Mid-Summer Internship Advice

By: S. David Ross, Associate Director

Difficult to believe that August is almost here and the summer will be ending before you know it. For those of you working this summer, here are some things to consider before finishing your internship:

– Take some time to assess your performance thus far. Some employers have mid-summer performance reviews as a component of their internship programs while others do not. If you have a performance review soon, be prepared to share your accomplishments and contributions. If you have completed a performance review, be sure to implement the feedback and advice on improving your performance – you can also think of ways to take initiative beyond your required duties. And if you do not have a mid-summer performance review scheduled, consider asking your supervisor for a meeting – if that is not feasible, you may want to ask for feedback on your performance to date.

– Carefully continue to cultivate and expand your network at the organization. Be careful with this – do not attempt to simply meet as many people as you can at your office. Try to connect with your colleagues and show your interest in working at the organization by developing your network. Be sincere in your outreach and thankful for the time given from by co-workers. Consider meeting someone for lunch to ask questions and learn more.

– Think about what you want to accomplish during the remainder of your internship. Are you hoping to gain experience in a certain area? Do you want to work on a special project? Do you have an idea for something new and innovative? You may have a chance to accomplish more than you think before your internship ends so brainstorm some ideas now.

– Document your progress in your internship. It can be helpful to have a detailed list outlining what you worked on during your internship so that you can craft strong accomplishment statements on your resume. Be mindful of any confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements you signed with your employer not to share any sensitive information but certainly track your projects and duties carefully to help you recall important details in the future.

– Consider who you may want to ask for references for future employment opportunities. If you already have one or more individuals in mind that is helpful. If you are not sure who to ask at this point, consider the possibilities to avoid having to track down candidates at the last minute. You do not need to ask for references during the middle of your internship but it may be a good idea to start thinking about who to ask at a later date.

Three Skills to Master During Your Job and Internship Search

By: S. David Ross, Associate Director

While it can be helpful to consider your job or internship search as a process and create a plan to provide some structure to an otherwise “unstructured” process, consider mastering and utilizing the following three skills as your search unfolds.

Persistence. Some opportunities in life do not come easily. You can take the necessary steps and do the right things initially but that does not guarantee a successful outcome right away. Persistence may involve more effort and require additional work on your part, but that could be what’s necessary to secure your desired job or internship. Be careful – there is certainly a fine line with this as you should avoid extremes. Keep in mind that a lack of a timely response from an employer does not mean you are removed from consideration. Take the time to follow-up on your application – that extra step may be just what you need to get you closer to your goal.

Resiliency. Maintaining a positive attitude and moving forward after rejection can be difficult – especially if you have experienced it on multiple occasions. But your ability to bounce back, move forward and continue with your search can reveal positive things about your character. Life is not easy and we all encounter setbacks on occasion (we really do whether we like to admit it or not) – the search for jobs or internships is no different. Try to take a step back and reflect on the many things you have accomplished, the challenges you have overcome in the past and do your best to move forward in search of new opportunities.

Adaptability. Having a plan can be comforting – executing your plan as intended, even better. But what happens when things don’t go as planned? In these situations, consider adjusting your tactics or trying something new. Depending on the circumstances, the willingness and ability to alter your approach to your search may improve your fortunes.

CS Radio Episode 10: “Live From Nursing Career Day”

episode 10

We’re back!  Our Thanksgiving hiatus ended up being extended by a week – we hope you didn’t miss us too much!  This week, we’re very excited to bring you live to Nursing Career Day 2015.  Mylène and Michael interview several employers at the event about what they look for in candidates from Penn and they speak with Senior Associate Director Sharon Fleshman from Career Services about what makes Nursing Career Day unique.

Plus we review the few remaining programs on the Career Services schedule this week.  We’ll be back again next week for our last episode of the semester with suggestions on how to use your winter break for your job search!


Why Participating in Case Competitions Can Be Valuable for Your Job or Internship Search

By: S. David Ross, Associate Director

You may have seen or heard about case competitions sponsored by employers or universities. However, the idea of participating in these events may seem daunting and the advantages may be unclear beyond winning the competition and a receiving a prize. With this in mind, I want to highlight some additional benefits of participating in case competitions:

You can build your confidence in solving complex business problems, working in teams and public speaking. All of these skills are in demand by employers. What better way to demonstrate your mastery than to propose a solution and recommendations to a business problem faced by an employer. Depending on the structure of the competition, you also may have the opportunity to present your ideas in front of company representatives, perhaps senior-level executives.

A top finish in a case competition may lead to an interview opportunity. Case competitions can be a great way for employers to identify talent. In some instances, members of teams that perform well may be invited to interview with a firm for employment opportunities.

You can demonstrate your interest in an employer or industry. Some case competitions are sponsored directly by employers. Others are coordinated through universities focused on an industry or sector with employers in attendance. Regardless of who arranges a competition, your participation indicates your willingness to spend time on something not required of you, signaling your interest in a firm or industry.

Your participation in a case competition can serve as a great interview story. Whether you receive a question about a time when you have demonstrated teamwork or worked under a strict deadline, the case competition experience can provide an interesting anecdote that you can share during a job or internship interview.

There are certainly other benefits from participating in case competitions – the possibilities are numerous. So the next time you see case competitions advertised at Penn or through other channels, seriously consider joining a team and participating – you may benefit in more ways than you can imagine.

Sharing in Lives Through an Externship

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 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 the summer.  You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Sarah Ku, Nursing ’16

kuThis summer, I spent 8 weeks externing at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Northeast Philadelphia. I learned an incredible amount about cancer both at the bedsides of patients and also through the observational opportunities I was given. One of my most unforgettable days was when I observed in the Operating Room. I witnessed the excision of borders around a facial lesion which were then sent to pathology to be tested for cancerous cells. Fortunately, none of the borders were cancerous and by the time I came back from the surgical pathology room, the surgeon had already removed the lesion and was sewing the patient’s skin back together. This process was insightful as to how some cancers are diagnosed and can be immediately treated.

The information I learned regarding more terminal cancers were made on the floor of a medical oncology unit. During my first couple weeks, I witnessed a patient code, or have cardiopulmonary arrest. Throughout my clinicals, none of my patients ever coded so seeing the efficiency of procedures that occurred after the code was called was something I never would have expected to see. Unfortunately, this particular patient could not be resuscitated and I learned some first-hand post-mortem care as well.

Of course, not every one of my days at my externship were as eventful or insightful as the two I mentioned. Most days I learned about the true nature of nursing which included timing patient care, phrasing information in the most accurate but least painful way, making patients comfortable, and cleaning up patients who soiled their beds because they could not make it to their restrooms. Some days were more difficult than others and sometimes, my patience ran thin even though I had the amazing opportunity to help people with terminal illnesses feel better physically and emotionally. It was difficult to wake up at 4:45 AM, take a train and a bus, make it on to the floor by 6:30 AM, work a 12 hour shift and make the same commute back home. Still, by the end of my internship, I can honestly say that I still love nursing and the population of cancer patients.

I believe that the greatest lesson I learned this summer was not really about cancer at all. I think it was learning to be human, to find humanity in every situation I am in, and to embrace that humanity once it is found. This lesson came from the countless connections that I made with patients. It came from realizing that even though I was a nurse extern, I was still human and could relate to a patient’s husband because we both shared the struggle of overcoming language and cultural barriers. It came from finding the humanity in death and embracing that humanity because every life was so full and beautiful. Deaths became more about the lives they lived than their endings. How lucky I am that my future career is not only to take care of people, but to meet people, to listen to their stories, and share our lives with each other.