Today, February 29, is Leap Day. It’s an extra day added every fourth year to allow for the earth spinning on its axis to catch up with the calendar hanging on our wall.
I’m sure most of you have seen the movie Leap Year. It’s a modern day comedy based on the old myth that said on Leap Day a woman can propose marriage to the man of her dreams, and the man must accept it. Some of you may have friends or relatives born on the 29th of February, who joke about celebrating their birthday only once every 4th year…..a disaster in a child’s life (Mom, no birthday party this year?!?) but a great thing once you arrive at the age when you would be just as happy to stop counting birthdays.
Since you’re reading this on the Career Services blog, I’m sure you’re not surprised that I suggest we consider Leap Day from the Career Services perspective. It’s mid semester –papers, mid-term exams, job searches and recruiting are in full swing. Seniors and grad students soon to finish your schooling are chugging away on your thesis or final papers. You’re also sending out resumes or CV’s, looking for a post-graduation job. Some of you are waiting to hear if you are accepted to graduate or professional schools. Underclassmen, you may be looking for a summer job or internship that will enhance your resume.
How does this relate to Leap Day you wonder? Well, why don’t you think about this day set aside for the world to catch up as an extra day in your life, as well – a 29th day which you didn’t have last February and you won’t have the next few winters. Aren’t we always saying “There’s never enough time in a week…..” or “Where did the day go?” Consider today to be found time. Take advantage of this extra 24 hours and do something special with it. Go back to that to-do list and do something on it. Spend time researching industries and organizations that might be a good match for your skills and interests. Schedule some informational interviews with Penn alumni who might give you some good advice related to your search. Make an appointment with a Career Counselor to review your progress or schedule a mock interview to improve your interviewing skills. Seize the moment, pick up that phone and do something special related to getting ahead!
Whatever you end up doing, feel good that you accomplished something extra today and get a jump (or a leap) on the rest of your life.
Happy Leap Day!
by J. Michael DeAngelis
Video by Jaclyn Chen (W’12)
Did you get a chance to stop by the Spring Career Fair last week? (I’m guessing you did – we had nearly 1,800 sign in!) If so, you might have spent some time on the Hall of Flags balcony, where we were featuring employers who were all running start ups.
Does the idea of working for a start up appeal to you? Maybe you’re apprehensive about working for an unknown or untested organization. Take a listen to what your fellow Penn students had to say about their experiences working or interning for start ups!
Video by Jaclyn Chen (W’12)
By Sharon Fleshman
If you are an international student seeking to find employment in the United States, it is important to be proactive and plan ahead. Here is a list of strategies that you will want to utilize as part of your job search.
Make sure that you are familiar with your immigration status and visa requirements. Penn’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is the main resource for this information.
Identify companies which may have sponsored international students in the past. Fortunately, there are ways to track which companies and organizations have petitioned for visas for potential international employees who they want to hire.
- GoinGlobal has a H1B visa database which lists companies that have filed at least one visa petition over the past year. The Advanced Search function in the H1B resource allows for searching by region, industry or keyword.
- H1Bvisajobs.com provides a similar resource and Career Services has subscriptions for Penn students interested in Computer Science & IT, and Telecom; Education and Research; Architecture, Engineering, and Surveying; or Occupations in Life Sciences.
- Uniworld is a resource that lists international companies with offices in the United States, which means that you can identify organizations from your home country that have offices in the United States as well as American companies with offices in your home country. Such organizations may be likely to appreciate employees who are familiar with both the United States and the country in which the organization is based.
Career Services subscriptions for GoinGlobal, H1BVisajobs.com and Uniworld are accessible from our Pennkey-protected Online Subscriptions page, which can be accessed from our Career Services library page
Build your network. Building relationships with others in your career(s) of interest is a good way to gather information and insight that can help you in your job search. Informational interviewing with alumni is a good place to start.
- QuakerNet is a resource which allows Penn students and alumni to connect with Penn alumni who have volunteered to offer advice by way of informational interviews.
- LinkedIn is a social media resource for professional networking. If you have a profile, you can join an alumni group to connect with Penn alumni. There is a main University of Pennsylvania alumni group as well as other groups based on particular career interests or particular schools at Penn. Once you join a group, you can conduct a search of the members of the group to identify alumni who are in careers of interest to you. There is a possibility that these alumni may be willing to conduct informational interviews with you or send you advice via email.
Although the above resources are very useful, your most important resource is you. In your resumes, make sure to prominently highlight the experience that is most related to your career focus. In your cover letters and interviews, you need to communicate your interest in the employer as well as your relevant qualifications and strengths. Also, as an international student, you should demonstrate how your intercultural and multilingual skills would contribute to the employer. As you move forward with your job search, remember that Career Services is available to assist you.
You’ve spent hours researching employers, learning about your industry of interest, and crafting a tailored resume and thoughtful cover letter that highlights your qualifications and interest in the position. You hit “send” or “submit”. And you wait. And wait. And wait.
I think this stage of the job or internship search is one of the most frustrating since it’s a time when you really feel like you have no control over the situation. While some employers post actual deadlines and update candidates’ statuses on their online application systems, the great majority of employers do not. And there is no standard process for application review. Some employers call selected candidates on a rolling basis planning to hire someone as soon as possible, while other employers take months to call candidates in for interviews because they are simply too busy since they are short staffed, their organization’s hiring system is a slow moving process, or some other reason.
What can an eager candidate do? In most cases, I recommend you follow up. If you don’t hear back from the employer 10 days to two weeks after you submit your resume, it is generally a good idea to contact the employer—ideally the hiring manager as opposed to human resources since he or she is likely the person deciding which candidates will be interviewed. I recommend simply emailing or calling to confirm they received your application and to reiterate your interest and offer to provide additional information if that might be helpful. If you are a long-distance candidate from another city or state, you might also mention if/when you will be passing through and available for an interview (this is also good to mention in the cover letter.) You might also ask if the position is even still open and inquire about their selection process timeline. If the position has been filled then you can ask if they know of any upcoming openings that might match your skill set.
What if the job description doesn’t include contact information? Then use your research skills to find contact information. Go to the employer’s website or the online yellow pages. If you can’t find the number for the specific department, call the main number and ask for the department and hiring manager’s email address of phone number. Organizations won’t always provide this information, but many of them will. And certainly using your network to connect with people who work for the organization is one of the best and easiest ways to find this information. Visit our Networking and Mentoring page for advice and resources for connecting with alumni and others.
No phone calls please. If the job description clearly says “no phone calls”, then follow those directions and do not contact the employer.