Summer Internship Search Timelines

By: David Ross

Early in the school year, I meet with eager students asking questions about when to start their summer internship search and how long the search can take. What are the timelines? How soon should I start? How long does the process take? Inquiring minds want to know all the details and intricacies to prepare themselves and avoid missing opportunities.

The reality of any summer internship search is that the process varies for each individual. Regardless of when you begin your search, you should focus your efforts on identifying and applying for opportunities of interest. Try to avoid dwelling on the length of time of your search or create expectations for yourself that become burdensome. The uncertainty of the process can indeed be nerve-wracking, but rest assured that many other students experience the same thing at some point during their search.

While early planning is both helpful and productive, don’t assume that the majority of summer internships will be filled well in advance of the desired start date. Some positions are listed online and made available to applicants early in the school year, but many other great opportunities do not become available until the Spring semester or even a month or two before the intern would be expected to start working. So if you are searching for opportunities and inquiring about their availability, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see an abundance of summer internship listings for your desired field or industry at this point.

Remember, the summer internship search process will not always have a defined length of time (much to our chagrin). But if you are focused and dedicate time and effort to your internship search activities, you place yourself in a position find a great summer internship.

Teach, Intern or Work Abroad through the International Opportunities Virtual Fair

By Kelly Cleary

Perhaps you’ve studied abroad and can’t wait to get back to Paris. Maybe you’ve written papers about human rights issues in Africa and you’re eager to do what you can to improve the lives of the people you’ve studied. Or you’ve heard about the exciting business and financial opportunities in China and India and you can’t wait to be a part of the next wave of corporate leadership. Or maybe you just want have a short-term adventure before you head into “the real world.” These are just a few of the reasons Penn students pursue work and volunteer opportunities abroad.

The International Opportunities Virtual Fair is a great way to connect with short and long term summer or post-graduate opportunities abroad and/or with an international focus.

Virtual International Opportunities Fair

Teaching, Internships, Full-Time and Graduate Study Opportunities Abroad Available online Mon., Nov. 22, 2010 through Fri., Jan. 21, 2011

The Virtual International Opportunities Fair, an online career fair, is for Penn students and alumni who are interested in international opportunities.

Through PennLink you can “visit” the International Opportunities Fair to meet representatives from over 30 globally-oriented organizations, companies, and schools that provide teaching, internship, work, volunteer opportunities and post-graduate education abroad.

The online format of the fair enables you to make contact with employers by viewing their profiles and submitting resumes to employers/positions that interest you.  After the fair is over, employers will receive the resumes you dropped and will contact you directly if they’re interested in an interview.

To participate in the Virtual International Opportunities Fair:

1)      Log into PennLink. If you do not have an account already, you will be asked to complete a brief profile.

2)      Upload or update your resume (if you haven’t done so already) by clicking on the “Documents” tab.

3)      Click on “Virtual International Opportunities Fair” under the “Events” box on the rights

4)      Be sure to click on the “Positions Recruited” tab to view full job descriptions and application instructions.

5)      To express your interest in an organization, go back to the main “Participants” page and click “GO” to submit your resume.

A Sample of Participating Organizations by Industry (* Indicates the organization charges a program fee. ):

Abroad China, China*
IBM, China and India
Milagrow-Business & Knowledge Solutions, India
Social Entrepreneur Corps, South America, Africa*
Botswana-UPenn Partnership
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (Journalism internship)
The Education Abroad Network, Australia, China*
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) – RISE
IBM, China and India
Aclipse, Asia
China Education Initiative, China
EPA! Español en Panama
Teach in France program, French Ministry of Education
Footprints Recruiting, Georgia/Eastern Europe
Milagrow-Business & Knowledge Solutions, India
Summerbridge, Hong Kong
Teach for India
The Kelly Yang Project, Ltd, Hong Kong
Penn Botswana-UPenn Partnership
Child Family Health International, Africa, Asia, South America*
Unite for Site, New Haven, CT
Non-Profit/Public Interest
Foundation for Sustainable Development*
Humanity in Action, Worldwide
Indicorps, India
Israel Government Fellow*
Social Entrepreneur Corps, South America, Africa*
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) – RISE
RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Career Services’ International Opportunities and Year of Service/Gap Year Programs pages offer additional resources.  If you haven’t already, be sure to log into GoinGlobal (PennKey required) to search its international job & internship board and its country job search guides.

Turning the Tables

by John F. Tuton

Getting the job interview is a major goal in any job search, and most of the advice that career counselors offer is focused on how to handle four kinds of questions—open-ended ones like “tell me about yourself”, evaluative ones like “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”, focused ones like “can you tell me about a time when you…” one and lastly, challenging ones like “why should we hire you?”.   Anyone who’s been through an interview has encountered at least two or three of these, and the ideal response (hopefully strengthened by practicing beforehand) has always been to focus on the positives and manage the question in as confident a way as possible.

It’s certainly important to answer these questions in the best way you can, but I think they could also be extremely useful if you asked them yourself, or in other words used them to turn the tables on the interviewer and find out more about the job, the organization, or some aspects of the culture you might be joining.  For instance, it might be very interesting if you asked an interviewer, “What do you think your organization’s strengths and weaknesses are?” or “Can you tell me how you handled a downturn in business” or even, “Why should I want to work here?”  That last question might sound pretty bold at first, but think about it—if it is asked tactfully in the right tone of voice, it might yield all sorts of useful information, like how much effort is put into orienting new employees, what career paths are available, what the organization thinks of its competition and how much time is devoted to employee training and development.

Turning the tables on an interviewer might sound like a risky thing to do, but it could also lead to the most important outcome of any interview—understanding how well the organization fits you as much as how well you fit it.

Tis The Season (To Be Panicked)… An Observation, Not A Recommendation

by Todd Rothman

As any law school applicant knows (or should know!), the law school admissions process is a rolling admissions process.  Put simply, this means that law schools read, review, and evaluate the applications they receive in the order in which they were completed – not necessarily when they were initially submitted, but completed.  Not mostly completed, but completed.  Not everything-except-my-[Dean’s Letter/second letter of recommendation/December LSAT score], but completed.

The rolling admissions process can either work to an applicant’s advantage, if he/she has been steadfast and systematic in his/her planning and executing, and lead to a stress-free Thanksgiving (family members asking you about your law school/career plans, notwithstanding) and even to some early-than-expected decisions.  Alternately, it can make an already stressful process that much more stressful, complete with the ticking-clock feeling that the likelihood of attending your dream law school is slipping away.  Combine that feeling with the logistical realities of this time of year – final exams and papers for seniors and graduate students, end-of-year professional deadlines and obligations for those in the work force, and a seemingly-endless stream of holiday/family events – and the panic to complete law school applications seems justified, if not appropriate, right?  Wrong.  Here’s why.

For anyone who has ever met with me for a pre-law advising appointment, you will probably recall that I encourage having the end of October (or Halloween) be your target date for completion.  But it’s a target date – a goal to shoot for in an ideal world – not a hard-and-fast deadline after which your law school hopes and dreams will be incontrovertibly squelched.  The truth is, my advice in this context builds in some time for the unexpected and undesirable to happen, as it inevitably can despite the best and earliest of intentions.

While completing your law school applications sometime in September and October is ideal, a November or December completion is certainly not late by any stretch of the imagination.  Let me repeat that for the cheap seats: a November or December completion is certainly not late by any stretch of the imagination. The fact is that it can be rather difficult – especially for October LSAT takers, which is the most popular test date historically – to complete by Halloween, especially since completion involves both components in your control (individual applications, personal statements, resumes, assorted addenda and supplemental essays) and outside of your direct control (letters of recommendation from busy professors and supervisors can often betray even the best-laid plans).  If I cited Thanksgiving as a target date – or even, Winter Break/Holidays as a target date – then the unexpected and undesirable could translate into completion over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday or, even worse, Valentine’s Day.  And there’s already enough stress and pressure around Valentine’s Day.

So for those of you who are still working on your law school applications for this cycle, take a deep breath and keep the following in mind:

  • While timing is certainly a factor to take seriously, strong applicants are strong applicants, period.  Admissions Committees will prefer a solid, thoughtful, carefully-proofread application completed on December 15 over an application clearly completed in a state of frazzled panic and duress before Thanksgiving… or even Halloween.
  • Do not neglect your current academic and professional responsibilities.  Especially for college seniors and graduate students in the application process, your Fall semester grades will almost certainly come into play in the admissions process at this point.  You don’t want your laser-beam focus on completing your law school applications to translate into a poor performance on your final exams and term papers.
  • Your pre-law advisors are here to help, so feel free to check in with us – via email, by telephone, or in person – as you work to put the last touches on your applications.

Happy completing (and proof-reading)!

Help! I have an offer deadline and I’m not sure what to do!

You’ve been interviewing for several jobs.

You just received an email from one of your top employers saying that they’re expecting to make a decision “sometime next week.”

Another employer has already offered you a position and wants you to make a decision by the end of this week.

Your interview with a third employer just went really well and it’s likely that you may be asked for a final round of interviews with them.

You want to have all possible offers at the same time so that you can make the best choice – but how can you leave one company hanging while you wait to hear from the others?

What should you do?

First off, take a breath. It’s a stressful time of the year with exams and holidays, but know that there are other students going through the same thing right now.

The most important thing is decide what position would be the best fit for you. There are many factors to consider when comparing job offers, including but not limited to travel, salary, security, responsibilities, and advancement. You must consider whether you see yourself being successful and enjoying the position and the organization before you accept it. If you aren’t sure about a job but you’re concerned about turning an offer down, realize that you would most likely be best to keep looking for a job that offers a better “fit” than accept a job just to have one.

During the busy recruiting season in the fall, it is reasonable to expect employers to allow at least three weeks for you to consider offers received. Inevitably, the phone call or email comes at a surprising time, but if you’re interviewing, expect those kinds of messages and prepare for them.

First, always be sure you know the date by which you need to make your decision. If you have no intention of accepting an offer, be upfront and let the employer know as soon as possible.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where a deadline is looming but you’re still waiting on another organization’s response, don’t be afraid to ask for an extension.   Recruiters that work with college students on a daily basis understand that you have many things going on right now, and needing more time to think about committing to an offer is not an unusual thing to ask.

Finally, once you have accepted an offer in writing, you should consider that you now have an official contract with that organization and you are then obligated to withdraw from all other job search activities. (For sample “Accept” or “Withdraw from a Search” letters, please visit:

Of course, the most important factor to remember is that everyone’s situation will be different. Come in to speak with one of our counselors and they can help you understand how best to evaluate your choices.

You can also view more information on deciding on job offers here: