Are you beginning the job search after time spent out of the workforce? Are you wondering where to begin or what resources are available to you as you kick start this next stage? You’re not alone. Whether the decision to leave the workforce was by choice or due to unforeseen circumstances like illness or employment termination, the initial stage of the job search process can feel overwhelming. One alumna I met recently began her appointment by saying, “Going from zero to one is the hardest part. I just have to get to one.” She felt that once she was immersed in the job search process she would gain momentum. I agreed with her. I believe that goes for a lot of people beginning the process when entering unfamiliar territory. Navigating and understanding the use of career resources related to today’s job market will make a big difference in not only gaining that momentum but reconnecting with and establishing professional connections.
As you make the decision to step back into the workforce, be sure to take advantage of resources available to Penn alumni. Whether it’s connecting with other alumni through QuakerNet or reviewing resume and cover letter writing resources on the Career Services website, relevant information is at your finger tips. The Penn Alumni Relations Career Networking website features a Career Tools Webinar Series which covers a variety of topics relevant to re-entering the workforce. How to Navigate LinkedIn and Women Return to Work are two webinars that may be of particular interest. So sit back, take notes, and get ready to go from zero to one.
by Maxine Mitchell, Graduate Assistant
3 tips for students preparing their resumes for summer internships and full-time opportunities:
Please, please, please keep your resume on one page! Choose a form/style that is aesthetically-pleasing to you, and easy to read. Play around with the placement and titles of each section. Utilize shading, spacing and underlining to draw the readers’ eyes to particular words, phrases and roles. The white space on your resume is as important as the content.
While some fields tend to be flexible about resume formats from potential candidates, others remain quite traditional. Take note of your roles of interest, and do a bit of research to learn more about company culture. We strongly encourage you to preview the resume samples available on the Career Services website for assistance, as they reflect the varying academic/extracurricular experiences of students at Penn.
When selecting a resume font (and there should only be ONE), please keep in mind the industry(ies) that you’re applying to. Maintain consistent formatting throughout your resume. Make use of the list of action verbs available on our website to put forth a detailed and concise description of your roles and activities. Prioritize, consolidate, and cut when necessary. After completion, proofread for spelling AND grammatical errors. Career Services offers resume and cover letter critiques – an opportunity for you to get another set of eyes on this important document.
Last, but not least, have fun! There is no one way to create a resume, so feel free to explore formats, styles and fonts!
Now that the semester is under way and the On-campus recruiting season is set to begin within days, many students are going to be clamoring to schedule appointments or come in for walk-in advising. The beginning of each semester is by far our busiest. Students are usually very anxious about getting their resumes and cover letters critiqued, or speaking with an advisor about their career plans. Given that it is our busiest, it is also the most difficult to get in to see an advisor. Too often, students come in for a walk-in only to find that all of the available slots have been taken before the session has even really began. Or calling in, they are not able to get an appointment for that week, or even the next week. If there is anything that can be passed on about navigating getting advice from our office it would be to get in as early as you can.
Whether it is getting a resume or cover letter critiqued, coming in to speak with an advisor about future plans, or practicing your interviewing skills… Don’t wait until the beginning of the semester to see someone. Try coming into the office during our slower times to get things critiqued or to practice interviewing. Usually the end of each semester is the best time. Fewer students come in and there is more time to polish resumes and cover letters, or practice things in order to get them as close to perfect as possible. Be proactive so that you don’t make an already stressful time even more stressful.
Our office has noticed that many pre-health students love to cook and, especially, bake. We’ve seen pictures of whimsical cakes (it looks like a plate of spaghetti and meatballs…but, it’s a cake), tasted delicious homemade creations (thank you), and perused Martha-quality food blog entries, all created by health-minded Penn students. We also know many pre-health students plan to integrate their love of cooking with a career in healthcare. Here are a few ways healthcare professionals have integrated their love of cooking with a medical career:
- The Cooking Doctor is Jehanne Ali, a surgeon, author and food blogger. Above is a picture of her Coconut Candy fudge.
- The Foodie Physician is an emergency medicine doc with a culinary degree. Being a doctor doesn’t mean giving up the kitchen!
- Healthcare professionals can attend a Healthy Kitchens/Healthy Lives conference at The Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley to learn the latest about diet and nutrition. Did I mention, Napa Valley?
- Physicians can cook together for a fundraiser like the Doctors Who Cook event in Augusta, Georgia benefiting the Children’s Heart Program at the Children’ Hospital of Georgia.
- The pediatrician-founded Dr. Yum Project promotes food-related wellness for children through education, action and advocacy. Yum!
- You can take classes as a medical student or as a continuing medical education student at The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane. Studies in culinary medicine at the first teaching kitchen implemented at a medical school — how neat is that?
- Start your own business: The Mommy Doctors, Drs. Lennox McNeary and Cheri Wiggins created Milkin’ Cookies to provide optimal nutrition for nursing mothers.
Whatever your passion, there is a good chance you can integrate it with your healthcare career. For our many cooks and bakers, there is an excellent chance you can serve others while building your cooking knowledge and skills — and you are always welcome to share with staff at your undergraduate institution!
New beginnings are a great time to take stock of what you hope to accomplish in the coming months, whether it be an entire year or simply a semester. Many of us undoubtedly already made a variety of resolutions at the turn of the year, whether it be to eat healthier, exercise more, or stop procrastinating. It is also a great time to think about what you would like to accomplish in terms of your career. If you proactively think about where you want to be at the end of the semester or year you will be much more likely to take the steps necessary to get there and move forward in your path.
Many of you have already made strides in this area simply by registering for classes that will help you progress in your academic program and your career. However, there are many additional things you can do to jump start your career development. I’ve listed just five below…which one(s) will you resolve to do this year?
• Schedule one (or more) informational interviews with alumni to learn more about careers of interest to you. (Check out myquakernet.com for the Penn alumni directory.)
• Join a professional association (often students get very discounted rates!) to learn more about a field, discover job openings, or register for a conference.
• Start the process of applying for internships or post-graduate opportunities in your field of interest (check out PennLink and iNet).
• Develop or update your LinkedIn profile. (Career Services advisors are happy to review it for you, just like a resume.)
• Feeling totally lost? That’s ok! Schedule an appointment with a Career Services advisor to talk through your career related questions.
All of us in Career Services wish you a wonderful 2015!