Have You Considered Working for a Startup?

Tiffany J. Franklin, Associate Director

Startup fever seems to be everywhere these days, whether it’s an episode of Shark Tank or watching Silicon Valley on HBO. Entrepreneur centers are popping up all over the country and the Wall Street Journal and New York Times are filled with stories about these types of companies. Have you ever considered working for a Startup?

With the Penn 2017 Startup Fair being held in just a few weeks (Thursday, February 9th in Houston Hall, 11am – 3pm), it’s the perfect time to explore the world of startups.

Neil Blumenthal, cofounder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, defines a startup as “A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed.” Definitions on Investopedia describe companies in early stages of operations in which founders “attempt to capitalize on developing a product or service for which they believe there is a demand.” Inherent in these descriptions is the element of risk in conjunction with great potential.

For many students, working at a startup serves as an invaluable part of their internship experience. Some become enthralled with that world and choose to remain in that sphere for years (either as employees of startups or entrepreneurs founding their own companies), while others leverage the experience and go on to more established employers. In either case, working for a startup will provide you will a wealth of examples of how you have demonstrated competencies that employers value. For example, since wearing multiple hats is the norm, you will likely work on numerous projects across functional areas. This provides an opportunity to show how you demonstrate initiative, adaptability, problem solving, and teamwork, among other skills.

As with any job search, it’s important to evaluate the values that mean most to you to see if the startup world could be a fit. Career Services has an excellent values exercise that is helpful to review both at the beginning of your job search as you evaluate offers. In addition, it’s important to conduct due diligence on the company just as you would with any potential employer. You want to ask yourself some of the following questions that Ann Fisher outlines in her Fortune article – “7 questions to ask before joining a startup.”

  • What’s my tolerance for risk?
  • What stage is the start-up in now?
  • Has the enterprise shown fast growth so far?
  • Who’s in charge?
  • Who’s funding the company?
  • Will I have a mentor?
  • What will my role be?
  • Do I have the right personality to shine in a start-up?

There are a wealth of resources available to help you learn more about startups.







Infographic Source: http://blog.gojobhero.com/10-best-startup-job-boards-infographic

Working for a startup can be a rewarding experience that is invaluable to your career progression. If you would like to learn more, Career Services is holding a workshop/panel called “Job & Internship Search: Startups” on February 2nd from 12-1pm in Huntsman Hall, G50. Hope to see you there and at the Startup Fair on February 9th!

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!


CS Radio Episode 007: Career Fair Prep

episode 7

Radio.  CS Radio.

Welcome to Episode 007!  J. Michael and A. Mylène are shaken, but not stirred as they cover career fair preparation in advance of Thursday’s International Opportunities Fair.  College assistant Alyssa Perkins-Chatterton stops by to talk about the work that goes into organizing a career fair, as well as to share some of the feedback she receives every year from the employers who attend.   If you plan on coming to the fair this week, this is a must listen episode!

All that, plus the usual rundown of Career Services events and Michael taking every opportunity he has to mention James Bond.  Enjoy!

How to Get the Most Out of Virtual Career Fairs

by Fatimah Williams Castro, PhD., Associate Director, Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Team.

Virtual career fairs are similar to traditional career fairs that take place in person, except they are held online. Employers attend career fairs to network with and actively recruit new hires. Job seekers have the opportunity to meet employers and briefly discuss the company, job opening, and job seeker’s profile.   Virtual career fairs are a great way to meet employers that might not otherwise travel to campus, and to do so in a low pressure environment without the long lines.

The Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Fellow Unit is excited to be participating in the Ph.D. & Master’s Virtual Career Fair, sponsored by the Graduate Career Consortium, on February 17, 2015.   More than 25 employers are gathering in one virtual place to meet job seeking Master’s and Ph.D.s.   You just need a computer with internet access and an updated resume to participate in a virtual career fair.  Once you register online, submit your updated resume in advance of the fair. Employers may review your materials and determine if there is a potential fit between your qualifications and their hiring needs.

Employers from a broad range of industries participate in virtual career fairs, and they seek job candidates at all career stages – not just master’s students and Ph.D.s. Here are a few other virtual career fairs that may be of interest to you:

Prepare for the Fair
You may be concerned that you will not be able to stand out or interact with employers because of the online format of this career fair. Most virtual career fairs host online chat forums where employers and job seekers can get to know each other.  There may also be a video conferencing function that will allow you to virtually meet employers face-to-face. These live, interactive communication functions give you access to employers from the comfort of your home or office. Just be sure to prepare your background, lighting and camera angles, and dress as you would for an in person career fair, if you decide to meet with employers via video chat.

Connect in Real Time
Do your homework by researching employers before the fair begins. Virtual career fairs will provide a list of participating employers along with a description of their job openings. Review company details and the job opening. This information will help you have meaningful interactions with employers when you meet in chat forums or via video conferencing, and when you follow up with employers of interest after the fair.

If you would like a career advisor to review your resume prior to posting online you may stop by for Walk Ins (15 minutes) or make an appointment (30 minutes) by calling 215-898-7531. You can also take a look at these resume samples from UPenn undergraduate, graduate students and postdoc alumni to help you get started on your resume.

In addition to these tips, expert career blog, Brazen Life, also offers “8 Tips for Making Meaningful Connections at Virtual Networking Events and Online Career Fairs.”

Follow Up
Just like any other career fair or information session with employers, be sure to follow through after the event is over: send thank you messages to recruiters, and continue to express your interest in those companies or firms you found to be a good match for your job search and career goals.

Career Services’ Wild Ride

by J. Michael DeAngelis, Information Resources Manager

I love Mr. Toad.  Perhaps it’s because we both have a “J.” in our first name (J. Thadeus in his case, J. Michael in mine).  I love him as he first appeared in print in Wind in the Willows, I love him in the British stop-motion-puppet tv series that ran in my youth. I love him in the Disney animated classic The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toadwhich includes one of the best road trip songs ever. But perhaps the way I loved him most was in the Walt Disney World attraction that bore his name: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

toad_marqueeThe ride, sadly no longer in operation in Florida, placed you in a turn of the century automobile that was wildly out of control.  You would come close to crashing into something and then veer away at the last moment.  You’d think you were traveling in one direction, when suddenly you’d be heading in another.   Best of all – the ride was totally different depending on how you entered the line.  Two totally separate tracks took different courses through the ride, showing you different scenes, until they met at the end.

Aside from the pure nostalgia, I write about Mr. Toad today because this time of year can really feel like a WILD RIDE for Career Services staff and students alike.  We’ve barely begun the school year, but this week alone we’re hosting three consecutive days of career fairs.  It’s a lot right out of the gate and I imagine for many students, they can feel like they’re in a runaway car, ready to crash at any moment.

First tip – relax! Career Fairs can feel very overwhelming, but if you go into them with a  goal and destination in mind, they can be both exciting and manageable.  We offer some great, basic things you can do to prepare in the video below:

My other piece is advice is to enjoy the twists and turns! To me, the fun of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was never knowing which way you were headed.  Be open to different “routes” at the career fairs (and in your job search in general) – the unexpected path is often the most satisfying one!

We’ll see you tomorrow at CareerFIRE, Thursday at Engineering Career Day and Friday at CareerLINK – all at the Sheraton Hotel on Chestnut Street.