Help! I have an offer deadline and I’m not sure what to do!

You’ve been interviewing for several jobs.

You just received an email from one of your top employers saying that they’re expecting to make a decision “sometime next week.”

Another employer has already offered you a position and wants you to make a decision by the end of this week.

Your interview with a third employer just went really well and it’s likely that you may be asked for a final round of interviews with them.

You want to have all possible offers at the same time so that you can make the best choice – but how can you leave one company hanging while you wait to hear from the others?

What should you do?

First off, take a breath. It’s a stressful time of the year with exams and holidays, but know that there are other students going through the same thing right now.

The most important thing is decide what position would be the best fit for you. There are many factors to consider when comparing job offers, including but not limited to travel, salary, security, responsibilities, and advancement. You must consider whether you see yourself being successful and enjoying the position and the organization before you accept it. If you aren’t sure about a job but you’re concerned about turning an offer down, realize that you would most likely be best to keep looking for a job that offers a better “fit” than accept a job just to have one.

During the busy recruiting season in the fall, it is reasonable to expect employers to allow at least three weeks for you to consider offers received. Inevitably, the phone call or email comes at a surprising time, but if you’re interviewing, expect those kinds of messages and prepare for them.

First, always be sure you know the date by which you need to make your decision. If you have no intention of accepting an offer, be upfront and let the employer know as soon as possible.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where a deadline is looming but you’re still waiting on another organization’s response, don’t be afraid to ask for an extension.   Recruiters that work with college students on a daily basis understand that you have many things going on right now, and needing more time to think about committing to an offer is not an unusual thing to ask.

Finally, once you have accepted an offer in writing, you should consider that you now have an official contract with that organization and you are then obligated to withdraw from all other job search activities. (For sample “Accept” or “Withdraw from a Search” letters, please visit:

Of course, the most important factor to remember is that everyone’s situation will be different. Come in to speak with one of our counselors and they can help you understand how best to evaluate your choices.

You can also view more information on deciding on job offers here:

The What, When, Where, Why, and How of Applying to Federal Government Jobs

by Robert Gannone

Now that our Government and Policy Career Fair is over, many students are now starting the process of applying for federal jobs.


Working for the federal government offers some great rewards such as a competitive salary, great benefits, job security, and comprehensive health coverage.  One of the great benefits that comes with federal employment is the recently created Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which encourages people to work full-time in public service jobs. Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their loans after 120 payments are made.


If you’ve ever thought about obtaining a government job, now is the time! According to the Partnership for Public Service, the federal government will fill more than 50,000 entry-level jobs in the next 12 months, along with about 60,000 paid internships.


The next step is to find what job best suits your interests and skills.  According to the Making the Difference Website, there are jobs and internships available in practically every interest and skill area, in all 50 states and around the world. The website also has a detailed list of the different federal jobs available. In addition, you can view some sample job profiles in different areas by going to our website at:


There are nearly 300 federal organizations. If you’re unsure what might be the best fit for you, be sure to check out the Best Places to Work website, which contains rankings of employee satisfaction and commitment in the federal government. It is ranked by categories such as the best Work/Life Balance, Pay, Diversity, and Effective Leadership.


The Federal Government’s official job site is:

However, there are several steps you must follow in order to apply for a federal job. First is to create a federal resume. Unlike in other professions, the procedures for applying to a federal job and creating a federal resume contains specific rules such as being as detailed as possible in regards to previous employment.  A Federal Resume does not have to be limited to one page. You can view tips here and some samples here.

We have many workshops throughout the year to help you on your way to a career in the federal government.  Some of our upcoming workshops include: Business Jobs in the Government, Insider’s Perspective on Working in the Government, and Science & Engineering Jobs in the Government. To view the dates and our full schedule of government workshops, please go to:

Also, be sure to check out our complete resource guide at:

You have a job. Now what?!

by Robert Gannone

Now that you have a job, you may be thinking of how to advance your career in the years to come. One of best opportunities to advance your career path is to connect with other people in your profession.  Joining a professional association is an ideal way to connect with professionals, who have shared interests. A professional association’s goal is to further a particular field and to enhance the careers and knowledge of individuals engaged in that profession.

As you have heard before, networking is one of the best ways to hear about new companies or open positions. More importantly, it’s simply a great way to expand your career horizons.  By being engaged in a professional association, you can meet with others in your field and share your ideas about your profession and its direction.  Some professional associations also offer certifications or licenses.  These can also help to advance your career because they are earned from a professional organization and given to a person who has been designated as qualified to perform a job or task.

There are many professional associations in industries as varied as healthcare, academia, public administration, and urban planning. Whatever your field or your area of interest, professional associations offer a way to keep in touch with policy developments and an opportunity to network with others who share your interests. They typically also offer annual expos and meetings. Professional associations can have a national, local, or state focus.  For example, associations ranging from local to national include such organizations as the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia, the Texas Music Teachers Association, and the National Black MBA Association.

To find a listing of professional associations in your career or field of interest, visit one of the following sites:

You can also search for professional licenses by industry by going to the following website:

CareerCast: Interviewing Tips from Engineering Alumni

Career Services is pleased to announce the latest CareerCast video series.  This series focuses specifically on the engineering student with interviews from industry experts who attended our most recent Engineering Career Day fair in fall 2009.  The topics of these interviews range from what qualities companies look for in candidates to tips for making the most out of an interview.   The video below features Penn Engineering Alumni discussing tips for interviewing.
Special Thanks to Jim Silverstein (SEAS ‘11) for editing the videos.

To watch all the videos in the series, go to:

Want to watch on your mobile device? Click here!

The Complete Package

by Robert Gannone

When it’s time to decide on a job, there are many factors to consider, both before and after you receive an offer.  For example, location tends to be pretty important.  Ask yourself “where do I see myself living?”  There are many more options than New York City!  Try to visit a place at least once before you contemplate moving there, and evaluate:  Do I like the weather… the people… the nightlife?  Do I already have friends there?  Can I even afford to live there?


To help you consider your geographical options, allows you to see the cost of living in different cities, and how far that salary can really go.  Remember that you’ll be looking not only at rent, but also perhaps utilities, cell phone bills, student loan repayments, the price of transportation, groceries, entertainment and other activities.

City is also a great website that posts detailed information on the average climate, average age of the citizens, median income, and crime statistics on every major (and even minor!) city in the United States.

As you’re interviewing and hopefully getting the offer you want to accept, you have to decide not only if the position right for you, but if the company itself is as well.  Ask yourself, will I fit in with the company culture? Will I enjoy working for this company? Does it adhere to my values?

Look beyond the base salary and examine “the complete package” being offered – many “costs” of employment can have a significant effect on your paycheck.  For example, does the company offer and contribute towards good health, dental and/or vision insurance? Does the company make 401K contributions, or offer stock options, tuition assistance or reimbursement? (No, it’s not too early to start thinking about these things!) Sure, most places have coffee machines and other basic “perks,” but consider what other things you may need or enjoy.  Would you enjoy a free membership to the company gym?  What about discounts on transportation, dining or entertainment?  Some companies such as Google go well beyond the basics, offering such options as an on-site doctor or fitness classes.  It truly is worth your effort to consider “the complete package” when you get an offer from a company.


Certainly, you do have to look at the salary.  To see comparable salaries for the positions you are looking for, be sure to check out our Career Surveys from The College of Arts & Sciences, The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and The Wharton School.

And of course, before you do make that important decision, feel free to visit Career Services and speak with one of our counselors!