Five Job & Internship Search Tips For Winter Break – REVISITED

by Kelly Cleary

This is an update to a blog I posted a couple of years ago. While some of the links have changed, the career exploration and job/internship process really haven’t, and neither has the fact that this is a great time to rest and recharge, reflect on what’s important to you, think about what you hope to accomplish in the upcoming year, and enjoy good times with family and friends. — And I just realized that the sentiment (and resources) mentioned in this post are pretty similar to Kathleen’s from earlier today, so you get double the winter break advice!

Once the semester stress is behind you and you’ve had some time to rest up and celebrate, I imagine many seniors will start to focus on your post-grad plans, and based on the number of juniors and sophomores who’ve been coming to Career Services in the past few weeks, we know underclassmen are thinking about summer internships. Below are a few tips and resources to help you get started in the internship or job search process.

FIVE JOB & INTERNSHIP SEARCH TIPS FOR WINTER BREAK – REVISITED

1. EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS: Spend some time exploring career possibilities by looking at some of the websites below. This can be an overwhelming project but it’s an important first step.

2. RESEARCH EMPLOYERS & FIND OPPORTUNITIES: Once you’ve narrowed down your preferences for types of work, industries of interest, and where you hope to live, it’s time to start developing your wish list of prospective employers and build your list of favorite internship and job search websites. Most seniors won’t actually be applying to jobs until later in the spring, but underclassmen will soon be applying to internship with January and February deadlines.

  • Vault & Wetfeet Guides – Yes, these two companies make great books to help students land i-banking and consulting jobs, but they also publish career and company guides for other industries like entertainment, fashion, retail, green, government, healthcare, pharma, marketing, PR, and many others. You can download the career guide books for free from our Online Subscriptions page (Pennkey required).
  • PennLink – This is where employers who specifically want to hire Penn students post jobs. Under the “Advanced Search” tab, you can set up a Search Agent to schedule weekly emails of new jobs that match your interests so you don’ t have to log into PennLink every day.
  • iNetiNet Internship Network, is an internship consortium created and shared by 11 universities throughout the country. It includes internships in a variety of industries and geographic locations.
  • Career Resources by Field – From Anthropology and Arts to Sciences and Sports, you’ll find job search websites and transcripts from alumni speakers.
  • Online Subscriptions (Pennkey required)– this page includes log in and password information for over 25 job search websites including Art Search, Ecojobs, JournalistJobs, Policy Jobs and many others.
  • GoinGlobal (Pennkey required)From GoinGlobal you can access international country and U.S. city guides that include lists of job search websites and links to local chambers of commerce which all have extensive employer directories for their regions.

3. TALK TO PEOPLE WHO DO WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO: Yes, I’m talking about networking. Outside of trying out a job through volunteering, interning or actually getting the job, talking with people who do or have done the job is one of the best ways to figure out if a career is right for you and to gather advice for landing a job in a particular field or within a specific company.

  • PACNet – Penn’s alumni career networking database is an easy way to connect with Penn alumni who have volunteered to be career mentors. They are a great resource for information and advice.
  • The Penn Internship Network (PIN)- The Penn Internship Network is a listing of Penn students who have volunteered to speak with others about their summer internships.
  • LinkedIn– Linked In, which is basically a professional version of Facebook is one of my favorite job search tools. If you don’t already have an account with an up to date profile, you should. Here are a couple of tips for making the most of LinkedIn for  your job search:
    • PEOPLE Search – If you don’t find what you’re looking for in PACNet, you can search for alums (or even people with whom you don’t have a common affiliation) who work in the fields and/or organizations that interest you. You can view their profiles to see sample career paths and you can send direct messages to ask for advice. While this is more like cold calling, if it’s done respectfully and professionally, it can be worthwhile.
    • GROUPS – There are thousands of groups (i.e. alumni, specific industries, etc.) in LinkedIn where people share job postings and other career-related information, and they also serve as a forum for asking questions and gathering answers from more experienced professionals. Joining the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Group is a great first step.
    • Want to learn more about LinkedIn? Check the LinkedIn Guide for Recent Graduates. Tutorial from LinkedIn.com.
  • Visit our Networking & Mentoring page for more tips on networking including an article on Informational Interviews.

4. UPDATE YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER DRAFTS:

  • Check our Online Resume & Cover Letter Guide for tips, samples, and instructions for requesting a critique from Career Services.
  • Even if you aren’t applying to internships or jobs just yet, it’s helpful to write a resume and cover letter draft based on a specific position opening so you can be sure the application is tailored to the specific position and company.

5. RELAX AND ENJOY YOUR TIME AWAY FROM SCHOOL!

  • You’ll likely be busy this spring so sleep in, eat well, and enjoy good times with your loved ones.

I hope you all have a safe and fun break. We look forward to seeing you in 2012!

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Winter Break “To Do” List

by Kathleen Rause

Today I pulled myself out of the pile of rubble around me that consisted of library books, empty coffee cups, journal articles and draft after draft of term papers to the realization that winter break is almost here! I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am now busy making a list and checking it twice of all the things I want to do with my time off from work and school. Some of the highlights include sleep, eat, watch television, and sleep (I’m sure I could think of more interesting activities if I tried, but at this moment those sound pretty good to me!). But even though it is called “break” for a reason, I do have to add one important piece of business to my list: career planning.


So I have made a more serious list of career planning activities, and I thought I would share it with you. Other graduate students or undergraduates—either preparing for the job market or an internship search—may want to consider adding some of these to their own lists for winter break.
1. Dust off the resume.  I need to create an updated version and share it with trusted friends, family and mentors for their feedback. Remember, if you show a resume to four different people you will get four different opinions – but it is great to get those different perspectives. Of course I will be asking for critiques from my colleagues at the Career Services office! You can do the same by emailing your resume in or making an appointment.
2. Research places for employment.  For me this means researching potential higher education institutions I may want to work for next year. I will also look at open positions to get an idea of what is out there and what qualifications they are looking for. Whether your aim is a job or internship, it is important to know about the places you wish to work and the positions available – so do your research!
3. Set up informational interviews. Informational interviewing has been one of the most helpful tools I have used in my career. Consider arranging informational interviews over break or for when you are back in school to explore career fields, companies, industries and network with professionals. Check out this section of our website for more information.
4. Polish my “online profile”.  This includes double-checking my Facebook profile to make sure it passes the grandmother test (if you don’t want your grandmother to see it, it probably shouldn’t be on your profile!), updating my LinkedIn profile and looking at Twitter as a professional networking tool.
5. Look for networking opportunities. I am going to identify other events that may be good opportunities to network in my field (higher education). One event is the NASPA annual conference. For any profession there is usually a student and/or professional group that has networking events, so look in to the ones that would pertain to your own career goals.
Whatever you end up doing on your winter break, safe travels and happy holidays to all!

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After the Exhale: Making the Most of Your Winter Break

By Sharon Fleshman

Winter break is drawing near.  Hold on… you’re almost there! In a couple of weeks, if not sooner, you’ll have handed in that last paper or exam and the busyness of the fall semester will be over.  And then you will have a moment to sit and simply breathe.  Inhale. Exhale.

Though I offer suggestions on how you can use some of your downtime for career planning, I hope that one of your priorities is to get some rest. Therefore, the following tips should be seen as less like a “checklist” to complete and more like a “menu”, where you choose what is most useful for you to accomplish during your time off.

Reflect: 
Think about your experiences at Penn so far. What have been some of your most energizing projects? Such projects may have taken place in the context of an internship, student club or a class.  Write a quick summary of each project, what you accomplished, and what you enjoyed. Are there any common elements that you see from these projects that point to skills, values, and strengths?   Reflecting on these matters is not only helpful for improving your resumes, cover letters and interviews, but will also allow you to identify careers that may suit you going forward. Career Services has self-assessment resources that can help facilitate this process.

Research:
Winter break is a great time to research careers, industries, employers and job/internship opportunities.  Make sure to peruse the Career Services website for online resources. You may decide to begin with resources on web pages which are more specific to your school or career interest. We also have general Career Exploration resources available. Online versions of newspapers, trade publications and other periodicals are other good sources for industry research. Websites for professional associations and chambers of commerce can also provide helpful career, industry and employer information.

Reach out:
Don’t forget that you already have quite a network which includes family, friends, alumni, current supervisors, and professors.  Don’t be hesitant about reaching out to your network for insight and consider how you can help others in your network as well.  Helpful resources for this include the Penn Alumni Career Network, LinkedIn and professional associations related to your field of interest.

In addition to networking and information interviewing, you can make connections with others while getting direct exposure to a career.  For instance, volunteering is an excellent way to accomplish this with hands-on involvement. Perhaps you can assist someone in a field of interest in a short-term project. Another means of exposure is shadowing, which allows you to accompany someone in a career of interest during the course of a work day.

Regroup:
As you assess your career goals and progress you’ve made so far, you may decide that you need to make some adjustments. To do this, consider an approach with “flexible focus” by determining what is most important concerning your career plans and where you can be more flexible. For instance, you may be committed to a particular industry but may decide to expand your geographical options. Invite family, friends, and mentors to strategize with you.

