Who Can Use Career Services?

by J. Michael DeAngelis, Information Resources Manager

It’s a question that comes up at the start of every school year: “Am I eligible to use Career Services?”

If you’re a current Penn student or an alumni, the answer is probably a resounding YES!  We offer lifetime services to our graduates in the programs that we serve.  While we do service a huge part of the Penn community, we don’t see everyone.  I thought it would be a good time to highlight our official eligibility policy:

Eligibility for Services

Career Services is the central career resource center for all Penn undergraduates; for graduate and professional students in Annenberg, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Graduate School of Education, School of Design, Medicine (master’s and PhD), Nursing, Social Policy and Practice and Wharton Doctoral Programs; for alumni from these schools; and for post-doctoral trainees.

Full-time students in a degree program in these schools/programs have access to all services.

Part-time students in a degree program, both graduate and undergraduate, within one year of graduation also have full access.

Full-time students in a degree program at The College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) have access to all services. Part-time students in a degree program within one year of graduation also have full access. Part-time LPS undergraduates who have more than one year until graduation have access to the following services:

  •  Use of Career Services library
  • Attendance at programs and workshops
  • Use of credentials service

Exchange students here temporarily, visiting scholars, research assistants, students in non-degree programs and members of the Quaker Exchange taking classes on Penn’s campus for credit at their home institution are generally not eligible to use our services.

So that’s the official policy. What happens if you don’t fall into one of these categories?

Wharton MBA Students – You have your own dedicated office, Wharton MBA Career Management.  They’re also located in McNeil, right across the hall from us.

Penn Law Students – You also have your own dedicated career office: Penn Law Office Career Planning and Professionalism.

Penn Dental Students & Alumni – The Dental School regularly posts jobs on their alumni services page.

Other Members of the Penn Community – Other members of the University community are welcome to use our career library and to attend public presentations sponsored by Career Services.  Anyone with an active PennKey may also access restricted areas of our website, though certain areas may only be available to current students.

Non-Penn affiliated persons – Members of the public are welcome to use the information on our website, blog and social media.  Unfortunately, we can not accommodate non-Penn affiliates at any programming or career fair.

If you are eligible to use are services but have questions about when a good time to come see us is, check out this Career Services timeline for undergraduates or for Ph.D. students.

Don’t Wait!

rabbit_lateNow that the semester is under way and the On-campus recruiting season is set to begin within days, many students are going to be clamoring to schedule appointments or come in for walk-in advising.  The beginning of each semester is by far our busiest.  Students are usually very anxious about getting their resumes and cover letters critiqued, or speaking with an advisor about their career plans. Given that it is our busiest, it is also the most difficult to get in to see an advisor.  Too often, students come in for a walk-in only to find that all of the available slots have been taken before the session has even really began.  Or calling in, they are not able to get an appointment for that week, or even the next week.  If there is anything that can be passed on about navigating getting advice from our office it would be to get in as early as you can.

Whether it is getting a resume or cover letter critiqued, coming in to speak with an advisor about future plans, or practicing your interviewing skills… Don’t wait until the beginning of the semester to see someone.  Try coming into the office during our slower times to get things critiqued or to practice interviewing. Usually the end of each semester is the best time.  Fewer students come in and there is more time to polish resumes and cover letters, or practice things in order to get them as close to perfect as possible. Be proactive so that you don’t make an already stressful time even more stressful.


I’ve Missed You, Too

My colleague, Joseph Barber, is never at a loss for words.  He always knows exactly what to say and when to say it.  Take for example, this timely blog entry, posted this time last year:

Welcome to Career Services! We’ve Missed You.

By Dr. Joseph Barber

Congratulations! You are reading this blog, and so you are probably aware of Career Services and some of the many resources we have to help you with the job search and application process. All the posts within this blog compliment the links, tools, and archived workshops and videos available on the Career Services website. You’ve probably been there already, and hopefully you’ll be back soon. And when you come back, stay for a while – and poke around to see what information you can find to answer your questions.

In return for all this information, I would like to ask for a small favour! Really, it is just a small one. All I would like you to do is to ask your friends, colleagues, and peers if they have visited the Career Services website, or popped in to see us in the McNeil building recently. That’s it – simple. Now, some of the people you ask may look at you kind of funny – especially if you bring this topic up during dinner, in the middle of an episode of Glee, or whilst pipetting something mutagenic…, but they will eventually thank you for doing so, particularly if they have never heard about the resources we offer. In the hustle and bustle of daily academic life, things like thinking strategically about preparing yourself for future careers can sometimes fall by the wayside. However, your time at Penn provides you with a wealth of opportunities to gain knowledge, meet people, and gain practical, applied experiences that together will maximize your chances of successfully obtaining a job in the your career field of choice – whatever that may be. The sooner you start to do this, the better!

