Why not U.S.?

As a career counselor for the College, I’m supposed to learn a little bit about every career. When I was charged with giving myself a crash course on government careers, I was probably like many people and thought – boring! But the more I read about working for the Uncle Sam and the more I talk with the alumni feds, the more I realize what a unique employer the government is.  (Yes, it is an occupational hazard to be attracted to a new field every day.)

Not only is the federal government hiring right now, but they are hiring for jobs in every field. You can work in public health, finance regulation, historic preservation, foreign service, engineering, environment, etc.  It also turns out that federal jobs pay better than I thought, and there is a schedule for raises and promotion. The jobs are located in every state in the U.S.

I admit that government applications can be a hassle, but that’s why Career Services is putting on a slew of events to help you navigate the process and talk directly with real feds who can show you the ropes. Here’s what’s coming up this semester:

  • Finding and Applying for Federal Jobs and Internships Tuesday, September 28, 3 – 4 pm
  • State Department Information Session Wednesday, September 29, 5 pm – 6 pm
  • Internships in Government Wednesday, September 29, 3 – 4 pm
  • Policy and Government Career Fair 2010 Friday, October 1, 11 am – 3 pm
  • Careers with the Foreign Service: From Philadelphia to Pakistan and Back Friday, October 1, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
  • Business Careers in the Government Panel and Networking Reception Thursday, October 14, 4 – 5 pm panel, followed by reception
  • Working for Uncle Sam: you, what, where, why, and how Thursday, October 14,12 – 1pm
  • Federal Resume Critiques Thursday, October 14, 2 to 3:30 pm (sign up required)
  • Foreign Service Oral Exam Prep Session Thursday, October 21, 12-1:30
  • International Development Careers in the Government Panel Friday, Oct 29, 12 – 1 pm
  • Careers in Science & Engineering in the Federal Government Panel Friday, November 5, 12 – 1pm

What Should I Ask Alumni?

By: David Ross

So you’ve just found that incredible lead and think this could be the big break you’ve been waiting for…there’s an alum working at a place of great interest to you. There’s just one slight problem – you’re unsure what to ask the alum and want to make the best impression possible. How should you proceed?

Carefully. Cautiously. Professionally. While there’s no “magic formula” here, you do want to think carefully and plan ahead before reaching out to alumni. Sometimes, I’m asked by students what are some questions to ask an alum? Here are a few ideas:

Can you share your thoughts on how to best prepare myself for a career in (insert career here)? Sure, we’ve all heard about pursuing internships and making connections, but depending on the field you are interested in, an alum’s perspective on some of the more subtle or less mentioned skills that are valued can be particularly helpful.

How did your Penn (and/or school at Penn) experience prepare you for your career? This question is a great way to really delve into the Penn connection you share and ways that you can leverage that experience.

In your experience, what are some attributes of individuals who are most successful in (your field)? Not only will this question shed some light on what it takes to be successful, it may also be helpful to evaluate if a certain career field is a good fit for you personally.

Are there any courses at Penn that you would recommend taking as preparation? A decision on what classes to take is up to each individual. However, an alum’s experience with certain courses he or she found helpful and useful may give you some new ideas to think about.

While asking questions can be a helpful way to begin a discussion with alumni, some individuals prefer a more direct approach and like to “cut to the chase.” Be careful with this as you certainly do not want to put an alum in an awkward position – especially if he or she does not know you. Think about it – would you recommend someone for employment at a company if all you knew about the person was based on one email or a phone call you received? Developing strong networking connections can take some time. And while it may not be easy to cultivate a contact, it’s very easy to make a bad impression in the process. Always keep that in mind.

Of course, there are many other questions you can ask alumni as well. But hopefully this gives you a few ideas to open the lines of communication and connect with alumni.

A Day in the Life: Educational Non-Profits

Jason Chan
Jason Chan

Read Jason Chan’s archived tweet feed here: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/JasonChan_Feed.pdf

If you’re interested in education, there are many alternatives to teaching or working in a school, whether it is an elementary school or university.  On Tuesday, September 28th Jason Chan (SAS ’02) will highlight one of these alternatives when he tweets for @PennCareerDay about his career with an educational non-profit.

Jason Chan is the Director of Scholar & Alumni Programs at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), where he serves as a student advisor and oversees a portfolio of academic support, leadership development, and community-building programs designed for recipients of the APIASF and Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) scholarship awards.

Prior to APIASF, Jason was a graduate coordinator in both the student conduct and multicultural affairs offices at the University of Maryland-College Park. In addition to advising student organizations and campus leaders, he also facilitated intergroup dialogues and co-taught a course on leadership and race. Jason has also worked at City Year, a national non-profit community service organization, as an AmeriCorps volunteer and a full-time staff member. There, he taught diversity curricula to Boston public school students, managed neighborhood service-learning programs, led teams of volunteers in service, and supported City Year’s recruitment and admissions functions.


Jason has a M. Ed. in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland-College Park, and a B.A. in Psychology and Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.

Connect with Jason:

A Day in the Life: Consulting

Sara Fleisher
Sara Fleisher

Read Sara Fleisher’s archived tweet feed here: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/SaraFleisher_Feed.pdf

A popular career of interest here at Penn is consulting.  Tuesday, September 21st is your chance to learn more about life as an Associate Consultant when Sara Fleisher, WH ’09, tweets for @PennCareerDay.

Sara Fleisher has been working at Rosetta, an interactive agency located in Manhattan, as an Associate Consultant since August 2009. In her first year at Rosetta, Sara has worked with two clients on several different projects. The first client is a major international Pharmaceutical company based out of Asia and the second is a large Canadian telecommunications company. Her projects to date have included performing qualitative and quantitative research in the United States and in Canada. Additionally, at Rosetta, she is involved with the Charity Team, Culture and Engagement Social Team, college recruiting, and currently ranked number two in ping pong at the New York office. Sara earned her B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School in May 2009, with concentrations in Marketing and Management. While at Wharton, she was President of the Wharton Retail Club her senior year and also worked at the Daily Pennsylvanian for two years in the Marketing and Production departments.