Graduating? What to Say at those Holiday Parties

If you are graduating in May and will be home for the break, there is some chance you will be getting together with friends and family for a holiday celebration.  Be ready for the following questions:

  • So, what are you going to do after you graduate?
  • This economy must make it hard to find a job.  Have you been having any luck?
  • Are you planning to move into your old room once you finish up at Penn?

Some of you can answer the first and second questions definitively: yes, I have had good luck.  I have accepted (or am considering) a great offer.  In fact, a full third of the class of 2012 had received the offer they ultimately accepted by December of senior year.  Around a fifth can say yes, I have applied to graduate school (18% went directly to graduate or professional school last year).

Other can’t be so definite.  If you are in that remaining half of the class, the chances are you HAVE begun your job search.  (Last year’s COFHE senior survey revealed that just 3% of Penn seniors had not begun their job search by spring.)  Here’s what you can say (with apologies to the Wall Street Journal, who yesterday published a great article on the Job Seeker’s Guide to Holiday-Party Small Talk:

  • I have begun my job search, but the field I’m interested in doesn’t recruit on campus.  Employers tend to do just-in-time hiring.  I plan to ramp up my efforts second semester, with a goal of finding a job by next summer.  Right now I’m actively networking.  Do you know anyone who works in x or y field?
  • The economy is recovering slowly, but it is not so bad for Penn students, I’m told.  The last two years only 6% of Penn graduates were still seeking employment 6 months after graduation.
  • I may move into my old room for a while.  It’s the best way for me to save money until I can afford a place on my own.  But I won’t be sitting around watching re-runs of the Brady Bunch.
  • Thanks for your interest. I’m working with people in Career Services.  They are helping me be ready for post-Penn life.  Have you tried this eggnog?

Enjoy the holiday festivities – we’ll see you 2013.

Author: Patricia Rose

Patricia Rose is the Director of Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania.