LinkedIn and Career Research

The fall semester is a good time to reflect on next steps in your job and internship searches. Career Services is here to assist you with navigating the process.  One of the most commonly asked questions from students is “How do I learn more about a particular field/company/speak with people who work there?”.  LinkedIn has become one of the most effective and efficient resources to facilitate introductions, create connections, and learn about employers, industries, and job opportunities.  Using LinkedIn as an information tool is an important aspect of your career exploration and job search.  It serves a variety of purposes such as:  branding yourself/skills, researching employers, as well as connecting with people who can share their insight on topics and career fields and answer your questions.  LinkedIn also provides a convenient and efficient way to network.  Networking is divided into two parts.  First, it can be viewed as an opportunity to gather information and second, it allows you to share information about yourself in order to achieve your career goals.  October is an excellent time to familiarize yourself with LinkedIn and start to establish some connections.  Some key aspects to remember when using LinkedIn:

    • When using LinkedIn, be sure to join the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Group. You’re eligible to be a part of this community while both a student and after you have graduated.
    • Remember that your profile is your brand. Therefore, you want to ensure it’s a professional looking photo (e.g. not from a social/party setting). The summary section on your profile is a narrative that describes your academic and professional background.
    • Linkedin enables you to learn about employers that interest you. You can elect to follow employers within the newsfeed in addition to identifying potential connections at that company who could share with you their advice and insight into their experience, culture and mission of the company, and the hiring process/recruiting process.
    • Connections may be defined as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree. The category next to a person’s name indicates how you might know the person and who you may mutually be connected to. This is very useful to know since you could then potentially reach out to a mutual connection and ask for an “e-introduction” with the alumnus/alumna. In the message, you could ask for a 15-20 minute conversation to ask the alum about his/her role, experience at the company and advice he/she may have for you as you move forward with your job search.
  • We can help you with using LinkedIn as a networking tool so feel free to come in for an advising appointment at Career Services. Appointments can be made by calling 215-898-7531 or through Handshake.

CS Radio – Episode 70: “The CS Internet of Things”

Celebrating 70 episodes!  Special guest Helen Pho, Associate Director at Penn Career Services, joins us to talk about the major overhaul coming to the PhD and Postdoc section of our website.  While on the topic, Michael and Mylène highlight other new additions and classic hidden gems of the sometimes overwhelming CS website.  Enjoy!

Show Notes
Graduate Student landing page (Will update to new site when live)
New Digital Career Resources page


This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Jordan King, WH ’21

When I came into Wharton as a freshman last year, I knew I wanted social impact to be at the forefront of whatever I chose to do. I tried to keep my mind open and explore other fields and careers, but I quickly discovered my heart wasn’t into many of the other opportunities. I watched my friends fill out application after application to banks, consulting firms, and accounting firms, but anytime I tried to fill out those same applications, I kept drawing blanks. I didn’t want to close myself off to opportunities, but I also wanted to work somewhere where I could work closer with and make more of a direct impact on people.

Then, I found Americares. Americares is an international aid and relief nonprofit organization based in Stamford, Connecticut. In addition to responding to Emergencies such as natural disasters and regional crises around the world. In the past year, Americares was one of the leading organizations to respond to the destructive 2017 Hurricanes and deployed several employees on sight in Houston, Puerto Rico, and any other areas affected areas.  Unlike many other organizations, Americares works to partner with local health clinics and defer to the clinics to best support existing infrastructure instead of attempting to replace them within their own communities.

Through the funding offered by Penn, I had the fortune to intern at Americares as the Institutional Relations Intern. My role was housed under the Development department, where I assisted with the fundraising aspect of the organization. My team coordinated with corporate sponsors and foundations to apply for grants and solicit money for the organization’s programs, which then (what was this funding used for).

My work centered around research and suggestions for new funding opportunities, updating our organization’s materials for distribution and use, and assisting in planning our annual Development-wide offsite. The highlight of my summer was having the chance to attend a corporate day of giving in which Americares partnered with Nestle to create disaster preparedness kits for our partner locations.

Prior to the internship, I always knew that I had an interest in working with Non-Governmental Organizations, but this internship cemented that passion and and helped deepened my professional development in the context of a world class organization.

