The Holiday Onslaught Begins: Parallels between OCR & Christmas hype

By Claire Klieger


Walking into Wawa today and hearing “Silver Bells” reminds me that yet again, it’s time to launch into the holiday season, whether I’m “beginning to feel a lot like Christmas” or not. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I like Christmas as much as the next Yule-tider, but can’t we take our time and celebrate one holiday at time?


Courtesy of Laughter is Good for the Soul

This year I even started to see holiday decorations for sale in stores before Halloween. As I was thinking about this, it struck me that there are actually some parallels between the early onset of Christmas mania and the OCR phenomenon on Penn’s campus. So, here they are:

It happens before I’m necessarily ready for it. We all know it—each year those songs come on during your grocery store or CVS runs earlier and earlier and OCR can feel the same way. Whether you’re talking full time positions or summer internships, OCR starts the first week of classes before you’ve even had a chance to catch your breath. And for seniors, especially, how many of you are really ready to start your post-graduation job search the second you step foot back on campus? It can be a little overwhelming.


It’s not for everyone. On-campus recruiting is great and offers lots of really wonderful opportunities for students in a convenient package but just like figgy pudding, fruit cake or the Justin Bieber Christmas album, it may not appeal to everyone. Employers from only a few industries participate in this style of recruiting and so for students not interested in banking, consulting, consumer products, retail or tech, then OCR is not for you, which is just fine.


Via Flickr

It’s everywhere. The sea of suits that appear on campus in September and October are a little like light-up animatronic reindeer lawn ornaments or huge inflatable snow globes lining the neighborhoods of American suburbia—impossible to ignore. This can also make you feel like everyone must be interviewing and getting their job offers in the fall but that’s not the case. For students in the College, only 30% of the class of 2010 received their job offers by the end of December.


Sometimes the best deals happen last minute. I’m not sure how this idea gets planted and spreads but there is a fairly pervasive notion among Penn students that if you don’t have a job by a certain date (often winter break) or if you don’t get a job through OCR, you won’t be left with anything “good,” interesting, or otherwise prestigious. The truth is that there are many really interesting things out there and just like that great holiday gift that you scored on clearance the day before Christmas Eve, often some of the coolest positions get posted closer to or even after graduation.


So sit back, relax, and roast those chestnuts over an open fire at your own pace. Even in this economy, jobs are out there and neat opportunities will be there for you to apply to whenever you happen to get into the spirit of the job hunting season. When you’re ready to deck the halls with your resume, we’ll be here to help you make your list, check it twice, and find employers who are not naughty, but nice.  Oh wait, I mean gobble, gobble!

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Love Is In The Air….or maybe not quite yet!

By Barbara Hewitt

Happy Valentine’s Day! Many of you are probably thinking about roses and chocolates from your significant other, but those of us who are career counselors have been having lots of conversations with students wondering “Why haven’t I received that perfect internship offer yet? Where’s the love from all those prospective internship employers?”

On-campus recruiting can give a distorted perspective of the typical timing for internship offers. The myriad of financial services, consulting, and other (mostly for-profit) firms that visit campus each spring often  are pretty far ahead of the general population in terms of conducting interviews early in the spring and getting internship offers out quickly – often by mid February. These offers generally focus on students in their penultimate year at Penn (a.k.a. juniors) so that they can extend full-time employment offers to interns after the summer if it truly is a love match. However, what about employers in all those industries which don’t actively participate in on-campus recruiting like nonprofits, government entities, smaller firms, communication agencies…the list goes on. What about sophomores? When do they typically receive offers?

The answer is – often later in the spring. It is important that students interested in interning this summer start the process soon (or continue looking if you haven’t received an offer yet)…but it is just as important to realize that it’s not too late to find some amazing opportunities. When we look at data on when sophomores at Penn (all schools) received internship offers for Summer 2009, the most common month was April (coming in at 30.6%). Another 20.6% received offers in May, 7.1% in June, and 1.3% in July. In fact, only 23% of the sophomores received an internship offer by the end of February in 2009 (and today we are only midway through the month!).

It’s also helpful to know that sophomores found their internships in a wide variety of ways. Networking was very helpful as 30.2% found their internships through a contact. Other methods for landing internships included applying directly (26%), non-OCR Career Services resources such as career fairs, iNet and PennLink (18%), OCR (5.1%), websites (4.8%), returning to a previous employer (4.8%), participating in a special program such as SEO or Inroads (3.5%), and the catch-all “other” (7.4%).

