A Sophomore's Guide to Junior Summer Recruiting

Most of you have probably just secured your internship for this summer (at least I know I have). It was a difficult process, to say the least, but I thought I finally had a chance to relax and put away my resume. However, just like all things Penn, recruiting is fast-paced and competitive. It’s actually so fast-paced that, as a current sophomore, junior summer recruiting has already started. Yes, now, before we’ve even finished sophomore year or sophomore summer. This is pretty overwhelming, especially since junior summer internships ultimately lead to full-time job offers. How are we supposed to decide, right now at the end of our sophomore year, what we want to do when we finish school? This is no small task, but there are ways to organize and manage recruiting to make this this an exciting process rather than a nerve-racking one. Here is my guide to not only surviving, but also thriving, during junior summer recruitment.

  1. 1. Start to think about possible career paths you are interested in.

    Start to think about possible career paths you are interested in. Make lists of jobs you could see yourself doing or of people whose careers inspire you. Once you have figured out a few career possibilities, check LinkedIn or Quakernet and find fellow Penn alumni who have positions you would consider in the future! Email or set up a call with them and try to learn more about the company they work at, their position, how they got there, and any advice they have. It can be a little scary to reach out to people in prominent positions who don’t know you, but Quakers love helping Quakers. These valuable conversations can lead to great advice, future relationships, and possibly even some job offers!

  2. 2. Check out Handshake.

    Handshake is a great website that Penn Career Services and job recruiters use to inform students about information sessions, coffee chats, networking events, and applications! Once you have an account, check out all the events Penn has coming up and put the ones you find interesting in your calendar. Make sure to register for them on the app as well so that recruiting directors see you took the time to learn more about their company. Stay updated on the website so you are notified when job applications for next summer open — many are starting to open right now!

  3. 3. Make an account on AngelList.

    AngelList is a great website to apply for internships at small startup companies. Typically, you just need to submit a resume and before you know it, you could be having tons of interviews and offers! However, beware that small startups don’t usually lead to full-time job offers (and they rarely pay). Despite this, they are a great way to get experience in areas you are interested in, be involved in hands-on positions, and beef up your resume! Plus, who knows...maybe the startup you work at could be the next Facebook or Buzzfeed?

  4. 4. Update your resume!

    Yes, we all have that resume we used when applying to college, filled with tons of high-school extracurriculars and charity organizations. But amazing as that all is, companies want to see what you are doing now and what you have recently accomplished. Make sure to stay active with your resume. Describe exactly what you have done at whatever past internship or club position and be specific! And most importantly, don’t lie! Companies use your resume to organize your personal interviews. That means they will ask you specific questions about what you did and will expect you to be able to explain everything in great detail. If you’re not really sure or seem to be making up what you are saying, then that is a big red flag for these future employers. Also, as a side note, make sure to write down your genuine interests; these can be great ways to make personal connections with recruiters and interviewers!

  5. 5. Network!

    This might be the most important tip of all. Make sure you are signing up and going to as many information sessions and networking events as you possibly can. Take good notes when you are there (you can use these notes for help with future cover letters or questions to ask at interviews!). And make sure to talk to some people at the event! Try to have a few questions prepared and research the company before you actually visit the event. Have meaningful conversations with the people you speak to, try to learn as much from them as you can, and politely ask for their emails at the end of the conversation. When you leave the event, send them a follow-up thank you email and try to schedule a call with them. These are the people who will advocate for you when the application decision process is happening, so making genuine relationships is crucial. Also, these could be the people you will be working with in the future! I can’t stress this enough, and I’m sure you’ve already heard this before, but networking is the most helpful and useful tool in internship and job recruiting! Make sure to take advantage of the Quaker name and network!

  6. 6. APPLY!

    Last but certainly not least, a guide to recruiting couldn’t be complete without this last tip: APPLY! Yes, as silly as this sounds, make sure to actually apply to the companies you are interested in. Be constantly checking their websites and Handshake to see when applications open and, more importantly, when they close. As crazy as this is, some places are already starting to have approaching deadlines. Make sure to put these dates in your calendar so you don’t miss the application window. Also, beware of rolling applications; if that is the case for a certain company, make sure to get in your application early on to increase your chances of getting a call back and possibly an interview! Many companies provide early diversity recruiting for women as well; this is a really helpful way to get an advantage in the recruiting process!

Recruiting can be a stressful and scary process, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Follow these tips, stay calm, and be confident. Who knows, before you know it, you might just be bragging about your awesome junior summer internship to all your friends!