Light your fire

It’s that time of year. Many of you may be in the final months of your degree program. We’ve all been there – you’re sitting in class when you hear someone nearby sharing details about their latest interview or the number of job offers they’ve received. As classmates chime in with their own experiences, you begin to think about that list of job search “to dos” you haven’t quite tackled yet. While you could spend the semester changing seats to stay out of earshot of these conversations, the better option is to focus your attention on your own plans. If this is the first time you are pursuing employment, the task can seem daunting. Where do you begin? How about starting with that resume and cover letter?

When I first sat down to write a cover letter as an undergrad, I stared at the computer screen a few minutes before determining that the apartment must be cleaned! Needless to say, while my apartment was spotless the cursor stood on a blank page on the computer screen for weeks. I would never have thought that cleaning would be preferable to writing a cover letter! It wasn’t until I found a position of interest and scrambled to put together a so-so document that I realized that I couldn’t keep procrastinating. What a relief it was when I actually sat down and got to work!

Developing your written materials may seem like an arduous task, but you can do it! Why not get these easy check-off items done so you can focus your attention on more important aspects of the job search – exploring your interests, researching organizations and companies, building relationships/connecting with others, and applying to positions!

To jump start the job search process, here are a few easy tips for getting the resume and cover letters done!

1)     Attend an upcoming Career Services workshop on resume and cover letter writing.  You will leave well-informed and armed with resources and knowledge to develop those necessary documents.

2)     Review resume and cover letter writing tips as well as sample documents on the Career Services website. These documents serve as helpful guides as you prepare your own.

3)     Set a deadline for yourself.  In fact, why not schedule an appointment with a career counselor to have your resume and cover letter reviewed? You’ll have a date set when you know you must have these drafts written! Please please please be sure you’ve put forth a valiant effort before coming to the appointment. It will be well worth your time.

Best of luck this semester. Just think, the more efficient you are in developing your job search materials, the more time you’ll have for enjoying life at Penn. You may even find the time to clean your apartment…if you feel like it.


Author: Sarah

Sarah Hastings is a career counselor with the Nursing/Education/SP2 advising group.