Contest: Name Our Blog!

We want YOU to help us name our blog! As you can see, our staff has been working hard to create interesting content, but the blog needs a makeover.  We are envious of creative blog names here at Penn like Under the Button, Quakers and Shakers, and Tripping Franklins, so we turn to you for help!  Entering is so easy, even a Princeton student could do it (but actually they can’t…the contest is ONLY open to Penn students, alumni, faculty and staff).

How to enter:

Just post your suggestion as a reply to this post using your Penn-affiliated email address. There is a limit of one entry per person, so give it some thought before submitting.  We will create a new logo based on the new blog title, so bonus points to those of you who suggest how your title could be translated into a graphic.

We will be accepting entries until Friday, January 29th  (so you have two weeks…but if someone takes your creative idea before you submit, the prize will go to them).  And speaking of prizes, the winner will get a $25 iTunes gift card and their blog name in lights. Or, at least at the header of our blog.  We’ll announce the winner and new title here on the blog in mid-February.

Good Luck!

*Penn Career Services reserves the right to make the final decision on the new blog title, including selection of a title not proposed via this contest.

Avoiding Job Scams

by Mylène Kerschner and Barbara Hewitt


Recession, job loss, unemployment, lay-offs: These are all words we’re familiar with in Career Services. Although Penn’s class of 2009 fared well despite the economy (see the career plans survey results here for the College, here for Wharton, here for Nursing, and Engineering will be coming soon), we know many of our current students and alumni are actively searching for employment in what feels like desperate times.  While it may be tempting to spring at every opportunity, we urge you to be vigilant. Does the job posting seem too good to be true? It may be. Phishing scams are as popular as ever, and many now are specifically targeted at the job-seeker. Before you submit sensitive information as part of an application, consider the following:

It is always good practice to do some investigative legwork before submitting your application to an employer – whether you’ve found the job through PennLink or Craigslist or on another job board.  A good rule of thumb is to go to the company’s website. Check that they actually have a web address, and that the one they’ve given actually matches the URL at the top of the page where you are directed. Also, look at the email where you are asked to send your documents. Does it look like a corporate email or does it appear to be a personal one (gmail, hotmail, etc.)? While sometimes smaller organizations do legitimately use personal emails to receive application materials, it does indicate that you should investigate the opportunity carefully. When you are initially applying, use common sense.  If you are uncomfortable providing any of the required information, contact the Career Services office for advice before proceeding.

Here are some good tips that the job is probably a scam:

  • You must give your credit card or bank account numbers, or copies of personal documents before you have an interview or are offered the job.  This type of personal information is not usually needed until an employer actually hires you.
  • You must send payment by wire service or courier.
  • You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account – often for depositing checks or transferring money.
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check.

Watch out for scams trying to take advantage of your employment status, and avoid becoming a victim.

(For more information, CNN also ran a similar story in July 2009.  Click here to read the piece by Rachel Zupek.)

So….How Did Last Year’s Graduating Class Do?

We’ve been hearing for over a year now about how bad the economy is, and now that the recovery seems to have started every one assures us it is going to be a SLOW, SLOW, SLOW one.  With all the bad news, many students are wondering if they will every find a job.
We’ve recently completed the Career Plans Survey for the Wharton Undergraduate Class of 2009 which provides a pretty thorough view of how last year’s class did.  Happily, the news was mostly good.  Even with the very difficult economy, you will see from the survey that Wharton students landed interesting opportunities in both the working world and graduate school. (For full disclosure, it is true that our “still seeking” rate as of August did rise to 9.2% from 5.7% the year before which of course is a reflection of the tight economy, but fortunately most students did land interesting positions.)
You can view the company, industry and region where students accepted jobs as well as average salaries broken down by job type and industry.  This is a great resource when you are negotiating offers.  You can also review surveys back to 2005 to see hiring trends and other useful information.
A few interesting facts about the Class of 2009:
•    The average starting base salary was $59,852. The range was $20,000 – $100,000.
•    82.8% of respondents were employed and 6.6% planned to go directly to graduate or professional school.
•    The average student had 11.7 first-round interviews and received 1.7 job offers .

You can access the Wharton undergraduate career surveys page here:

Career plans surveys for the other undergraduate schools are in progress and will be released in the future.

When to Network

Last week, at an alumni meeting, a discussion was held regarding when alumni-student networking events should be held.  Some students were invited to give input.  One advised that late fall was a bad time for such sessions, because a number of seniors would already have jobs, and would be less likely to attend.

While this may be true at least some years, it struck me as too bad.  You shouldn’t just network when you need something, such as a job.  Networking is a continuous process.  You should always take advantage of the opportunity to meet interesting people, particularly alumni/ae who are interested in sharing their expertise with current students.

Networking is about relationship building.  And it is reciprocal.  Even as a student you have much to offer.  For example, I did a mock interview today with a student who is a candidate for a prestigious fellowship.  I learned that he was the product of a restaurant family in a city I will be visiting.  I jokingly asked him for a restaurant recommendation to break the ice, and he mentioned a place he liked.  Within hours I received an email from him with three further recommendations, complete with web sites and phone numbers.  How thoughtful that was.  This student understands that everyone has something to offer.

So start networking today, and when you get a job, don’t stop.  You need a network, and your network needs you.


Welcome to the Career Services blog.  Every week different staff members will be blogging, giving us the opportunity to share a range of thoughts and ideas with you, and giving you the opportunity to join the conversation and tell us what you think.  We hope you will enjoy these posts, and will visit often.