By The Book: Two New Resources for the Spring

by Michael DeAngelis, Information Resources Manager

The following resources have been added to the Career Services Library and are available for your perusal! When classes are in session, the Career Services Library is open from 9am-6pm Monday to Wednesday and 9am-5pm on Thursdays and Fridays.

freelanceStarting Your Career as a Freelance Writer (Second Edition) by Mira Allen.  From the publisher: If you’ve always dreamed of making a living as a writer, this book will take you where you want to go. Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, Second Edition, demystifies the process of becoming a writer and gives aspiring writers all the tools they need to become successful freelance writers, get their names in print, and start earning a healthy income from writing. Completely revised and updated, the second edition includes an entirely new section on the “online writer,” discussing how to set up your own website, whether you need a blog, how to effectively participate in social networking sites, and information on electronic publishing, POD and more. New chapters provide guidance on writing for international markets and other writing opportunities such as ghostwriting, speech-writing, technical writing, copyediting, teaching, etc. This indispensable resource walks writers through the process of developing marketable ideas and then finding appropriate markets for those ideas. It includes effective tips on how to set writing goals; make time for writing; hone research and interview techniques; create outlines and first drafts, approach editors (online and offline), and prepare and submit material. Writers will also discover the vital business issues of freelancing such as rights and contracts, plus how to manage income, expenses, and taxes. Author Moira Allen has more than 30 years experience both as a freelance writer and as an editor; her tips come from a keen understanding of what works from both sides of the desk. Whether readers are looking to support themselves as full-time freelancers or supplement an existing career, no one wanting to make money as a writer can afford to be without this book.

sorsSORS: Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (2013-2014) by Eric Woodward, Director of Fellowships and Internships.  From the publisher:

The Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS) Guide is meant to help would-be researchers, students, fellows, interns, partnership-builders, and anybody else who is interested better navigate research and study opportunities at the Smithsonian.

SORS is divided into two sections. The first describes various internship and fellowship opportunities at the Smithsonian. The second summarizes a lot of activities and work happening at various Smithsonian units, and current interests of various Smithsonian staff – plus how to get in touch with them (see the email directory at the end). If you’re looking for a mentor, adviser, collection, or other opportunity at the Smithsonian that matches your study and/or research goals – this is a great place to start.

Furthermore, Career Services recently hosted a panel on getting internships at the Smithsonian.  You can check out advice from former interns and Smithsonian employees in the video below.

Smithsonian Internship Advice from Penn Career Services on Vimeo.

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By the Book: Brand New VAULT Guides Now Online!

Vault released our newest guidebooks titles and updates this week! Titles include Vault Career Guide to Energy, Vault Career Guide to the Internet and Social Media, Vault Career Guide to Insurance, Vault Career Guide to Advertising, Vault Career Guide to Accounting, Vault Career Guide to Public Relations and Vault Career Guide to Pharmaceuticals and Biotech.

Vault Career Guides offer an insider’s perspective on what’s happening in these industries, what it takes to break in, and how to advance your career.  Each volume provides a comprehensive overview of the industry and expert advice and tips for uncovering job opportunities, networking, preparing your cover letter and resume, interviewing, and keeping current on industry news and trends. Interviews and case studies guides offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of what hiring managers look for in a candidate and how others have succeeded in landing their jobs or advancing their careers. These guides place you in the shoes of an established professional, and an extensive glossary and resource list put all the industry knowledge you need to succeed at your fingertips. Each Vault Career Guide includes:

  • The Scoop: Everything you need to know about what your industry does, its history, who works in it, and where it’s going.
  • Getting Hired: Practical information on researching potential employers, networking, interviewing, and getting in the door.
  • On the Job: A look at life on the job and the industry culture.
  • Talk Like a Pro: A glossary of industry jargon and key terms.
  • Resources: Associations, organizations, Web sites and other resources to help you plan and advance your career.

