Your First Job Is Not Forever

Jamie Grant, C ‘98 GEd ‘99

I consider it a great privilege to work with soon-to-be graduates as they strive for their first professional position after Penn.  My favorite days are those when the conversations delve into career choice and decision making.  I often speak with students about opportunities that offer the chance (or risk, depending on your perspective) to move somewhere new, to work on something “exciting,” to make a difference in the world….or any number of other equally important things. 

Your personal consideration of choices and opportunities might cause you different kinds of feelings – excitement (I hope!), but also potentially, and commonly, trepidation.  This is also a process during which people may have different opinions as to what you should do.  How do you weigh it all and make the best possible choice for you?

I think this choice may be eased with a bit of focus on determining your “work values” and remembering the title of this blog – that your first job is not forever (and the numbers of jobs held as reported in some of our Alumni 5-year and 10-year out surveys attest to this fact!).   Our Career Exploration page makes two very important statements that tie it all together:

  •  It’s important to consider your values when looking at a variety of careers, because values serve as a barometer of emotion, measuring the degree of happiness and satisfaction in a career, and…
  • How you prioritize your values can change over time.

As you think about values today and in the future, I hope you’ll use those thoughts to guide your search.  And, as you contemplate career choices, please don’t hesitate to take advantage of the most valuable resource of Career Services, career counseling. Our experienced staff will gladly support you through this important phase of your career development.

Tayler Sorensen (C’11) shares her story

My day

I work in Corporate Communications at Bayer Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pa. It still amazes me every day how such a small department does so much work for such a large company. I work in an open office space with four other people and my boss has an office a few feet away. The lack of cubicles encourages us to talk and share ideas often, and I love hearing what everyone else is working on.

First thing in the morning, I read my emails and check for mentions of Bayer in the U.S. media. I run the media archive for the department, keeping a record of all the mentions of Bayer in outlets such as newspapers, television, and radio shows. I use this data to compile quarterly media reports so we can measure how much coverage we receive and whether it’s positive or negative.

Most of my work revolves around social media. I write campaigns for our Twitter and Facebook pages, post videos to YouTube, and I recently started working on campaigns for Pinterest. That’s probably my favorite thing about this internship – Bayer encourages interns to come up with their own ideas and then they help make them a reality. I pitched a plan for adding content on our Pinterest page, my boss thought it was a great idea, and then I actually got to implement it.

Continue reading “Tayler Sorensen (C’11) shares her story”

You’re on Twitter, now what?

by Lin Yuan (Wh’ 13)

Whether we’re getting sick of Facebook or just want to try something new, many of us are migrating over to Twitter these days. However, as a student using Twitter (or anyone really), we have to keep in mind what image our Twitter feeds may convey. Twitter is a great platform for personal expression, but as with all social media outlets, the fact that almost anyone can see what we post means we need to think before we tweet. Here are some practical tips for a Twitter to be proud of.

Some Don’ts:

Don’t be cryptic – Tweeting out of context non-sequiturs is a great way to lose followers and lose credibility. If no one knows what you’re talking about, they’ll assume you don’t really know either.

Don’t be sarcastic – Sarcasm is a delicate art, and one that doesn’t always translate well online. If you want to make a sarcastic remark about something, think about how well it would go over if the reader didn’t understand the humor. Remember, whoever is the target of your sarcastic joke can easily see your tweets.

Don’t be discriminatory, profane, or intoxicated – Self explanatory. Don’t end up on this Tumblr.


Some Do’s:

Do follow interesting people – Follow news outlets, employers, and other influential people.  Twitter can be a great way to stay updated on what you’re interested in.

Do state your opinions – Have an opinion on an article or issue? Tweet it and say what you think (in a respectful, thoughtful way, of course.) Twitter can be a way to establish your expertise as much as it is a way to hear what others have to say.

Do show off your personality – Just because you want to keep it professional doesn’t mean you have to come across like a robot. Share your interests and find your unique “voice” on Twitter.

Do tweet regularly – Keep your posts regular and consistent to build your follower base and show off your interests and fabulous wit.

One last do:

Do follow @PennCareerServ – shameless plug.

