Let Your Next Employer Find You!

I read an interesting article this week on Human Resource Executive Online from Wharton’s very own Peter Capelli.  It pointed out that the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found in a recent study that the “majority of hires never report looking for a new job”. In othe words, instead of proactively researching and applying for specific positions, most individuals who took new jobs were “found” by their new employers without the candidate proactively seeking them out. To put it another way, individuals were “poached” from their employers and enticed to start work with new organizations.  Of course, current students who are not already in the labor force will need to continue to be proactive about looking and applying for jobs and internships, but this is a good lesson that in addition to being proactively appying for jobs there are many more passive ways that you can demonstrate what you have to offer to potential employers.  Here are just three ways to more “passively” build your network in the hopes that your next employer will find you!

  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and professional. Recruiters are increasingly using LinkedIn to find great candadates for jobs and it is an excellent way to showcase your qualifications. Even if an employer inititally discovers you from a resume you submitted for a specific position, they are still likely to view your LinkedIn profile for additional details.  Find out more about using Linkedin in your job search by waching this webinar which was co-sponsored by Penn Alumni Relations and Career Services. You can also find additional resources and a link to join the University of Pennsylvania Alumni LinkedIn Group here.  (And, yes, current students can join this group!)
  • Get out there!  Make an effort to meet people working in fields of interest to you. Not only will you learn more about prospective career fields, but you will also grow your network, so that when a job opening occurs someone might think of you before actually posting the job to the world at large. Attend speaker programs on campus (and stick around to talk to the speakers afterwards if you are able), join student groups to meet individuals with like-minded career interests, or join a professional association (which often offer very discounted rates to current students).
  • Be active on social media.  Follow organizations on Twitter that interest you and contribute to conversations online so that people get to know who you are. Of course, make sure your contributions are thoughtful and well crafted to ensure a strong impression.  LinkedIn groups can be another great way to keep abreast on what is happening in your field of interest.
  • Connect with Penn alumni. The Penn network is an amazing resource to connect with individuals working in areas of interest to you. Use the QuakerNet directory (myquakernet.com) or LinkedIn to connect with them.

Money, Money, errr…, Money?

Dr. Joseph Barber

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a funding version of LinkedIn, where you could provide details of what you wanted to be funded (e.g., you, your travel, your research), and then connect directly in a personal, one-one-one kind of way with relevant groups, organizations, or even individuals who had money they wanted to provide. Let’s call this wonder-website that doesn’t yet exist “FundIn”. Using this made-up FundIn website, and once you had created your personal and professional narrative on the site, you might even be approached by people who stumbled upon your profile, who see the great potential in your work, and who reach out to you to see if you would like to be funded. FundIn would be a melting pot of grant and fellowship seekers, professional associations, non-profits, foundations, private institutions, businesses, crowd-sourcing ventures, and philanthropists.

Talking of funding, surely venture capitalists would want to provide funding to this FundIn site because it would offer something that doesn’t currently exist, a one-stop shop for people seeking funding, and for entities trying to fund the best and most worthy individuals and groups. It would save everyone significant amounts of time. Since we all know that time = money, then FundIn would be an enterprise that is itself worth funding. Join me for a second in picturing this rosy future where FundIn is up and running, where researchers, scholars, and non-profits are easily finding the funding opportunities they seek, where there are thriving networks of people seeking funding connecting with those who have successfully received funding so that they can learn from any best practices, and where I have an enormous house somewhere in the vineyards of California funded by creating and bringing into existence FundIn

OK…, well that’s enough daydreaming. Let’s get back to the real world and figure out what you can do in this reality to navigate the rather more complicated and time-consuming process of seeking funding – a process that unfortunately doesn’t result in me having a large house in California…

A good starting point for your funding search are the funding pages on the Career Services website. You can link to the main funding page directly here. There is lots to see and do on this page, and we encourage you to explore these resources in more detail. You will find a couple of databases of funding sources – these are a good starting point for your exploration. Since the world of funding is a changeable one (money comes and goes, deadlines change, and so on), make sure you confirm any details you find in these databases by double-checking the details on the website of the founding source itself. We wouldn’t want you to miss any deadlines! Additionally, you will want to check out the online subscription we have to The Grant Advisor by visiting the online subscriptions page of the Career Services website. And don’t forget we also have some real, touchable, reference books in our Career Services library relevant to funding opportunities for you to look at. Stop by one day and browse some of these resources – while you are at Career Services you can drop in for walk-ins or make future appointments to speak with an advisor about seeking funding (or any other career-related topic) – and that’s not a bad way to make good use of your limited time!

Career Services works in partnership with the Graduate Student Center on many different types of programs – including one on “Navigating the Grant”. You can find previous funding presentations given at the GSC-organized Navigating the Grant conference here.

It is helpful to know what the different sources of funding are

• University (Department, School, student associations; student government)
• Professional associations
• Private foundations/individuals
• Advocacy organizations

…and what is typically funded:

• Types of research: humanities, social sciences, interdisciplinary research…
• Types of people: minorities, women, researchers from certain countries or backgrounds…
• Types of activity: travel, dissertation completion, fieldwork…

…because you don’t want to leave any stone unturned when it comes to finding the right source of funding for you. Look to your networks to find out what funding sources your peers and other Penn alumni have found. Connect with people who have already been awarded the fellowships and grants you are seeking, because they can offer you great insights into the process, and can talk about how they made a convincing argument to be funded. And above all…, always take the time to talk with grant coordinators and administrators. They are knowledgeable about every aspect of the process, and can tell you what types of proposals usually get funded, and even offer advice about how you might put forward the most compelling submission.