Once you have revisited your goals, it is time to document your plan of action with concrete, timely and measurable steps. Such a goal could sound something like, “I will conduct informational interviews with at least two people each month after break.”

Finally, the most important tip of all: RELAX!

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Seniors: Five Job Search Tips for Winter Break

by Kelly Cleary

Once the semester stress is behind you and you’ve had some time to rest up and celebrate, I imagine many seniors will start to focus on your post-grad plans. Even through, for many industries, the application timeline won’t begin until later in the spring semester, there are some things you can do now to better position yourself when you do start applying for jobs. Below are a few tips and resources to help you get started.

winter

FIVE JOB SEARCH TIPS FOR WINTER BREAK

1. EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS: Spend some time exploring career possibilities by looking at some of the websites below. This can be an overwhelming project but it’s an important first step.

  • First Jobs and Graduate Schools for Penn Grads, listed by major-  these are long lists of what Penn students have done with their major in past years.
  • Career Plans Surveys for the Class of 2009 and earlier years – you might be surprised by the wide variety of paths your predecessors have chosen. And hopefully you’ll be encouraged to see that while only about 30% of the College Class of 2009 had accepted job offers by the end of December, almost 75% of them had accepted job offers by the end of May.  (The 2009 report is preliminary. It will include more detailed employer information soon.)
  • What Can I Do with this Major?—These PDF’s provide a helpful overview of career paths related to specific majors including suggestions for types of employers and advice on preparing for those jobs.
  • Watch ourCareer Exploration video:

Career Exploration from Penn Career Services on Vimeo.

2. RESEARCH EMPLOYERS: Once you’ve narrowed down your preferences for types of work, industries of interest, and where you hope to live, it’s time to start developing your wish list of prospective employers and build your list of favorite job search websites.

  • Vault & Wetfeet Guides – Yes, these two companies make great books to help students land i-banking and consulting jobs, but they also publish career and company guides for other industries like entertainment, fashion, retail, green, healthcare, pharma, marketing, PR, and many others. You can download the career guide books for free from our Online Subscriptions page.
  • PennLink – This is where employers who specifically want to hire Penn students post jobs. Under the “Advanced Search” tab, you can set up a Search Agent to schedule weekly emails of new jobs that match your interests so you don’ t have to log into PennLink every day.
  • Career Resources by Field – From Anthropology and Arts to Sciences and Sports, you’ll find job search websites and transcripts from alumni speakers. There are similar websites for Wharton, Engineering, Nursing, and Graduate programs.
  • Online Subscriptions – this page includes log in and password information for over 25 job search websites including Art Search, Ecojobs, JournalistJobs, Policy Jobs and many others.
  • GoinGlobalFrom GoinGlobal you can access international country and U.S. city guides that include lists of job search websites and links to local chambers of commerce which all have extensive employer directories for their regions.

3. TALK TO PEOPLE WHO DO WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO: Yes, I’m talking about networking. Outside of trying out a job through volunteering, interning or actually getting the job, talking with people who do or have done the job is one of the best ways to figure out if a career is right for you and to gather advice for landing a job in a particular field or within a specific company.

  • PACNet – Penn’s alumni career networking database is an easy way to connect with Penn alumni who have volunteered to be career mentors. They are a great resource for information and advice.
  • LinkedIn – Linked In, which is basically a professional version of Facebook is one of my favorite job search tools. If you don’t already have an account with an up to date profile, you should. Here are a couple of tips for making the most of LinkedIn for  your job search:
    • PEOPLE Search –  If you don’t find what you’re looking for in PACNet, you can search for alums (or even people with whom you don’t have a common affiliation) who work in the fields and/or organizations that interest you. You can view their profiles to see sample career paths and you can send direct messages to ask for advice. While this is more like cold calling, if it’s done respectfully and professionally, it can be worthwhile.
    • GROUPS – There are thousands of groups (i.e. alumni, specific industries, etc.) in LinkedIn where people share job postings and other career-related information, and they also serve as a forum for asking questions and gathering answers from more experienced professionals. Joining the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Group is a great first step.
    • Want to learn more about LinkedIn? Check the LinkedIn Guide for Recent Graduates. Tutorial from LinkedIn.com.
  • Watch our Networking Tips video.

4. UPDATE YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER DRAFTS:

5. RELAX AND ENJOY:

  • Unless you’re heading straight to graduate school, it’s likely that it will be a while before you have such a long mid-winter break again, so  sleep in, eat well, and enjoy good times with your loved ones.

fireplace

Good luck with your remaining finals and papers. I hope you all have a safe and fun break. We look forward to seeing you in 2010!

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