College Hiring Up!

By Barbara Hewitt

Great news! The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported yesterday that employers expect to hire 21% more new college graduates this year over last year. (This is up from the 13.5% increase they predicted back in August.) The Career Services office at Penn has also noted an increase in employer activity this year, with both career fair attendance and on-campus recruiting up significantly.

If you would like to read the preliminary report, check out JobWeb,  a website maintained by NACE which offers career and job-search advice for new college graduates.  You’ll find lots of great articles and useful information on this site.

A Day in the Life: Commercial Real Estate

Real Estate is more than buying and selling houses, it’s about living and working environments.  There are a wide range of opportunities available to those interested in pursuing a career in real estate, one of those is in commercial real estate.  Morgan Hill (WH ’09) will contribute to @PennCareerDay on Twitter on Wednesday, April 6th and discuss her life in this area.  To learn more about Morgan, read below and don’t forget to follow her next week!

Morgan Hill, Associate, joined Retail Sites in January 2010 to focus on leasing and tenant representation services. Ms. Hill is a 2009 graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Real Estate.  Prior to graduating, Morgan held internships at Interstate Commercial assisting in site selection activities and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust where she supported the leasing department. While at Wharton, Ms. Hill served as Research Assistant in the Wharton Real Estate Department.

Three R’s for the job search and beyond

by Sharon Fleshman

I work with many students who seek to either enter or support the helping professions.  Often the same skills that they seek to empower others with need to be applied to their own career planning and development. As you develop these three R’s during your job search, remember that they’ll also come in handy to help you excel once you land the job.

Reflection. Many of us live in a fast-paced, media-saturated culture, in which information, ideas, and images are coming at us from all directions.  This isn’t necessarily bad in of itself, but can distract us from the thoughtful, intentional reflection necessary to confirm our interests, affirm our strengths and address our weaknesses. Fortunately, reflection can be integrated into a field placement, internship or just about any extracurricular experience.  Student teachers can reflect on why a particular lesson was or was not successful. Student nurses can make observations about how their supervisors attend to patients. Interns can think about what attracted them to one internship site more than another. Taking the time to reflect can be quite beneficial to the job search, particularly for interviewing, since you often need to offer concrete examples that demonstrate that you are interested in and qualified for the job.

Resourcefulness. As you seek to move toward your career goals, there are resources available to help. The key is to foster awareness of these resources and to utilize them effectively.  Those of you in the helping professions seek to cultivate resourcefulness toward wellness and development in your students, patients, and clients; don’t forget to do the same for yourself.  The Career Services website is a great place to start identifying resources that will be most useful to you.  Our website is full of information and may seem a bit overwhelming at first glance, so set aside some time to learn to navigate it.  Your network is also an important resource, so make sure that you build it by way of informational interviewing, joining professional associations, and being a resource for others.

Resilience.  Ask any student making a comeback from a failing grade or a patient recovering from illness. Resilience makes the difference.  The ability to bounce back in the face of roadblocks is always necessary, especially during a challenging economy.  If you are frustrated at the lack of job offers or caught off guard by a layoff, it is critical not to internalize your disappointment or a paralysis of sorts may set in. Instead, look to your support system for encouragement and advice as you regroup. Adjust your goals and tweak your plans as necessary, but don’t overwhelm yourself by focusing on worst case scenarios. Take it one step at a time. Start each day with a fresh resolve to persist. Submit another application. Schedule another informational interview. Use the tools of reflection and resourcefulness to move forward.

By the Book: Performing Arts

by J. Michael DeAngelis, Career Services Librarian and Information Resources Specialist

Today we’re launching a new feature on Penn & Beyond that will highlight many of the print resources that we have on hand in the Career Services library.  Stop in and browse through these titles and the hundreds of others we have in our catalog.  When classes are in session, library hours are M-W 9am-6pm and TR-F, 9am-5pm.  After classes end, our hours are M-F 9am-5pm. We begin this series with a look at books for students interested in the performing arts.

There’s no set way to enter into a career in the performing arts.  Some people struggle for years to be able to make a living in the field, while others seem to have overnight success or “lucky breaks.” Entering into the performing arts – whether you be an actor, a director, a dancer, a writer, a designer or even an aspiring casting agent – requires a lot of dedication and perseverance.  Luckily, we have several resources in our library that can help you make a game plan.