Without funding, I would have never been able to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity and leverage the experience for my future development. This experience has been a great step toward combining my Wharton background with my drive to engage in social impact, and I look forward to using it to further develop my professional development.

The Confluence of Career Planning & Decision Making

By Jamie Grant, C’98, GEd’99
Senior Associate Director for the School of Engineering & Applied Science

September and October are such interesting months in career advising, as there is a truly full spectrum of questions. It’s a time of beginnings – the freshmen are here, it’s the start of a whole new school year, new classes.  Yet, it’s also a time for many students to be making career planning decisions all along that same spectrum – what kinds of internships do I want to pursue, where are my skills and capabilities the best fit, which full-time opportunities should I go after.  In a few particular industries, it’s “go” time for full-time and internship roles – deadlines to accept or decline offers are looming, even if candidates were able to get an extension from organizations excited to have a commitment from an amazing and skilled Penn student like you.  Others career fields and organizations are just getting started.

No matter where you or your path(s) of interest fall within this process, we’ve got you in Career Services.  At any time of the year, we’re happy to guide you and help you explore all the possibilities, weigh the decisions and go through the pros and cons of your choices in a methodical, objective manner.  I know this can be tough – just this week, I’ve helped new students brainstorm relevant skills and experiences to include on their resumes, helped a soon-to-be graduate compare two similar offers, down to stock options and healthcare plans.  Such objective discussions perhaps may not be possible with others in your support system – I remember my family and friends all offered their own advice on my job search and decision making, and how much emotion and subjectivity defined those conversations.

Before you meet with one of us, you can certainly start some of this thinking and exploration yourself with the tools on our website.  It’s never too early – or too late – think about the impact of your values, skills and interests and how that all ties together with your educational plans and career path.  And know that we as advisors have years of experience helping candidates look at all the angles and weigh the options, present the best versions of themselves throughout the application process, and pursue and achieve whatever “success” may look like for each individual.

Summer Campaigning

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Britney Firmin, COL ’20

This summer I had the opportunity to intern for the Rachael Rollins for District Attorney campaign. This internship experience provided me with in depth exposure to grassroots organizing, allowing me to connect with various communities while passionately spreading Rachael’s campaign message of equity and justice. As an intern with the field team, I was able to converse with prospective voters about the importance of not only the District Attorney race in Massachusetts, but in the central role that the District Attorney plays in shaping our criminal justice system. My daily canvass shifts prompted me to passionately discuss how Rachael is a candidate who is slated to drive tangible social change. When attending debate forums, I gained firsthand insight into the various platforms of the DA candidates, and in the process was able to understand the various social issues that concerned voters throughout the city of Boston.

In addition to passionately communicating Rachael’s platform to voters in person, I additionally honed in on my communication skills by participating in weekly phone banks at campaign headquarters. Not only did this allow me to connect with voters about the issues that they especially care about, but it also informed me on the types of issues that the District Attorney is charged with addressing through the establishment of central policies. Having the opportunity to intern with such an important campaign gave me additional insight into how progressive reform can be brought to the city of Boston. I additionally participated in various community events with the campaign team, including cultural parades and a fundraiser all in an effort to garner additional support amongst voters.

This internship opportunity reinforced my passion for local politics and organizing. In my ability to have direct contact with voters, I learned about the power and value vested in grassroots organizing efforts. I also worked with the policy team on drafting and editing Rachael’s central policies that was disseminated to various voters. In my ability to research key areas to be included in her platform, I was informed on social issues that currently affect Boston and all of Suffolk County. In doing so, I became further immersed in the significance of such a pivotal District Attorney race. Having never worked for a campaign, I gained firsthand experience into the daily operations that drive the success of a given candidate. Canvassing shifts, phone banking sessions, and policy research is involved in much of the behind the scenes work that drives the momentum of a campaign. Working for this campaign has additionally connected me with inspiring individuals who are just as passionate about bringing true and progressive change to Suffolk County. In rallying behind such a pivotal leader whose mission is to provide a voice to various communities, I am empowered to harness my own leadership skills when it comes to spreading significant political messages. I am beyond appreciative of receiving financial support for this internship. Working for a campaign has provided me with groundbreaking exposure to local politics, with invigorating my interest in utilizing law as a tool for social change.