VAULT Guides are made available to current Penn students and Penn alumni with an active PennKey.  Visit our Career Services Library Online Subscriptions page to gain access to these new guides


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By the Book: End of the Year Additions

The end of the semester has almost been like Christmas for the Career Services Library.  Here are some of our recent additions to the library that you can come by and read now or when you return from break!

behindcurtainBehind the Academic Curtain: How to Find Success and Happiness with a PhD by Frank F. Furstenberg.  From the publisher: More people than ever are going to graduate school to seek a PhD these days. When they get there, they discover a bewildering environment: a rapid immersion in their discipline, a keen competition for resources, and uncertain options for their future, whether inside or outside of academia. Life with a PhD can begin to resemble an unsolvable maze. In Behind the Academic Curtain, Frank F. Furstenberg offers a clear and user-friendly map to this maze. Drawing on decades of experience in academia, he provides a comprehensive, empirically grounded, and, most important of all, practical guide to academic life.

While the greatest anxieties for PhD candidates and postgrads are often centered on getting that tenure-track dream job, each stage of an academic career poses a series of distinctive problems. Furstenberg divides these stages into five chapters that cover the entire trajectory of an academic life, including how to make use of a PhD outside of academia. From finding the right job to earning tenure, from managing teaching loads to conducting research, from working on committees to easing into retirement, he illuminates all the challenges and opportunities an academic can expect to encounter. Each chapter is designed for easy consultation, with copious signposts, helpful suggestions, and a bevy of questions that all academics should ask themselves throughout their career, whether at a major university, junior college, or a nonacademic organization. An honest and up-to-date portrayal of how this life really works, Behind the Academic Curtain is an essential companion for any scholar, at any stage of his or her career.

Dr. Furstenberg is is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Sociology Emeritus right here at the University of Pennsylvania!

americantheaterWorking in American Theater by Jim Volz
From the publisher: This is the indispensable career guide for anyone interested in the theatre: the complete A to Z culled from industry expert Jim Volz’s experience and interviews with many voices in the theatre community. This guide is your first port of call from how to get your foot in the door to where, when and how to advance your career.  In addition to advice, inspiration and strategies for all working practitioners, not just actors, it also features extensive listings and directories for regional companies, commercial theatre, festivals, touring companies, university theatres and children’s productions.

This book updates and replaces our previous holding, The Backstage Guide to Regional Theater, which was an extremely popular title in the library.

womendontaskWomen Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock & Sara Laschever

From the publisher: Combining fascinating research with revealing commentary from hundreds of women, this groundbreaking book explores the personal and societal reasons women seldom ask for what they need, want, and deserve at home and at work–and shows how they can develop this crucial skill.

By neglecting to negotiate her starting salary for her first job, a woman may sacrifice over half a million dollars in earnings by the end of her career. Yet, as research reveals, men are four times more likely to ask for higher pay than are women with the same qualifications. From career promotions to help with child care, studies show time and again that women don’t ask–and frequently don’t even realize that they can. Women Don’t Ask offers real-life examples of the differences between the negotiating habits of men and women, and guides women in retooling their attitudes and approaches.

Also recently added to our collection is the companion book, Ask For It, by the same authors.

medinterviewThe Medical School Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty by Samir P. Desi & Kajani Katta

From the publisher: Did you know that the interview is the most important factor in admissions decisions? What can you do to achieve maximum success during the interview?

In 2011, the AAMC published a survey that evaluated the importance of 12 variables on admissions decisions. These variables included total MCAT scores, science and math GPA, and the interview. The interview was rated the most important factor, receiving a score of 4.5 (scale of 1 [not important] to 5 [extremely important]).

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Can I Take My Dog To Work?

Editor’s Note: A version of this blog originally ran in June of 2012.

June 21st is Take Your Dog to Work Day! Employees across the nation will collectively bedazzle their furry best friends with tours of their cubicle, the water cooler and perhaps even the view from the corner office. If your number one priority is a Fido or FiFi-friendly company culture, how would you know where to look for work?    To find a good fit with your next position and organization (no matter what your priorities happen to be, pet-friendly is just one example), take advantage of Career Services’ resources to help current students and alumni learn more about the places that they might work.