We certainly don’t want your friends, colleagues, and peers to wait until the last minute to think about this, or never to visit us at all – and you probably don’t want that either. We are here all summer, all semester, and our role is to serve you – to help you think about your career options, and to understand all the steps involved in making career decisions. Here are just some of the key services we offer:

  1. Resume, CV, cover letter, and other miscellaneous job application material reviews.
  2. Workshops on topics such as networking and interviewing; discussion panels with speakers from academic and non-academic careers; career fairs full of interesting employers seeking good candidates.
  3. Mock interviews, where we record you answering questions, and then discuss your answer whilst watching your video (many people don’t like the sound of their voice – but once you get over that, you’ll see how beneficial this experience can be).
  4. Career exploration, which can be very handy if you don’t quite know what you want to do or be, or can’t decide between different options.
  5. Advice from you peers. Just as you can advise your friends, colleagues, and peers to check out this blog and visit our website, so can you gain from the advice from those who have gone before you. Whether looking at the results of the Career Plans Survey, or reaching out to Penn Alumni who are doing what you might like to do one day as well, you’ll find plenty of helpful information through our website.

Share this list with your friends, colleagues, and peers, and encourage them to make an appointment to see an advisor. You could be helping them to get started on their pathway to success. It is very satisfying to be helpful, which is why we are also looking forward to seeing you again! So remember, spread the word that Career Services is open for business, and hopefully we will get to see many more of you soon.


The 2011-2012 edition of Pathways: The Career Services Manual is now available online!

Pathways is prepared each school year to provide students, parents, alumni and employers with an overview of the Career Services office.  Inside, you’ll find sample resumes and cover letters, guidelines for On Campus Recruiting, information about career fairs, interview advice and even examples of business etiquette and attire.

Physical copies of the book are available year-round in our office, as well as other major campus hubs and resources centers.  Incoming freshmen and new graduate students may be given a copy as part of their new student orientation and parents can pick up copies during move-in or over Parent’s Weekend in the fall.

This year, we are also please to provide two electronic editions.  A PDF version for your PC, Mac or Amazon Kindle and an ePub version for your iOS device, Nook or other completable e-reader.  Click on the link of your choice now and begin utilizing the many resources that Pathways has to offer, as the summer winds down and we gear up for yet another exciting year here at Penn.

Cubicle with a View

by Lindsay Mapes

As an administrative assistant I do not have a corner office with a view of Locust Walk.  Instead I have a corner cubicle with a view of every move you make before your settle in with your counselor or advisor, and sometimes it’s not pretty.  The scenery doesn’t change much when I head down to OCR to check in employers and students for their interviews, either.

Etiquette starts when you pick up the phone to schedule an appointment or interview.  Make sure it doesn’t sound like you’re not standing in the middle of a six lane highway or while you’re leading a kindergarten class in a sing-along. You should also have your calendar handy when you call.  Similarly, when you have an appointment or interview over the phone find someplace quiet, with good reception and free from interruptions.  We actually had a student call for her scheduled phone appointment while she was on a bar crawl.  Not only is it disrespectful to who you’re speaking with, but it hampers the quality of your appointment and what you get out of it.

Whether you’re interviewing in OCR, meeting with an advisor at Career Services, or headed to an unfamiliar city for an interview, make sure you know where you’re going.  That doesn’t mean having an address scrawled on a wrinkled piece of paper. Career Services is tucked away in the basement of the McNeil Building.  Tons of students show up late for interviews in OCR or appointments in Suite 20 because they don’t know where they’re going. Google the address before you go.  Also, administrative assistants are happy to give directions! If you had an interview in Manhattan you wouldn’t just show up at the train station, then try to figure it out on your own and call 10 minutes after your appointment begins breathless and lost?

If you are going to be late, call as soon as you know.  If you’re not going to show up at all, you should also call or email as soon as you know.  As redundant as this advice seems, it’s surprising how many students simply do not show without advance notice.  I notice and so do the advisors, especially the frequent no-shows. Interviewers and advisors are very busy, as are you, so if you let them know well in advance they may be able to accommodate you for another time.  Blatant no-shows do not guarantee any accommodations.

When you do show up on time to your interview or appointment you should know what company you’re interviewing for or who you’re meeting with.  This prevents you from sounding like a disorganized person who doesn’t want to be there.  There’s no Anne Redstorm or Ted Rothum here.

Be aware of your surroundings when you’re in the waiting area, especially in OCR.  Sometimes when people get nervous they get chatty, and then they get loud.  Other students (and interviewers) may not want to hear how your last interviewers thought you were perfect.  People also probably aren’t interested in hearing a phone conversation about how much you drank over the weekend.  Be considerate. If the three people in the waiting area with you are exchanging looks and rolling eyes at each other, you might want to stop playing Angry Birds with your sound on.

Administrative assistants and receptionists are here to help you from the moment you pick up the phone or come in to make an appointment.  Do not hesitate to ask for directions, to call when you’re running late, or to see if we can schedule you for a different day.  And Lifesavers! We have Lifesavers!  Could someone with a basket of Lifesavers steer you wrong?