The Waiting Game

The Olympic Track and Field Trials is going on these two weeks where athletes compete for spots on the U.S. Olympic Team. The U.S. can send the top three in each event to the Olympic Games in London. Last night, there was a tie for third place and the last qualifying spot in the women’s 100 meters race. Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh (who happened to be training partners) ran exactly the same times, and in photographs of the finish, it was a dead heat. Who won the race was not controversial — they definitely were tied. And the rule book has no tie-breaker procedures. The officials will sort things out in the coming days and weeks.
I’ve been thinking of these two athletes and what they must be going through. They are both disappointed that after training for the Olympics for years and running several heats and the finals of this race, they still don’t know if they got the job to represent the U.S. in London. They are so close to making the team. There is one more spot for the job, and they might flip a coin for it (seriously), some time later. And they have no control over the procedures. They just have to wait.

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever applied for an internship or a job, thinking that you’re qualified for it, knowing how wonderful it would be to have it, hit it off with all of the interviewers, and then was told that the employer doesn’t have a decision yet? Maybe they even told you that you’re a terrific candidate, but there are many great candidates for one job. What should you do?

What did Felix and Tarmoh, who are at the top of their field, do? Call the USATF incessantly?  Sit at home and complain about why they can’t make one more qualifying spot for the country with the greatest sprinters outside of Jamaica? Conclude that the system is not meritocratic? Just wait it out? No, they went back to practice this morning to focus on their next event, the 200 meters, where they will have another chance to qualify for the Olympics. They are not wasting time guessing what will happen to the 100. They are applying for another great job.

Finding an internship in a nonprofit organization

If you’re considering a career in the nonprofit sector, you are not alone. There are over 1 million nonprofits in the U.S., employing about 10% of the work force. Nonprofit organizations are driven by a cause rather than by making a profit. People often think of nonprofits as youth centers and soup kitchens, but they also include religious institutions, universities, hospitals, trade associations and unions, and museums. A great way to learn if a nonprofit career is for you is to try it out for yourself by interning or volunteering in one. Last summer, 13% of The College students interned in a public interest, social service, or cultural organization and an additional 37% worked for an education, healthcare, or government employer. (Career Services Summer 2011 Survey)

There are many ways to find a nonprofit internship and you should use multiple methods to increase your chances.  The pie chart below shows how students found out about their nonprofit internship last summer.

If you’re looking for an internship in a nonprofit this summer, you may start with some of these resources below. As you go through the internship search process, also feel free to consult with a Career Services counselor who can help you tailor your search to your goals.


  • Penn Internship Networka listing of Penn students who have volunteered to speak with others about their summer internships:  
  • Penn Alumni Career Network (PACNet) – a database of Penn Alumni who have volunteered to be contacted with career-related questions. Although it is not appropriate to ask PACNet advisors for jobs, they can provide a wealth of information on career fields and employment outlooks.

 Online Job Sites

  • – Listings of domestic and international opportunities (full time, internships & fellowships) with non-profits.
  • Opportunityknocks.orgOpportunity Knocks is the national online job site focused exclusively on the nonprofit community.
  • Career Resources by Field on the CS website – With information on, links to, and speaker/panel notes on careers including: nonprofit, philanthropy, policy, think tanks, social services, government, politics, environment, advocacy, education, and international development
  • CS Online SubscriptionsPassword sites like:,,,,,
  • Riley – On Nonprofits, Foundations & ThinkTanks

Other Career Services Leads

  • PennLink -Penn’s Online Job Search System and On Campus Recruiting.
  • iNet – Online Internship Search System with consortium of universities across the country.

Special Programs at Penn

Looking to work, intern, or volunteer abroad?

If you are interested in going abroad this summer or after graduation, don’t forget to check out the opportunities posted at International Opportunities Virtual Career Fair taking place on PennLink until December 21st.  This online career fair is for Penn students and alumni who are interested in international opportunities. Just like at a regular career fair, you will have the chance to make contact with employers, learn about their opportunities, submit resumes, and apply for positions.  Sixty-two (62) organizations and companies that provide job, internship, and volunteer opportunities have signed up to provide opportunities ranging from consulting to engineering, nonprofit to health care. For more information, visit to the event website: International Opportunities Virtual Career Fair.

As you research international options, you may be interested in consulting the following websites or your Career Services counselor for advice:

Here are the employers participating in the International Opportunities Virtual Fair:


Pacific Epoch (China)
Roland Berger, Ltd. (Japan)
The Mind Co. (Argentina)


eBaoTech Corporation (China)
IBM (China, India)
Johnson Matthey (China)
re:char (Kenya)
Siemens AG (Germany, Russia, Brazil, China, India, Middle East, U.S.)
Tally Solutions Pvt Ltd (India)

Financial Services

Citibank Korea Inc.
Morgan Stanley (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan) (Applications accepted until Dec 2)
Nomura (Hong Kong, Singapore)
SinoLatin Capital (China)

Other Business

Millicom International Cellular (Bolivia, Congo, Colombia, Ghana, Guatemala, Mauritius, Rwanda, Senegal, Chad)
Mountbatten Institute (United Kingdom)
Procter and Gamble Latin America (Panama)
RGE Pte Ltd (Hong Kong)
TeleTech (Philippines)
Weddings in Vieques (Puerto Rico)


