If OCR’s not for me, what should I be doing now?

By Kelly Cleary

If you’re on Penn’s campus this month you’ve likely seen many seniors in dark suits spending their afternoons attending information sessions and career fairs and their nights updating their resumes, applying to On Campus Recruiting (OCR) jobs via PennLink.

But what should you be doing now if you’re not interested in working in for the finance, consulting, consumer products, and technology firms that recruit on campus in the fall? It is nearly impossible to provide a “one size fits all” job search timeline since each type of position you apply for comes with its own industry-specific protocols, but if you’ve asked yourself the question,” If OCR’s not for me, what should I be doing now?” here is some advice:

  • If you’re not sure where to begin, visit our Career Exploration page where you can access career interest inventories, resources for researching different kinds of careers, handouts on “What Can I Do with My Major?”, and specific information on first jobs and graduate schools for Penn alumni.
  • Ready to start looking? If you have an idea of the types of jobs or industries that might interest you (and it’s smart to keep an open mind about this), then visit our Job Search page where you’ll find tips for finding a job and specific resources for job postings. Since most industries don’t hire for post-grad positions until the spring, for now you can develop your wish list of prospective employers and gather a list of favorite job posting websites. Now is also a great time to network and do informational interviews with alumni and others who work in your field of interest.
  • Considering a Gap Year or a Year of Service? There are many interesting and worthwhile alternatives to starting a traditional first job. Our Year(s) of Service/Gap Year Programs website highlights many opportunities and resources. If you’ve met with me, you may know I’m a big fan of heading abroad or doing a year of service after graduation if you’re inclined to do so. My first job after college was as a teaching intern at an international school in Italy. I didn’t make much money, but it was an amazing experience that certainly helped shape my career path. Some of these Service programs and some government agencies do have earlier deadlines.

 The Policy & Government Fair on Friday September 28th  will be a great opportunity for you to learn about some of these post-grad options.  Registered attendees include service programs such as the Peace Corps, Teach for America, and Americorps, as well as the U.S. State Department, the FBI, U.S. Courts, Americorps, American Enterprise Institute, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who will be hiring for internships and full-time positions. For the full list of registered organizations, go to:  http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/undergrad/GovFair2012studentinfo.html

For more resources on public service related careers, visit our new Common Good Careers website. The International Opportunities Fair on October 25th will be another great change to learn about post-graduate service programs and jobs.

To make sure you don’t miss out on these types of events and opportunities, join our Common Good Careers and International Careers listservs for updates on related events and opportunities.

To subscribe to either of these listservs, send an email from your Penn account (NOT from a GMAIL or another account connected to your Penn account) to:    listserv@lists.upenn.edu with this command in the body of the e-mail:    SUBscribe CommonGoodCareers  AND/OR  SUBscribe InternationalCareers

  •  All of that said, be open to OCR opportunities  since some consulting, marketing or research positions might be attractive to “Non-OCR types” If you’re not an “OCR-type” you still might enjoy and be very qualified for some consulting, marketing, research, paralegal or government positions that are available through OCR (which really just means they collect resumes through PennLink and conduct interviews in our On Campus Interview suite in McNeil instead of interviewing people at their office or by phone or Skype.) Create and schedule a Search Agent in PennLink to make sure you don’t miss out on any OCR or general job postings that match your interests.

You have enormous flexibility over when you start your job search, but it almost always takes longer than one wishes to find a job, especially in a tough economy. For most job hunters, three months is the minimum amount of time it takes to find a job you want (this would mean if you want to start in June 2013, you’d start applying in March or so.) Good luck with your search!

How Penn Prepared Me for Life at IBM

by Miriam, CAS ’11

Graduating from Penn, I was sure that postgraduate life at IBM would greatly differ than my college life. While I was not flying on planes twice a week and accumulating hotel points at Penn, many aspects of my daily life at Penn helped to prepare me for IBM.

Work Hard, Play Hard
First, the “work hard play hard” Penn motto is definitely applicable to IBM. Consultants’ lives are often dependent on client demands which can mean long hours of hard work.  As Penn students, we are required to develop time management and multitasking skills. These abilities will help you manage the sometimes hectic consulting environment. While the work is demanding, the IBM culture also encourages a positive lifestyle. My team achieves this through arranging team outings ranging from dinners, to baseball games, to excursions to Cirque Du Soleil. I found Penn prepared me to be concentrated and serious when the situation called for it, and to be appropriately relaxed during social events which allows for team bonding and relationship building. This is an important aspect in building your network, and finding mentors throughout your time at IBM.

Prepared for the Unpredictable
Additionally, Penn helps to prepare you for the Consulting by Degrees (CBD) program by placing you in an atmosphere that is not always predictable. Going into a new course, you have to be willing to adapt to the teacher’s methodology, and you will similarly work to complement your project manager and team’s working style. Each professor expects you to quickly adapt to the working environment, and pick up on new skills at a rapid pace. Additionally, within every course, you are required to utilize several skills such as researching and synthesizing information and producing a work product from your analysis. These capabilities are critical in consulting. Most importantly, Penn provides you with the confidence that you have the intelligence and ability to gain skills that will allow you to develop a structured solution for a complex business problem.

How to Stand Out
While Penn provides you with an excellent background for the CBD program, there are several things you can do to stand out as a candidate. First, speak to as many IBM consultants as possible. The more you learn, the better you will know if IBM is a good fit for you. Second, practice case studies with your friends and Career Services. Excelling in the case is a great way to show that you can approach complex problems in a structured, logical manner. Third, IBM is a company that thrives on strong leadership and collaboration, so it is very important that you can demonstrate your leadership abilities. Finally, in the interview relax and be yourself, you want the interviewer to want you on their next project!

