Thursday, October 14, 2 to 3:30 pm (sign up required)
  • Foreign Service Oral Exam Prep Session Thursday, October 21, 12-1:30
  • International Development Careers in the Government Panel Friday, Oct 29, 12 – 1 pm
  • Careers in Science & Engineering in the Federal Government Panel Friday, November 5, 12 – 1pm

You Never Know

If you’re a regular subscriber to Penn & Beyond, you have likely noticed my “Day in the Life” blog posts recently.  These posts promote our latest social media initiative, our @PennCareerDay Twitter account.  The account features Penn alumni who tweet for a day in order to give you, the student/alumni/career seeker, a better idea of what their day is like.   The idea behind this Twitter account is part of a larger concept I’d like to draw your attention to in this particular blog post – leveraging new communication technologies to your advantage.

The alumni who tweet for @PennCareerDay are examples of people who are using Twitter to promote themselves and their work, which could then expand their network and create new opportunities.   There is no guarantee, but nevertheless, the possibility exists.  I am a firm believer that if you tap into new resources, like social media, when more traditional ones have not brought success, you are increasing your chance to succeed.  For instance, if you are extremely interested in an employer, find out if they have a Twitter account, like their Facebook page, maybe even subscribe to their YouTube channel and start interacting with them there.

from @boetter, Flickr

I am heavily involved in social media – I manage our office’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn presence – and I maintain that it does not have to be used by everyone.  BUT, if you have not looked into how you could leverage these platforms to your advantage, I encourage you to.  You never know what opportunities might come up.

DO Quit Your Day Job!

A few months ago, I posed a blog called “Don’t Quit Your Day Job…”, in which I spoke about the importance of finding a steady “day job” that allowed you to still pursue the carer of your dreams.

While browsing around my favorite sites this morning, I came across this great video about a man, Paulie Gee, who walked away from thirty years working in I.T. to open his dream business – a pizzeria.

Second Acts by Yahoo! via Slice

What I like about this video is that is shows that it is never too late to go after a dream. Mr. Giannone obviously worked very hard for a long time before deciding to strike it out on his own. I’m inspired by the risk he took in opening his own business and by the obvious joy he has in the decision he made.