Associazione Culturale Linguistica Educational (Italy)
Concordia University Irvine (China)
English Opens Doors Program (Chile)
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Hellenic American Educational  Foundation (Greece)
Institute of International Education (Mexico)
International Teaching Advantage* (China)
LanguageCorps* (Worldwide)
LEAP Studio (Hong Kong)
NTK Academic Group (China)
Pagus:Africa (Ghana)
Sino Elite Education Group (China)
Summerbridge Hong Kong
Teach For China
Teach For India
Teach Taiwan
Teaching Assistant Program in France – Embassy of France
The International Schools of Choueifat – UAE, Oman, Qatar & Bahrain
The Kelly Yang Project (Hong Kong)


Child Family Health International* (Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, South Africa)
Unite For Sight (Ghana, Honduras, India)


Indicorps (India)
InterExchange* (Australia)
International Conservation Center (Israel)
International Humanity Foundation (Indonesia, Kenya, Thailand)
International Partnership for Service-Learning™ and Leadership (Worldwide)
Manna Project International* (Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua)
Mexican Institute for Family and Population Research (IMIFAP) (Mexico)
The One World Foundation of New York, Inc.* (Brazil, Cambodia, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda)
ThinkImpact* (Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa)
Volunteers in Asia* (Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam)

Multiple industries

Abroad China*
Career Israel*
CRCC Asia LLC* (China)
Cultural Embrace* (Worldwide)
EPA Internships in Europe* (Belgium,Germany,Spain,United Kingdom)
Experiential Learning Abroad Programs* (Worldwide)
Global Experiences* (United Kingdom)
My China Opportunity*
NorCap China Internships*
The Catalai China Programme*
The Center for Cross-Cultural Study* (Spain, Cuba, Argenina)
World Endeavors* (Worldwide)

* Indicates the organization charges a program fee.

Pointers for summer networking

Do your palms get sweaty at the thought of networking? Have you been invited to an industry event, corporate function, or alumni happy hour but have some concerns about attending?

You should attend. Every event is an opportunity – to learn something new, meet new people, deepen existing relationships, and practice interpersonal skills. If you’re attending one this summer, boost your confidence by being prepared. You can find tips on the Career Services website. Here are some highlights:

Business Etiquette – one of the most concise guides you will find on handling social events, dining, small talk, etc.

Informational Interviews – comprehensive resource including tips on how to ask for an informational interview, how to conduct one, and sample questions

Building a networking for your Job Search – a webinar and a video on how to network

And if you’re trying to connect with people with similar professional interests, you can look for fellow students/interns, alumni, graduate students, and industry professionals through databases compiled here.


How to spend all day looking for a job

I recently took a ten-week break from work to take care of our newborn baby.  During this time, I was mostly at home with no schedule but with a lot to accomplish and work to do around the clock. Day ran into nights. Weekdays ran into weekends. I missed work because those days lacked structure.  I felt like I was getting nothing done.

If you’re like me, and you’re looking for a job having just graduated or left another job, your days might feel like this. On the one hand, you know that it’s common for students to land their internships and jobs in the summer. On the other hand, you find it hard to honestly devote huge chunks of time to the job search without a schedule of classes to go to and an imminent deadline to make.  So, rather than making a phone call to a contact first thing in the morning, you push it off until later. When you get all week to send out a cover letter, you might take a whole week to write it. And maybe you spend too much time perusing online job boards because it’s easier than writing that cover letter or making that cold call.  If this sounds familiar, I sympathize with you.

So, how can a job seeker actually spend a full day job searching when you’re home and can be watering plants, doing laundry, and surfing the web? How can you follow that often-heard advice to treat the job search like it is a job? I don’t have all of the answers, but let me offer two suggestions based on what I’ve learned in the last three months.

Schedule. For many people seeking discipline, it is important to establish a regular schedule. For a job seeker, your day might involve getting up at 7 am, going for a run, sitting down at 8:30 am to read up on industry news and post one relevant thing to LinkedIn or Twitter. Since you feel most social in the morning, you then make some phone calls to companies or contacts, maybe do an informational interview. Afternoon might be quiet time. Perhaps you write your cover letters then. In the evening, you go out and meet a contact for coffee or volunteer at a gathering of your professional association.

Of course, above is just an example, and you have to figure out what kind of schedule fits you. You can multi-task if that’s your style or consciously vary your routine. Or you might join a job club, volunteer a few hours each day, etc. The point is that having a schedule will save you time and prevent you from surfing the web for job listings all day.

Space. During my maternity leave, I talked with many telecommuters and self-employed people in the neighborhood and their strategies for getting work done from home are applicable to the job search. One thing they stressed was the importance of having a separate space for working. You need a place to go to everyday to carry out your routine. This can be a desk, the basement home office, the dining room, a coffee shop (though not recommended for making phone calls to contacts). Having a dedicated work space will help you concentrate, discourage disruptions from others, and keep your home and work life separate.


Not everyone needs a schedule and space to do their job search productively, but if you are having trouble focusing during the day, I would take a look at these two things first. And don’t forget to give yourself a break, too. Spending a few hours in fresh air might be just what you need to reenergize your job search.