‘Tis the Season…for internships!

By Jamie Grant, C’98 GEd’99

Congrats to all of our current students – now that classes have ended (at least for undergradsSnowflakes), you’re in the home stretch!  When you need a break from studying, or are just daydreaming about what summer may bring, perhaps you can send out a few internship applications to get the ball rolling!

There are some excellent resources deep within the “Jobs & Internships” section of the Career Services website that you may wish to explore.  If you’re just starting out, and maybe not sure where to begin, watch the On-Demand workshop on Internship Searching.  The “Listings” section will take you to a directory of resources with specific jobs to which you can apply, including a directory by field under the “Non-Penn Internships” area (fields include: Communications; Engineering – including opportunities in Scientific Research; Business; Non-Profit; and more!).  There are links to Penn offices that provide opportunities and funding, resources for international internship searches (TIP – start early to go abroad!) as well as tips on how to arrange credit (dependent on School) and how to make the most of your opportunity.

Your questions not covered here?  Come see us or call in!  Career Services is open until mid-day on December 24th and will reopen after a short winter break on Monday, January 5, 2015.



What if you don’t get the job?

Internship or job search can be a very stressful process, and it requires an incredible amount of energy and faith, especially when you have done everything you can to pursue an opportunity and you still don’t get it. Well, your attitude can make a big difference in situations like this.

Thank yourself for your hard work.
It’s normal to feel disheartened, and sometimes even angry or lose faith in yourself when you are rejected. However there can be all sorts of different reasons why you are not selected. You might not have conducted yourself most successfully in the interview. They might be looking for some particular skills which you don’t possess yet. It can be just that you don’t seem to fit with certain expectations (e.g. job might require frequent travel but you don’t seem to be able/willing to do that) or there are just too many highly qualified candidates like you. There can also be internal candidates who might have done the job and known the company already (for example their summer interns), etc. Regardless of the reason, keep in mind that you already won by getting on the short list (just imagine how many applications they might have received). So thank yourself for the excellent job you have done to stand out from the crowd. Last but not least, be thankful that you have had the opportunity to thoroughly examine your skills, learn some great insights on certain job requirements and interview skills, or develop some valuable connections that can be beneficial for your professional development in the long run.

Show appreciation to your interviewers and all those who have supported you in the search process.
It can be hard to be thankful when you don’t get what you want. Yet, you are interviewed because people are interested in you, and you have been given the opportunity to present your qualifications and passion. An interview, especially a panel one requires a lot of arrangement and time. A gracious attitude towards rejection says a lot about your personalities and can open up future opportunities – you never know when you can cross paths with any of the interviewers again or there might be other opportunities that can be a better fit for you in the same organization in the future.

Get feedback from the hiring manager or interviewers.
Every interview is an opportunity to examine your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your fit for the type of jobs and/or organizations. If you don’t get an explanation regarding why you are not selected, take the initiative to get some feedback from the hiring manager, so that you can be better prepared for future interviews. Nobody likes to deliver bad news; most hiring managers don’t feel comfortable giving feedback to those that they reject. So you have to be really genuine when you make the request, and you want to make it clear that all you need is some feedback on your interview skills and what you can do to make yourself a stronger candidate for future opportunities in the same organization.

Be positive and have faith in yourself.
It’s normal to feel discouraged when you are rejected. If you do seem to be a great fit from all aspects and you still don’t get the job, remember you can always find a similar job with another organization. If you don’t conduct yourself most successfully in the interview, you’ve learned a great lesson and you will be better in future interviews. If you don’t currently own some skills that are key to the job, you will figure out what your next steps should be. Most importantly, only you know best what you are capable of. You might be rejected several times, but you don’t want to give up if you believe deep down in your heart you will be great in that field. You are always your strongest advocate.

stick to the script.

I’m not talking movie script. I’m referring to the talking points you have in your back pocket if faced with a tough, anticipated question during a job interview. Do you have an employment gap in your background? Did you graduate with a low GPA? Did you make several job changes in the recent past? An important strategy for interviewing is to anticipate the types of questions that an employer may ask having reviewed your experiences. If there is an area of your background that concerns you, it’s best to assume that an employer may share that concern – and expect you to shed some light during an interview. Having a “script” prepared will allow you to address the question in a direct, concise way, and MOVE ON.

For instance, in the case of a lower GPA… “At the start of my freshman year, I jumped right into several student activities which were time intensive. I soon realized that selecting a few activities outside of my academic schedule was a better fit for me as I made the transition to Penn that first year. Ultimately, I was able to engage in several meaningful, long-term leadership activities at Penn while maintaining solid grades in the classroom. I look forward to sharing these experiences with you today.” In this example, the low GPA was addressed and the conversation was easily redirected.

I can’t stress enough the importance of preparing this brief “script” ahead of time. However, be sure that you don’t come off as rehearsed as you keep your talking points in mind. Follow these simple steps and you may just receive a standing ovation.

  1. Anticipate.
  2. Prepare talking points.
  3. Practice.
  4. Stick to the script.
  5. Move on.

Career Planning Advice: Tips from “The Godfather”

by Maxine Mitchell, CAS Graduate Assistant

The-Godfather-the-godfather-trilogy-27739859-1920-12001. “I want you to use all your powers, and all your skills.” (Vito Corleone)

Your resume and cover letter are great opportunities for you to display your varied experiences and the skills you’ve gained thus far. Our advice: try not to cram all of them into each document. Using action words and specific accomplishments, create a strong picture of each role you’ve completed. Pick and choose the skills you’d like to highlight, and remember: quality over quantity. The resume and cover letter represent pieces of you that you’d like to potential employers to see – only you can be the sum of all your powers and all your skills.

2. “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” (Michael Corleone)

In this case, not an offer, but a presentation. A strong resume, an informative cover letter and an articulate, polished verbal expression of your experiences and interests establish you as a strong candidate for potential employers. Dust off that resume, and proofread it multiple times to ensure that there are no errors. Create a cover letter that genuinely connects the skills you’ve gained to the responsibilities that your role(s) of interest are looking for. Develop and practice your answers to tricky interview questions. Be proactive in your job/internship search, and present the strongest and most confident version of who you are.

3. “Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me.” (Vito Corleone)

The Career Services Office is here when you need us! Drop in for resume & cover letter critiques, career planning advice, or more targeted questions and feedback regarding internships and full-time opportunities. Career counselors are available for walk-ins and scheduled appointments. Visit our website for helpful resources, and information on upcoming workshops and fairs.