Tiffany Franklin, Associate Director
Happy Thanksgiving! It’s that time of year when the semester is wrapping up and you have earned a well-deserved break to relax with friends and family. As you pause to give thanks, this is also an opportunity to reflect on your job/internship search efforts so far and develop a plan that will build on your efforts from this semester. Many companies may slow the pace of their recruiting efforts before the big push in early January. This is the perfect time for you to take a few steps during holiday breaks that will help you when campus recruiting heats up in the new year.
Have your resume and cover letter critiqued and ready. As you reflect on the year, be sure to update your resume to include your most recent accomplishments and new activities. Find a job or internship posting that interests you and draft a cover letter. If you are pursuing two different industries (e.g., engineering and consulting), create two versions of your resume. Be sure to drop your resume and cover letter off at Career Services, come in for a walk-in session or call to schedule an appointment. We are here to help you!
Practice Your Interview Skills. The best time to prepare for an interview is before you’re in the middle of a hectic week of mid-terms, papers and campus obligations. Take time between semesters to review the Interviewing Advice section on the Career Services website. There are sample questions (general, behavioral, by industry) that will help you know what to expect and guidance on how to handle these questions. Be sure to practice these on your own, with a friend or call Career Services for a mock interview. There’s also a whole page of interview prep guides and access to Interview Stream, a practice interview system that allows job seekers the opportunity to see and hear themselves online. Prepare now and when you’re invited for interviews this spring, you’ll have the general prep finished and can focus on tailoring your interview efforts to that specific position and employer.
Research the Possibilities. Are you still deciding between industries? Use this time to research various career paths and discover fields that fit your interests. Sites such as Vault and Wetfeet Guides provide helpful snapshots of industries. There’s a whole section of the Career Services website (Career Exploration tab) dedicated to pathways you can take with your major. Glassdoor is a site with an abundance of information of specific companies. In addition, one of the best ways to explore a career path is to speak with people working in that in that field. Informational interviews give you the opportunity to ask someone what they like about their job, what they find challenging and what they wish they knew when they were getting started. Penn teaches you how to research like a pro, so put that to use for your job search.
Make New Connections. One of the many benefits of attending Penn is the strong alumni network you now have at your fingertips. QuakerNet, Penn’s online alumni community, and LinkedIn are fantastic ways to identify alumni to connect with for informational interviews. On both QuakerNet and LinkedIn, you can search alumni by company, industry and location. Take a chance and reach out to alumni to see if they would have 15 minutes to connect and share their experience in a particular field. Remember to send thank you notes afterwards!
Develop a Plan. PennLink, iNet (internships) and job sites targeted by major (Found on the Career Exploration page – what can I do with my major section) will have a multitude of opportunities, with new ones added throughout the spring semester. Take some time to become familiar with uploading documents and conducting advanced searches on these sites. Make it a habit now to start checking the calendar on the Career Services site on a weekly basis for the latest workshops, panels, information sessions, and career fairs.
These tips can help you position yourself for a productive job/internship search. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!