Take Some Time This Summer for Self-Assessment Using SIGI3

Some students arrive at college already having a pretty clear idea of what career path they plan to pursue and the path winds up being fairly straight forward and linear. For the majority of students, however, that is not the case, and the path has many twists and turns. Students may take an amazing class and discover whole new career areas they had never even thought about. Others might land an internship thinking it would be a great fit, but discover that the day-to-day work just wasn’t quite as interesting as anticipated. Some students may simply find a particular path extremely hard to break into, so would like to widen the scope of careers they are considering to increase the number of possibilities available.

There are many reasons why people choose to assess their career options and the summer is an ideal time for self-assessment and exploring how your values, skills and interests relate to a variety of occupations. Luckily for Penn students, Career Services offers a great FREE tool to help you explore your options. SIGI3 (System of Integrated Guidance and Information) helps students create a career plan that’s right for them by integrating self-assessment with in-depth and updated career information that is easy to use and provides individuals with a realistic view of the best educational and career options for future success. SIGI3 helps each user examine key motivators and matches work-related values, interests, personality, and skills to educational and career pathways, and then helps individuals explore a range of options based on their personal choices.

Career Services has purchased a license for Penn students to use SIGI3 for free. Student can access it from the Digital Resources link on the Career Services home page. (Note you must use your PennKey to gain access.) Enjoy the exploration!

Happy New Year! Time for a New Look?

Welcome back! Hopefully all of you had a restful and enjoyable break. We invite you to stop by the Career Services office (Suite 20, McNeil) to check out the renovations that occurred over the break – with fresh paint, new carpet and updated furniture, we have a whole new look! (Admittedly a bit austere at the present moment as we work to get our wall decorations back up, but that is coming!)

Is it time for you to take a fresh look at various aspects of your career? As you all know, your resume and LinkedIn profile are always “works in progress”. If you haven’t done so in a while, pull out your resume and check to see if it needs updating or refreshing. Have your goals changed? Do you have new relevant classes you might like to add? Does your GPA need updating? How about new roles you have taken on in your extracurricular activities? Is it time to devote more space to your college activities and start deleting more of your experiences from high school? Do your categories still make sense? Maybe you have enough experience now that you could add a section tailored to your area of interest – for example a “Marketing Section” or a “Research Section.” Feel free to update your resume and then send it to a Career Services advisor or schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor to review it in person.

The new year is also a good time to think about how your career goals might have changed and to set some new ones. Is there a new industry or type of job that you’ve recently heard about that is intriguing? Perhaps set aside some time to conduct some online research about opportunities in the field and try to set up a few informational interviews with alumni to learn more about it. Maybe you’ve determined that you need to develop a certain skill set – whether it be technical like learning a new programming language or a soft skill, such as improving your public speaking abilities. Think about how you might find opportunities to further strengthen those areas. (For a structured way to think about competencies that are valued by employers, check out our Penn7 Career Competencies that will walk you through skills that will be helpful to you in your career regardless of academic discipline.)

The New Year is a natural time for reflection about the past and pondering the future. Be sure to include some time to think about your career.

Looking Forward: The Spring Semester Job or Internship Search

As the fall semester winds down, we’ve had questions from many students about how the spring job or internship search may differ from the fall search. These questions come from students who may have spent the last four months actively seeking full-time or internship positions, as well as those who are just starting their search now.

Image result for job search

The good news is…. there are still plenty of opportunities out there! In fact, employers in many industries don’t event start actively recruiting students until much closer to when they can start work – the “just in time” job search. We’ve just finished up the analysis of outcomes for the Class of 2016, and almost half (46%) indicated that they accepted their full-time postgraduate positions in or after January 2016.

We certainly welcome interested employers to conduct on-campus interviews in the spring and we will absolutely have some activity in our recruiting suite. However, the number of employers will be much smaller than in the fall. Students should be aware that employers who will be conducting interviews on campus early in the spring semester are already collecting resumes, so be sure to check PennLink now and periodically over break so that you don’t miss any opportunities that might interest you.

We will also hold three major career fairs on campus in February for all students served by Career Services. (You can find career fair details here, but in the meantime hold these dates!)

  • Creative and Common Good Fair: Wednesday, February 8
  • Start-up Fair: Thursday, February 9th
  • Spring Job and Internship Fair: Friday, February 10th

In addition to our on-campus fairs, Penn participates in a number of consortium career fairs off-campus including:

  • Philadelphia Not-For-Profit and Public Service Career Fair: Friday, February 24 @ Bryn Mawr College
  • All Ivy Environmental Career Fair: Friday, March 3 @ Columbia University
  • Philadelphia Non-Profit and Government Career Fair: Thursday, March 23 @ Villanova University

These will also be an two additional career fairs focused on graduate students: Ph.D. & Master’s Virtual Career Fair on March 2 and the PennDesign Career Connection Day on  February 17.

Between on-campus recruiting, employer information sessions, and the career fairs, we will host hundreds of employers physically on Penn’s campus this spring. However, many more employers are likely to simply post jobs or internships on PennLink (or their own website) and then follow-up directly with applicants of interest to them while never setting foot on Penn’s campus. Particularly for the “just in time” search, it is important that students be proactive by researching employers that might interest them, networking to learn more about opportunities (both advertised and unadvertised), and then monitoring the career sites of employers of interest to make sure not to miss posted opportunities, as they may be open for much shorter lengths (and on a completely unpredictable timetable) than what students experienced in the fall.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2017!

Permission to Take a Break

Barbara Hewitt, Senior Associate Director

Keyboard with Coffee Break button, work concept
Keyboard with Coffee Break button, work concept

Let’s face it – it’s been a really busy fall for just about everybody, but especially those of you who have been doing what sometimes can seem like the Herculean task of being both a Penn student and also looking for a post-graduate or internship position. (And that’s not even mentioning the hours that most of you devote to clubs, activities, work study jobs, sports and many other endeavors!) We just finished a Career Services staff meeting and the career advisors uniformly felt that this has been one of the busiest semesters we can remember. With the move of on-campus internship recruiting to the fall, we not only met (and coordinated interviews for!) hundreds of seniors pursuing post graduate options, but also many juniors and sophomores seeking internships. There certainly hasn’t been much down time for either staff or students this fall.

We’ve heard from many students who have happily finalized their plans and have been able to step back from their job and internship searches to now focus on the many other things on their “to do” lists, but we’ve also been hearing from students feeling high levels of stress and fatigue at this point in the semester. It can be demoralizing to devote extensive energy and effort to attending employer events, writing cover letters, and donning suits for interviews, just to feel that it was all for naught if you haven’t yet landed an opportunity about which you are excited.

As I watched the Presidential election results come in late Tuesday night, I experienced what felt like a similar sense of stress. We’ve all been “living” the campaign on a daily basis for more than a year and many people had strong feelings about who they hoped would win. While some were elated with the outcome, many others came away with a sense of devastation. In both the election and our job searches, no matter how hard we work, we can’t guarantee the outcome, which can lead to even higher levels of stress, as “working harder” cannot always guarantee the desired outcome. A sense of uncertainty was certainly heightened for many people this week.

If you are experiencing this stress, either due to career related activities, the election, or some other circumstance, we in Career Services urge you to take the time to care for yourself. With the end of the semester almost upon us, give yourself permission to step away and take a break from job search activities for a few weeks, focus on your academics, and renew your energy and spirit. Use the Thanksgiving and semester breaks to reinvigorate yourself, and start 2017 with a new sense of optimism and energy to begin a new chapter.

And, of course, when you are ready to begin again, come see us. We are here to support you in exploring and achieving your career goals.