The Actor Takes a Meeting by Stephen Book (Silman-James Press, 2006).  Book, an acting teacher who felt that many of his students needed training in the art of the interview, developed this fascinating book directly from his workshop’s curriculum.  The book details many different interview scenerios an actor may face including meeting with producers, casting directors, agents and managers.

Included are bits of background information on how meetings like these come about and examples of successful meetings (often laid out in actor-friendly script format).  This is a very unique book that takes a look at a side of the acting business that is sometimes over looked.

Hit the Ground Running: The First Years of Your Acting Career by Carolyne Barry (Carolyne Barry Creative Enterprises, 2010).  Ms. Barry presents herself as a jack-of-all-trades in the performing arts: actor, teacher, casting director, director and producer.  In Hit the Ground Running, Barry lays out some useful advice on planning your expenses, setting timelines, seeking day jobs, joining unions and more.  Along with the standard audition tips and “insider” information on auditioning and branding yourself, this book gives you a good day-to-day glimpse at what it takes to be a working actor.

How to be a Working Actor by Lynne Rogers and Mari Lyn Henry, forward by Joe Mantegna (Back Stage Books, 2008).  The title really says it all.  This is another good book for those specifically looking into going into acting.  It focuses a little more on the craft – auditioning, going to workshops, getting into a union, getting the right headshots, etc, but it also has some specific tips for those who want to work in the theater, where Hit the Ground Running focuses more on film and television careers.   Plus, how can you not love a book with a forward by Fat Tony himself?

We have two directories in the library that will be helpful to those seeking any sort of theater job – from acting to stage management to directing and designing: The Regional Theatre Directory (Theater Directories, 2007) and the Summer Theater Directory (Theater Directories, 2005).  These guides are superb listings of regional theaters that provide contact information for job hunters.  Both directories detail the kind of shows that the theaters put (big, splashy musicals; small scale dramas; children’s theater; etc.) on and supply typical job postings for the season.  Sadly, these directories are a few years old and new editions are not available.  However, these are great starting off points, especially for those seeking summer employment in a theater.  Browse the books and then double check the contact information online.

Finally, a book that examines what you can do with your theater major: Great Jobs for Theater Majors by Jan Goldberg (McGraw-Hill, 2005).  Some of the choices are obvious – actor, acting teacher – but there’s still good advice in here about moving into fields such as casting, theater management and publicity.  The book includes decent resume and cover letter samples as well as profiles of those working in the business, such as respected lighting designer Dennis Parichy.

These are just a few of the books on performing arts careers available in the Career Services library.  Drop by and take a look at these selections and others!  Readers interested in this column may also find an other post of mine useful – “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” – about the importance of finding a job where you are flexible to pursue your dreams and your skills as a theater artist can be put to use.

We’ll be highlighting another career field in a future By The Book column soon!

Location, Location, Location

by Pat Rose, Director of Career Services

Everyone who has ever done any house or apartment hunting knows the old saw that the most important three things to consider are location, location, and location.  The same is true for job hunters.

For example, you may need to stay in a particular city or town because you want to be near family, or because you are part of a dual career couple, or because you couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.  Fair enough.

But some of you may be a little more flexible.  You may want to focus on your career, and will go where the jobs are.  If you are in this category, I urge you to read a recent Forbes article,  “The Easiest and Hardest Cities for Finding a Job.

This article presents a study that compared jobs posted in the 4th quarter of 2010 with a salary of $50,000 or more in different U.S.  metropolitan areas.  While the methodology might be a little flawed, the comparative results are telling.  The easiest place to find a job is San Jose, CA, which had a whopping 126 job postings per 1000 of  population.  Second was Washington, D.C., with 116 openings per 1000 citizens.   At the other extreme, New Orleans had just 10 postings.  Tied for second lowest were Buffalo and Rochester, with 11 per 1000.

Of course there are explanations.  Washington, D.C. has the job engine of the federal government.  San Jose is in the heart of Silicon Valley, where tech firms are hiring.  In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article names the top 50 start ups.   Eight of the top 10 and 35 of the 50 were based in California, most in the Bay area.

Our economic recovery is uneven geographically.  Don’t lose sight of this as you look for your first, or your next,  job.  Remember, it’s all about location, location and location.