I was fortunate enough to spend 8 days abroad on a recent business trip to Israel. As this was my first visit to the country, I knew there would be much to learn and process. After spending some time reflecting on my trip, I realized some of what I discovered (or was reminded) may be useful for those preparing for internships and full-time employment. Here are just a few observations:
The solutions to some of the most vexing domestic issues can be found abroad. During one of my meetings, I had the chance to speak with a principal at a local elementary school. I was curious to hear more about the school’s philosophy on educating students and how they achieved success. He was very candid and offered his opinion based on years of experience working in the country. Thinking about what he shared, I realized a similar approach may be helpful at some schools in the U.S. that have encountered challenges. Ultimately, this conversation reminded me that some of the answers to very challenging issues in the U.S. can be found abroad – so it’s important to take advantage of the chance to spend time abroad, visit different countries and learn as much as possible.
Perception can be significantly distorted by limited perspective. Prior to my trip, I revisited some articles written about the country from the perspective of individuals in the U.S. But I was quite curious to hear opinions from those who actually lived in the country. A few conversations with local citizens reminded me that perspectives can vary drastically on events and there is much value in hearing different viewpoints. What is especially great about visiting other countries is hearing firsthand accounts from those who lived through events others have read about in the past. Developing an appreciation for different viewpoints and appreciating the value of global mindset can be very helpful while working in companies or organizations and throughout your career.
While differences may be apparent, there may be more similarities than you expect. During a few conversations with other colleagues on the trip, a few people remarked how different cities and neighborhoods we visited reminded them of areas in the U.S. While it may be easy to focus on differences we see and observe, I was reminded that people’s lifestyles and experiences in other countries may have more in common with the U.S. than people realize or assume. Having the willingness to be open-minded and appreciate the similarities and differences of individuals you encounter will be helpful as you prepare for a global workforce.
This week we’re pleased to welcome Esther Ra to the studio. Esther is a new part-time counselor here in Career Services, working with students in the School of Nursing, the Graduate School of Education and the school of Social Policy and Practice. Esther is going to talk about some of the services we offer students in SP2 and highlight two upcoming events for that audience. Mylène and Michael also discuss some important changes coming to PennLink for alumni users – it’s big announcement, so tune in! All that, plus the usual run down of the week’s events.
I meet with many students seeking internships and full-time positions who are at times incredibly busy with their coursework – and on top of their studies, trying to balance a comprehensive and effective job search. This can understandably be a very stressful combination of activities, and so Career Services is always working to identify resources and tools to help our students not only strike a balance but succeed in both arenas.
To that end, a partnership between Career Services and CAPS has generated an upcoming workshop series designed to help students excel in the career planning and application process – with sessions on different kinds of personality and strengths assessments as well as the aptly titled “Managing Anxiety Related to your Job Search,” participating students will have several opportunities throughout the upcoming year to bring their concerns and identify solutions and strategies to enhance their application process. At the start of the semester, please be sure to check the Career Services calendar and/or the CAPS website for details on specific programs and their scheduled dates/times.
Beyond workshops, Career Services is also always working to identify and provide the latest tools to help students manage their career development. A really neat resource, free for our current students and discounted for alumni, is Jobtreks – your Jobtreks account will allow you to: – Access a proprietary database of 9,000+ companies – Create your target list of companies – Browse 30+ job boards and other job search resources – Manage your companies, contacts, & job applications – Create to-do lists, notes, & alerts, and – Prep for interviews and networking
so that you can keep all of your thoughts, research, contacts and networking resources and more in your own private database! Jobtreks logins are by academic status, so please see the list below for your appropriate link to register:
So, with these upcoming workshops and tools like Jobtreks, you have a few special resources to help your job or internship search to be a manageable and interesting journey of self-discovery and possibilities. And, if ever you feel the least bit overwhelmed or stressed about career-related issues, please reach out to one of your career advisors to discuss your individual concerns.
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.
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.