If you’ve already started the internship search, keep moving forward with it and perhaps add some new search methods suggested above. If you haven’t started the search, jump in now if you want to intern this summer – it’s not too late! Be sure to check out all of the resources we have available on the Internships part of our website.  Also, don’t forget that nearly 100 employers will be at Penn this Friday for our Spring Career Fair. Many of them have internship opportunities available.

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Happy New Year! We Are Open Again!

By Barbara Hewitt

Happy 2011! Career Services has reopened after the holiday break and we are available to help you!  Feel free to call the office to schedule an appointment (via phone or in person if you are back on campus). Counselors are also available via email.

Also, note that on-campus recruiting for internships has officially begun! Many resume collections for spring internship recruiting opened today – January 3. No worries though if you still want to enjoy your break. The first resume deadline for summer on-campus recruiting is not until January 16th, so you can always apply when you get back to campus.

On-campus recruiting for internships tends to focus on juniors and other students graduating in 2012 as many employers prefer to hire students in their penultimate year so they can extend a full-time offer at the end of the summer if all goes well. However, some employers will consider students graduating later and sophomores are certainly welcome to participate in OCR if they wish.

Log into PennLink to see which employers are recruiting, as well as read job descriptions, research specific application deadlines for each position, and apply to those that interest you.

If you have questions about how OCR works, please check out the online OCR Orientation. It takes about 30 minutes to view, but should answer most of your questions about the process.

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Winter Break

Happy Holidays from the Career Services staff!

The Career Services office will be closed from 12 noon on Thursday, December 23rd until 9am on Monday, January 3rd, 2011.

Starting on the 3rd, you can give us a call or drop us an e-mail with any career related questions you might have over the break.  Take full advantage of all the resources we have on the Career Services website and, if you’ll be doing OCR in the spring, be sure to look through PennLink and watch our narrated OCR orientation!

Have a warm and wonderful holiday season and a safe and relaxing winter break!  Posts will resume on this blog on January 3rd on a limited basis and then return to daily entries when classes resume.

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Visions of sugarplums… For December grads and alumni

To the tune of White Christmas…

I’m dreaming of a job market,
Just like the ones I used to know.

Where the postings glisten,
Employers listen,
To hear – all I have to show.

I’m dreaming of a job market,
With every letter that I write -
May you find me merry, and bright,
And may you, please, hire me tonight.

All of us in Career Services send our sincerest congratulations on your graduation!  We know that these are anxious times, but we want to reassure you that Career Services is available to you.  Did you know that as an alum, virtually all of our services are available to you?  Here’s a list of services that you can use whenever you need them – right now, or in the future.  You are welcome to:

1 – Make an appointment with a counselor (in person, or on the phone) to talk over  career issues;

2 – Talk with a graduate study advisor whenever you are thinking about getting an additional degree;

3 – Send in a resume, cover letter, personal statement or other graduate school essay for critique;

4 – Obtain a lifetime University of Pennsylvania e-mail address go to and click on “Quakernet” for complete information.

5 – Attend most Career Fairs, Graduate School presentations, and any other workshops, seminars or presentations offered through Career Services – our Spring Career Fair is coming up in Feb!;

6Join the Career Services “LinkedIn” group and follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

7 – Access PennLink where we post individual job announcements we receive from employers;

8 – Sign up for one of our many alumni e-mail job posting lists (yeah – more e-mail from Career Services!).  For complete information, check our Web site for your school;

9 – Access our extensive on-line job subscriptions through the Career Services library – and click on “on-line subscriptions”; (note:  these are different from PennLink listings)

10Connect with Penn alums through the Penn Alumni Career Network (PACNet).

11 – Continue your personal career exploration through the “Career Exploration” section of our Web site.  For a modest fee, a Career Counselor will critique career inventories (Myers-Briggs and Strong) for you;

12 – Use On-Campus Recruiting for one semester/year after your graduation.  NOTE THAT YOU MUST BE IN PHILADLEPHIA AND AVAILABLE TO COME TO INTERVIEW.

ONE FINAL WORD:  remember your Pennkey and Password – since you’ll need them to get into our protected job sites!

From all of us in Career Services:  congratulations, have a very happy holiday and wonderful 2011!  And let us know if you need our assistance – we’re here to help.

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