Researching employers with Career Services’ online resources

Researching potential employers is a critical element of every job search.  It is extremely important at the beginning when you need to identify your options, and necessary during the application and interview stage, to help you communicate the match between a prospective employer’s needs and your relevant skills, values and accomplishments.  Before you are called to interview, do your best to find out the following about the organization:

  • Mission; product/service (i.e., what is the purpose of this company/organization?)
  • Sector: non-profit, private (for-profit), public (government agency)
  • Structure and management
  • Financial health
  • “Clients” and competitors  (i.e., who receives the services of this company, and who else is targeting this group with their services
  • Company/organization culture
  • The hiring process

Career Services offers several online resources through our library subscriptions pages to help you research potential employers.  You must log in with your PennKey and password to access the subscriptions, which are listed alphabetically.  For those interested in exploring industries such as consulting, healthcare, and investment banking, and are particularly useful.  These reference resources allow you to read overviews of various major industries, discover the “major players” (i.e., biggest, influential companies), and learn more about typical position types within each industry.

We also subscribe to ReferenceUSA, which provides contact information as well as specific company data for United States businesses in particular (as well as some Canadian and other international businesses).  If you use the advanced search option, you can get information on credit ratings, company histories, executives’ names, and even the company’s local “competitors”.

For international students, GoinGlobal and H1VisaJobs offer databases which can help you identify the companies who have applied to the federal government in 2010 for H1Visas (this gives you a head start if you know a company is willing to hire international candidates, or is familiar with H1 Visa hiring procedures.)

Use networking as a tool to find out employer or industry information you can’t get through your online research.  If you are a current Penn student or alumnus/a, be sure to use PACNet (our online networking database) to identify alumni who can give you the “inside scoop” on a particular organization or field.

Once you use these resources to research an employer, you will be better able to:

  • Connect your accomplishments to the performance criteria that the organization is looking for.
  • Identify the most important skills, qualifications and experiences that are in demand in a given industry.
  • Assess an organization’s potential workplace needs and how you can contribute given your work style.
  • Show how your goals match those of the company (given its mission, size, structure, and market specialization).
  • Understand how your values match those of the organization; and how the environment will help you be productive.

Employer research makes for a more effective job search, and in fact for a better fit once you land an offer and start your new position.   You (and possibly your pet) will be glad you put the effort in.

Post Script:  How would you know where to look for work, if your number one priority is a Fido or FiFi friendly company culture?  While there are plenty of  websites focused on pet-friendly employers -  unfortunately it seems the number of corporate pet friendly employers is pretty limited, with rating as one of the top.

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How Do I Get The “Inside Scoop” About An Organization?

By Barbara Hewitt

There are many ways to learn what it is like to work for a particular organization. One of the best ways to do so, of course, is to talk to people who work there…ask them about a typical day, the things they like (and don’t like!) about their work, and to describe the culture of the organization. As a Penn student, you have access to a variety of useful networking tools including PACNet (the Penn Alumni Career Network), the Penn Internship Network and the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Group on LinkedIn. All of these can be very helpful to connect you with Penn alumni and current student who can help you research an organization.

If you are a regular Penn & Beyond reader, you probably were already aware of these resources, so I am focusiglassdoorng this blog post on another resource – Glassdoor.  This is a terrific site which provides “user generated content” to help job seekers find out more about specific organizations. You can research salaries for specific positions, read reviews from people working at the company (currently or in the past), and find out what interview questions job seekers were asked for specific positions at particular organizations. Although not all organizations are represented, over 238,000 are, so the chance of finding information on companies, particularly larger ones, is pretty good. While Glassdoor usually requires users to post a review or a salary before they can access all of the information on the site, they realize that many college students have not worked previously, so they have created a mechanism for students to access it without having to supply such information. You can find the login link which will allow you to forgo entering your own information through the Online Subscriptions link on the library part of the Career Services website. Login with your PennKey and PennKey password to gain access to Glassdoor and dozens of other subscription-based resources available to Penn students.

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