Making the Most of Career Services and Timing Your Search!

Welcome to the start of a new academic year!  The Career Services team looks forward to accompanying both new and returning students on their career journeys.  Depending on your particular path, your timeline might look quite different from your peers. That’s okay! We encourage you to make your path your own and we have a large variety of resources to assist you.  If you’re not quite sure what career field(s) might be right for you, there is no time like the present to start exploring.  Take a look at the 25 industry communities on our website providing tailored resources on different career fields or explore one of our 11 affinity communities for individuals with different identities such as FGLI or LGBTQ+.  Talking to others actually working in your field(s) of interest is also a great way to learn more. Learn how to connect with Penn alums on our “Learn How to Network and Make Connections” page.  The free, interactive CareerExplorer assessment is also a fun way to help you find your ideal career.

There are many opportunities to meet employers interested in hiring Penn students for internship and post-graduate positions over the next few weeks.  Employer information sessions (in-person and virtual) have started – find out more about them on the Career Services Events feed or the Events tab in Handshake.  Our upcoming career fairs begin with CareerLink (virtual on Thursday, September 8 and in-person on Friday, September 9th).  Engineering Career Days will take place on September 15th (virtual) and 16th (in person). Later in the semester you can attend the Biosciences Fair, the Nonprofit and Government Fair, and Nursing Career Day.

The timing of your search may vary tremendously depending on the kinds of opportunities you are seeking.  Industries hiring many entry-level graduates (such as finance, consulting and technology) often hire very early as they can predict their hiring needs a year or more in advance. Employers in fields like entertainment, communications, and nonprofits will hire much closer to when they actually need someone to start and you can expect to see more of those opportunities in the spring.  Sometimes students interested in these “later hiring” fields can feel like they are missing out in the fall.  Realize that hiring timelines are outside of your control, and while you can network and research industries now, most of your actual applications with be submitted later. Take a look at our Post-Graduate  or Summer  outcomes pages (particularly the industry reports) to gain clarity on the right timeline for you.  Regardless of industry, we find that first year and sophomore students often land internships later than juniors as they frequently intern for smaller organizations with less structured programs.

Students interested in talking with a Career Services Advisor about any career-oriented topics (including graduate and professional school applications) can make an appointment through Handshake.  The beginning of the year is very busy and appointments fill up quickly, so if you can’t find a time available immediately please check back next week.  Also, to ensure that you receive the information matching your interests, take a moment to fill out your career interests in Handshake and your content preferences on the Career Services website.

This article was written a part of our on going collaboration with The Daily Pennsylvanian. See a full list of their articles and subscribe to their Recruiter’s Row newsletter here.

By Barbara Hewitt
Barbara Hewitt Executive Director