Remember…, the reason FundIn will be such a successful social networking platform (when someone decides to develop it) is that it connects individuals like you not only with information about funding opportunities, but also with the people connected to the funding sources (administrators, previous awardees, grant coordinators). It is the combination of knowledge about the different sources of funding that you can research, and the specific advice you can get from actual people (who can answer your specific questions) that will increase your chances of securing additional funding.

Making the Most of Professional Conferences

By Sharon Fleshman

This is the season in which many of my colleagues and I go to conferences for professional development. To that end, I have some quick thoughts on how to be more intentional before, during and after these events.

Join the planning committee. Perhaps you have ideas for a theme or can assist with logistics. If so, your role in planning a conference would allow you to utilize your skills in new ways and collaborate with others outside of your workplace, resulting in a stronger network and broader exposure.

Present on a topic. If you are developing an area of expertise acknowledged by your colleagues, faculty, or classmates, chances are that you can propose to facilitate a workshop or present a paper. If others have knowledge that would enhance the presentation, invite them to co-present.

Share best practices. During a conference that I attended recently, there was time allotted for some who presented on initiatives or efforts that were successful in their contexts.  Sharing best practices can also happen informally in between workshops or over a meal.  Forums such as email lists or LinkedIn groups can be used to extend the exchange of ideas beyond the conference.

Identify next steps. After a conference, it is tempting to take your notes and handouts and file them somewhere with the best of intentions of pulling them out later.  Instead, be sure to debrief and strategize with your colleagues shortly after the conference.  Finally, determine two or three action items that can be implemented based on your primary takeaways from the event.

On-the-Job Development

by Sharon Fleshman

Many of you will be starting new jobs in the next few months and you’ve probably already heard the term “on-the-job training” mentioned in one place or another.  I’m going to tweak the language a little bit and use the term “development” as some organizations are currently doing. There is a finite quality implied in “training” which typically has a beginning and end. On the other hand, I think that “development” points to more of a dynamic and continuous process.  The bottom line is that wherever you find yourself, you need to be proactive and responsible for your own development.   To that end, here are some steps that you can take:

Embrace the present. It’s good to plan ahead and envision the future, but you also need to make sure that you focus on the job that you have been hired for.  Take advantage of all of the resources at your disposal so that you get off to a strong start. Attend relevant training sessions offered or sponsored by your employer. Ask good questions and be on the lookout for potential mentors.  Be clear on the expectations regarding your role.

Assess.  Most employers have at least an annual review process for their employees, but you should not wait for your formal evaluation to assess your performance on the job. Ask yourself a few key questions periodically. How am I using my strengths and skills in a way that produces results and maximizes impact?  What are some areas for improvement for me to work on?  How should I elicit constructive feedback from my supervisor and peers? How can I best align my work responsibilities with my own work values and goals in this environment?

Network. I realize that we’ve already inundated you with encouragement to network, network, network, but the benefits of networking are not limited to searching for that first job. Building bridges to others on the job, through professional associations and by way of alumni networks can pave the way to progress at your current employer as well as future career opportunities.  While you’re at it, don’t forget that networking should be reciprocal, so look for ways to give good information, advice and leads to those who have helped you as well as current students who will follow in your footsteps.

Broaden your horizons. Once you have established a solid track record in performing your current job responsibilities, it’s time to develop in other areas that can expose you to new people and possibilities. Think about skill sets that you need to move forward in your career.  Is training available in those areas?  Perhaps you can participate in special projects or committees that involve staff from different functions or departments.  Remember that similar opportunities also exist outside of your job; professional associations and volunteer work are two potential contexts for your career development.

As you transition from your time at Penn, I hope that you’ll see your first (or next) job as an opportunity to continue your journey of lifelong learning.

You have a job. Now what?!

by Robert Gannone

Now that you have a job, you may be thinking of how to advance your career in the years to come. One of best opportunities to advance your career path is to connect with other people in your profession.  Joining a professional association is an ideal way to connect with professionals, who have shared interests. A professional association’s goal is to further a particular field and to enhance the careers and knowledge of individuals engaged in that profession.

As you have heard before, networking is one of the best ways to hear about new companies or open positions. More importantly, it’s simply a great way to expand your career horizons.  By being engaged in a professional association, you can meet with others in your field and share your ideas about your profession and its direction.  Some professional associations also offer certifications or licenses.  These can also help to advance your career because they are earned from a professional organization and given to a person who has been designated as qualified to perform a job or task.

There are many professional associations in industries as varied as healthcare, academia, public administration, and urban planning. Whatever your field or your area of interest, professional associations offer a way to keep in touch with policy developments and an opportunity to network with others who share your interests. They typically also offer annual expos and meetings. Professional associations can have a national, local, or state focus.  For example, associations ranging from local to national include such organizations as the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia, the Texas Music Teachers Association, and the National Black MBA Association.

To find a listing of professional associations in your career or field of interest, visit one of the following sites:




You can also search for professional licenses by industry by going to the following website: