“Pathways”—It’s Plural!

DSC00766“Pathways” is used as a title for several career resources. Some companies call their internships or rotational programs “Pathways.” The word “pathways” is sometimes a label for information sessions or bridge programs that organizations develop as introductions to industries or companies.

At Penn’s Career Services, we call our career guide “Pathways.” This manual is a printed book, a downloadable PDF on our website, and an online ebook. It is full of articles about exploring career fields and searching for internships, jobs, and graduate/professional schools. Employers eager to hire Penn students advertise in it, and we provide lists of companies that actively recruit on campus.

In all the career uses I’ve seen of this word, it’s plural. “Pathways.” This is intentional for two reasons. First, there are many different career paths available to Penn students and alumni. Second, each individual student will almost certainly pursue more than one career path during her/his professional life. (According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most people stay in the same job for under five years.)

Students are sometimes anxious when considering career fields to pursue, which internships to seek, or which opportunity to accept after graduation. Should I take this job offer, or should I go to graduate school? Yes! Both (although usually not simultaneously).

Of course you can’t embrace two full-time opportunities at the same time. The option you pursue will affect your professional life now and in the future. But you will make changes. It is unlikely you will still be in your first position after several years. So sometimes the question is not “Which path will I give up?” but “Which path will I pursue first?” (Experience may be the necessary ingredient to selecting one’s next pathway. John Krumboltz has explored this in his happenstance learning theory.)

Remember, there are multiple pathways in your future. It’s plural!

March Madness

bballIt’s that time of year again for . . . figuring out what to do after the semester ends. Oh, and basketball!

Some of you have already found and committed to your upcoming summer internships or full-time jobs. Others are scanning the sites, looking for teams, studying their histories, trying to pick what might be a winning combination for you.

Upsets? Perhaps the position you wanted didn’t come through? Keep searching—use our resources and come see us.

Seedings? Perhaps your top choice didn’t turn out to be as interesting as you had hoped when you did an internship, talked to recruiters at a career fair, or networked with alumni? If you are changing direction and now focusing on different career fields, use our resources and come see us.

Cinderellas? Perhaps you’ve received unexpected interest (or even an offer) from a recruiter or networker you met at a career workshop or panel? If you need negotiation tips, use our resources and come see us.

Pairings? Perhaps nothing or too many things interest you, and you are finding it difficult to make choices? If you need to begin exploring ideas and think it would be helpful to really think about what you want, use our resources and come see us.

One of the fun aspects of tournaments like the March NCAA national championships for men’s basketball and women’s basketball is the unexpected results. When your curiosity takes over and you’re intrigued by a professor’s or presenter’s experiences, a friend’s story about a past internship, or a company highlighted in a news article, explore it!

Finally, don’t panic. It may feel mad, but it’s not too late! Many students find their internships and jobs in the spring. Check our surveys to see when students in your program found their positions last year. Depending on the industry(ies) you’ve targeted, hiring may be done in the fall . . . or winter . . . or spring . . . or just in time (right before anticipated start dates). March is as good a time as any!

Whether you’re committed to your national-champion pick, or whether you’re ready to consider all the options, upsets, and possibilities along the way, Career Services can help.BlankBracket