Website Maintenance Tonight

UPDATE (11/11/14 11:07am EST): Our website is back up, though some features like the design database or the career plan survey forms are still offline. Stay tuned. PennLink and iNet remain unaffected by these problems on the main website. Job hunt away!!

For any night owls out there, please note that the Career Services website will be down this evening/early tomorrow morning from 3am-6am EST.

The blog will stay online, as will our HPAB letters service, iNet and PennLink. However, you will have to go directly to their landing pages to access them, so please go there now and bookmark them.

We don’t expect this outage to last past 6am, though some individual pages will continued to be updated throughout the day.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Research employers and improve your job application ROI!

Researching potential employers is a critical element of every job or internship search.  It is extremely important when you need to identify your options, and necessary during the application and interview stage for you to successfully communicate the match between a prospective employer’s needs and your relevant skills and experience.  In fact, it may be the best investment of your time and effort that will simultaneously 1) boost your ability to stand out in a sea of other applicants and 2) give you the confidence to know that you are aiming for opportunities that will be a good fit.

Many of you may be familiar with academic institutions, but there are many other types of organizational settings and structures.  Before you are called to interview, do your best to find out the following about any prospective employer:

  • Mission; product/service: what is the purpose of this company/organization?
  • “Clients” and competitors: who receives the services of this company, and who else is targeting this group with their services?
  • Structure and management, organizational culture
  • Sector: nonprofit, for-profit (private sector), public (government agency)
  • Financial health 
  • The hiring process

Career Services offers several online resources through our library subscriptions pages to help you research potential employers.  You must log in with your PennKey and password to access the subscriptions, which are listed alphabetically.

  • For those interested in exploring industries such as consulting, healthcare, and investment banking, and are particularly useful.  These reference resources allow you to read overviews of various major industries, discover the “major players” (i.e., biggest, influential companies), and learn more about typical position types within each industry.
  • We also subscribe to ReferenceUSA, which provides contact information as well as specific company data for United States businesses in particular (as well as some Canadian and other international businesses).  If you use the advanced search option, you can get information on credit ratings, company histories, executives’ names, and even the company’s local “competitors.”
  • Finally, for international students, GoinGlobal and H1VisaJobs offer databases which can help you identify the companies who have applied to the federal government recently for H1Visas (this gives you a head start if you know a company is willing to hire international candidates, or is familiar with H1 Visa hiring procedures.)  GoinGlobal also lists salary information for specific job titles – a very helpful tool whether or not you are an international student.

Use networking as a means to find out employer or industry information you can’t get through your online research.  If you are a current Penn student or alumnus/a, be sure to use QuakerNet (Penn Alumni Online Community) to identify alumni who can give you the “inside scoop” on a particular organization or field.  LinkedIn is also a great resource – read these Program Notes to find out how to optimize your LinkedIn experience in your career exploration and job search.

Once you use these resources to research an employer, you will be better able to: connect your accomplishments to the performance criteria that the organization is seeking; identify the most important skills, qualifications and experiences that are in demand in a given industry; assess an organization’s potential workplace needs and how you can contribute given your work style; show how your goals match those of the company (given its mission, size, structure, and market specialization).   And in communicating all the above, you will greatly increase your chances of getting job offers!

If you have any questions or would like some guidance in how to use these resources in your career exploration and job search, please connect with a career advisor.  You can find information on how to do that here:

Navigating the Job Search with a Disability

by Dr. Fatimah Williams Castro, Associate Director

Our diverse student body requires job search and career planning tools that support a range of groups and particular needs, from international students to students with disabilities to students researching abroad. The job search can present various opportunities and challenges, as you make new professional contacts, hunt down job leads, submit applications, and interview with employers. Our goal at Career Services is to help streamline this process for all students and postdocs so you can thrive on the job market.

So last month, I spent some time focusing on our career-related events and resources for students with disabilities. Here are a few resources that may interest you:

  • Lime Connect offers a helpful tool to search for internships and full time employment. Also, the USAJobs gathers and publishes federal job openings for job-seekers with disabilities.
  • Take a look at the list of job boards on our site such as Enable America and Getting Hired, which publicize job announcements from for-profit companies and other organizations.
  • Career Services regularly hosts panels and workshops on the academic job search and expanded career job search. To request accommodations such as interpretation, you may contact The Office of Student Disabilities Services at Weingarten Learning Resource Center at 215-573-9235 or Just be sure to request services at least three business days in advance of the event you plan to attend.
  • Career Services Listserv for Students with Disabilities: Career Services occasionally receives information about positions and career opportunities from employers particularly interested in connecting with students with disabilities.  All students who consider themselves to have a disability are welcome to be included on the list. If interested in being included on the listserv, please send Barbara Hewitt, Senior Associate Director of Career Services, your Penn email.  Listserv members will remain confidential and only the list owner will be able to view who is on it.

There you will find positions like the one just posted for NASA Student Interns with Disabilities for Summer 2015. NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through its internship programs. Positions available for students up to the doctoral level in STEM fields. You can register for an account anytime at the One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI): NASA Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships (NIFS) at

We support students and postdocs in preparing for all aspects of the job search, application and interview processes. If you have questions or would like to work directly with a career advisor, call us for an appointment at 215-898-7531.

Wishing you success in your job search!


Survey Says…Liberal Arts Grads from Penn Do All Sorts of Cool Things!

By Claire Klieger

I recently completed our preliminary career plans survey report for the Class of 2014 graduates from the College. Not surprisingly, our liberal arts grads are doing very well. In fact, there more students employed full-time (61%) and a lower “seeking employment” rate (6%) as compared to the results from the preliminary report done at the same time last year. Both of these are signs that the economy is turning around. Correspondingly, we also saw a small decline in the number of 2014 grads going directly on to graduate school, which is typically another indicator that students are feeling more confident about the economy.

The variety of industries represented is also pretty broad. While finance and consulting continue to be the two most popular industries for College grads (and serves as proof that you don’t need to be a Wharton student to land those jobs!), education, communications technology round out the top five. The list of employers hiring the most college students is equally diverse, including everything from Teach for America to BCG to Google to Macy’s to NBCUniversal to the National Institutes of Health.

We hear time and again from National Employment Surveys that the qualities that are most valuable to employers in new hires are the same ones that are inherent to a liberal arts education: strong communication skills, the ability to work in a team, problem solving and analytical skills. It’s no wonder, then, that we see grads doing really cool things.

Also interesting to note is the timing of offers. At Penn it can often feel like everyone has their plans tied up with a bow by the end of fall semester. For many students in the College, job offers often come later because hiring timelines in many of the fields that interest our liberal arts grads (communications, education, non-profits, government) are different than OCR and employers in those industries often won’t hire new grads until right before or even after graduation, when they are ready to start work. As such, we see again for the Class of 2014, that the bulk didn’t receive their offers until spring semester of senior year or the summer after graduation (57%), so students in the Class of 2015 who don’t yet have offers should take comfort in knowing they will have plenty of time to land an opportunity that excites them.

And, the majority (68%) of those full-time employed or in graduate school used Penn Career Services!  I look forward to posting the final and longer report on the website in December and reporting more on the amazing things that liberal arts grads do.