Innovation is our bottom-line

By Christine Nieves @nieveschristine

Hey guys!  Just a quick shout-out to the Penn Career Services. They rock! And in case you are wondering why, you should go to as many panel discussions as you can, get help with your resume and interview skills, and walk into their library. I did that since I was a freshman at Penn, and it has paid off exponentially.

I wanted to share a post I recently wrote for our blog: Pioneering Ideas.  But let me take a step back: before you check it out, you should know that at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation we work to improve the health and health care of all Americans. And yes, there are such organizations out there where the bottom line is having a social impact (i.e. Philanthropy).

Within RWJF I have the fortune of working for the Pioneer Team. At Pioneer we support projects that use original, unconventional and/or cross-sectoral approaches to create transformative change on large and pressing challenges that will be critical to the future of health and health care.  Our vision is getting young people (like you!) to come up with new, resourceful ways to solve big, messy problems. And well, to facilitate that, we have a process whereby you can apply for funding!

So now, back to the post. You can find it here:  Innovation and Youth: Tapping our Young Resources    Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter @NievesChristine where I am constantly talking about what I do/read/think for a living.

78.32% of Statistics are Made-up

Dr. Joseph Barber

Well…, that statistic is 100% accurate, as you have probably noticed during this election season. Here are a couple more common, career-related statistics we can take a closer look at.

1) Recruiters spend on average only 6.5 seconds reviewing each resume. I have seen various different versions of this statement…, and some are generous enough to give you up to 30 seconds of a recruiter’s time. Is this accurate? Yes, no…, maybe. Who knows…, but if you put yourself in the shoes of whomever it is that has to read resumes, then you realize that their time is quite precious. Whoever is reading your resume probably has a busy day ahead of them, because if they are reading yours, then chances are they are reading many, many more. In a competitive job market, it is not uncommon to have 200 or more submissions for a job. I have heard this from people in both the academic and non-academic job market. With the best intentions, people reading resumes want to give each one a fair shot…, but toward the end of the process they are probably job hoping and praying that whoever wrote the resume has actually read even just part of the job description.

Depending on the industry, you can actually be quite discerning in 6.5 seconds. If the job you are applying for is a project management position, and the word “manage” and “project” does not appear on the first page, then this might result in your application heading towards the wrong pile (the “no” pile). Chances are that you have “managed” many “projects”…, but do you try to use the language the employer uses in their job description to describe your experiences in your resume? If not, then eliminating this simple disconnect between your experiences and what an employer is looking for will mean that within 6.5 seconds the person skimming your resume will know that yours is worthy of a more thorough read.

If the job you are applying for requires attention to detail or the ability to communicate effectively, and the person reading your resume spots an obvious typo or can’t even see the typos (or your relevant experiences) because the way you have formatted your resume makes it impossible to read (e.g., tiny text, no margins)…, then 6.5 seconds could be all someone needs. If you are not sure what might give someone the ability to make a decision about you in 6.5 seconds, then come chat with an advisor at Career Services. We’ll tell you that recruiters and other people looking at resumes really do want to spend a much longer time looking at people’s resumes…, if only they would make it easy for them to do so.

2) You can be almost 100% certain that if you don’t apply for a job you won’t get it. I say “almost” here because I worked with someone at Disney’s Animal Kingdom who was in their 40’s, and who had never actually formally applied or interviewed for any of the jobs/internships she had had. While somewhat of an outlier in terms of what her job was (everything from an intern working with Temple Grandin, dolphin trainer, behavioural consultant, to animal care/behavioural husbandry manager), the way she managed this is absolutely right on the mark – she is a fantastic networker. It is not necessarily who she knows, but rather who knows her. Reputations matter, words travel…, and if someone with a very large and active network of contacts knows you, then this can mean that you can become well-known, and even world-renown, even if your own network is still quite small.

You probably won’t end up with a job you don’t apply for, but you really shouldn’t apply for every job out there. It takes a lot of time to put together an effective job application – come and see us, and we’ll tell you why, and how you can use your time efficiently. You’ll likely be better off sending out a much smaller number of nicely tailored applications, rather than 100 applications thrown together at the last minute.

3) Four out of five dentists prefer Colgate…, or was it Crest…., or perhaps Aquafresh? Well, it was probably a made-up statistic anyway, and since I can’t even remember which brand they did prefer (and perhaps it was gum, not toothpaste), I’m not going to worry about this one.