CareerLink: Day One

Join us on Tuesday, September 11th & Wednesday, September 12th for Career Link 2012, Penn’s annual University-wide career fair. Enhance your search for full-time postgraduate positions and/or summer internships by taking the opportunity to speak with and distribute resumes to a wide variety of employers. Many of the recruiters will return to campus later in the year to conduct individual interviews with students. Dress is business casual. Career Link is a two day event! Students are welcome and encouraged to attend both days.

(Accounting, Financial Services, Real Estate, and Finance Related Positions)

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the

Click here for a list of employers attending today’s fair.

areer Link is open to all students (and alumni) enrolled in degree programs in the following schools: Annenberg, Arts and Sciences, Biomedical Graduate Studies and School of Medicine Master’s programs, Engineering, Education, Design, Nursing, Social Policy and Practice, and Wharton Undergraduates and PhDs. Please note the fair is not open to the general public or Penn MBA, MD or law students.

You can find out information about which employers will attend and the positions they are seeking to fill by logging into PennLink in early September. (You can also hear an audiocast of career fair tips to help you prepare for Career Link by clicking here.)


By the Book: New Semester, New Books

by J. Michael DeAngelis, Information Resources Manager

It’s the start of another semester here at Penn and the Career Services staff spent part of the summer refreshing our library holdings for your benefit.  Here’s just a sample of some of the newest books you’ll find on our shelves this fall.

Remember that the Career Services Library has extended hours when classes are in session.  We remain open until 6pm Monday-Wednesday and 5pm on Thursdays and Fridays.  Stop in, we’d be happy to see you!

Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation (7th Edition) by Marc P. Cosentino.  Arguably the most popular book on our shelves, Case in Point is the definitive case interview prep book.  The book includes over forty sample strategy cases that you can use to practice with, as well as marketing cases, human capital cases and more.  Due to the popularity of this book, we’ve increased our holdings to three copies of the latest edition, as well as two copies of the previous edition, which remains a  valuable resource.

Now What? The Young Person’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Career by Nicholas Lore.  Though sometimes it can seem like everyone around you knows EXACTLY what they want to do with their lives – rest assured it’s just not true.  At Career Services, we have several books about finding a career path, but this newest edition is aimed squarely at college students and recent grads.

Used in conjunction with a visit with a career counselor, this book should give those looking for guidance a good place to start.

Expert Resumes for Teachers and Educators by Wendy S. Enelow & Louise M. Kursmark.  We’ve recently expanded our holdings in the education section of the library and this book is of particular note.  As the publisher states: “This book includes a comprehensive collection of sample resumes and cover letters written by some of the nation s most acclaimed professional resume writers. This guide also reveals how to get noticed and win interviews, choose the best resume type for your situation, and master each phase of the resume and cover letter writing process. In addition, a new chapter explains how to create and use an electronic resume.”

Changing Hats While Managing Change: From Social Work Practice to Administration by Felice Davidson Perlmutter and Wendy P. Crook.  For students in the School of Social Policy & Practice.

From the publisher: A unique and useful guide for practitioners who want to broaden their repertoire of professional choices and are either moving up the administrative ladder or considering making a career move in that direction. In user-friendly language, Changing Hats While Managing Change addresses the major challenges that face social workers in these complex times and presents a picture of the various roles and responsibilities of administration, illustrating them with lively case studies.

Social Media Updates: Fall 2012 Preview

Fall 2012 is an exciting time for Career Services and our growing social media presence. Here is a quick preview of what to expect from us:

Social Media Challenge.  In less than two weeks, on September 17th, we will launch our first ever, Social Media Challenge. It’s going to be awesome for a few reasons.  First and foremost, there is a pretty sweet prize, a white, iPad 2.  Not only will this help you with your classes and manage your own social media presence, but it is sponsored by the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn. Second, we tapped into our creative talent here at Career Services, to create dynamic clues to highlight the wide-range of resources we have for all the undergraduate and graduate students we serve.  Third, did I mention the sweet prize? White. iPad. 2. Finally, it is super easy to enter.  Watch the clues that will be shared exclusively on our social media platforms, and fill out the online entry form, which will also be shared on our social media platforms.  The more you participate, the greater your chances to win! It’s very similar to networking on LinkedIn, where the more connections you make, the more power your network holds.

Where can you find a full list of our social media accounts? Go to the challenge’s website or look for a “penncareerserv” handle on your favorite social media platforms, like Facebook.com/PennCareerServ.

Social Media Themes. All of you have an interest in different career paths, graduate school programs and internship opportunities.  Each week, our social media platforms will have a different theme to share resources relevant for these diverse interests.  Upcoming themes include:

  • September 10th – 14th: Navigating Opportunities in Business.  What do you need to know to find and succeed in business?  Inspired by our career fairs, Career Link and ECAD.
  • September 17th – 21st: Discover Career Services Resources. A broad overview of all that we can do for you, inspired by our Social Media Challenge. The resources we share will likely help you find the answers to our clues, and your odds to win that white iPad 2.
  • September 24th – 28th: Policy and Government Careers.  Want to work for the government? Make an impact through policymaking? We’ll look at relevant resources leading up to our annual, Policy and Government Career Fair, on September 28th.
  • October 1st – 5th: Common Good Careers. We’ll continue our focus on career opportunities that make an impact, and expand our scope to include nonprofits, social services and other public interest career and internship opportunities.

As you can see, there is a lot coming up on Career Services’ social media channels.  So, stay tuned and be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and watch our videos on Vimeo.  We have lots to share and want to interact through these platforms, because after all, that is what social media is all about!