Job Search During tough times * including internships

Career Services is here to help students and alumni during this extremely challenging time, especially as it relates to the job and internship search. We are committed to supporting and empowering our diverse population of students & alumni in their pursuit of a rich and rewarding career.

The Dreaded Search Workshop Spring 2021

Oh no!

Avoid these Mistakes:

  • Don't spend most of your energy searching public job boards (only 4-10% success rate).
  • Don't submit the same resume and cover letter to every employer. Tweak it, customize!
  • Don't go it alone. Career Services is here to help as part of your network of support.

You can do this!

Top 10 Tips

for Your Search during Tough Times

  1. Know Yourself! What are some job titles that you should be exploring? Learn what you can do with your major. Visit the O*Net for details about occupations. Complete career assessments to discover careers that fit your interests, skills and personality. PSU has a license to MyPlan. Contact your Career office for the access code. BW students can email bw-careers@psu.edu to request the MyPlan code.
  2. Read job postings to see what skills, qualities and credentials are needed. Download postings of interest since they will likely expire.
  3. Seek out advice from others, learn what employers and alumni advise, find a mentor, ask others what they see as your strengths/weaknesses, practice an interview session with a friend or Career Services, conduct an Occupation "Informational Interview" with someone in the field, ask your Higher Power for direction.
  4. Pursue new, relevant skills and certifications. Current students have free access to LinkedIn Learning for access to hundreds of videos and courses, some leading to a certificate that you can easily showcase in your LinkedIn profile. Access the curated video collection to help you get started.
  5. Customize your cover letter and resume every time you apply, based on the posting/position. Your "Profile" section at the top of your resume should specify the position and speak to the employers' needs. Use keywords from the posting throughout your documents.
  6. LinkedIn is your new resume and so much more - learn LinkedIn basics, update your profile, turn on the job seeker switch so recruiters can find you, "Ask for a Recommendation", follow organizations, connect with: recruiters, hiring managers, alumni, professionals in your desired field, friends, family, faculty, staff, Career Services.
  7. Build your network - research shows that your newest contacts are your hottest leads. Dare to connect with alumni via LinkedIn Alumni and LionLink. Connect with recruiters & professionals in the industry. This and the next tip are so much more effective than using public job boards.
  8. Target organizations - create an account on their job application system and set up job alerts. To identify potential employers, use google maps - enter a zip code, click "nearby" and type an occupation/keyword. Voilà!
  9. Take breaks as needed. Take good care of your mental, physical and spiritual health. It's important to treat yourself well and replace negative thoughts with positive ones focusing on your strengths. Rejuvenate, get some fresh air, and then get back into the search.
  10. Create an action plan from these 10 tips. Create an overall plan with the big goal(s) in mind and a more detailed daily plan. Dare to step out of your comfort zone! Introverts, go ahead and connect with alumni. Extroverts, spend quality down time planning and organizing.

Access an Action Plan Worksheet

(based on the Top 10 tips shown above)

Anyone with a PSU access ID can access it here:

Call your Career Services office for help with your plan. Brandywine students and alumni can call 610-892-1390 for an appointment with a Career Coach.

Best Search Methods

Network & Target

Be sure not to expend all your time and energy on the big job boards, also known as the OPEN job market where you'll have much more competition. Instead, work the HIDDEN job market. You'll have much more success!

  • EXPAND YOUR NETWORK of contacts to obtain insider information and request introductions to hiring managers (#7 in the top 10 tips).
  • TARGET SPECIFIC EMPLOYERS and search their website for job listings or simply reach out to HR via LinkedIn and more (#8 in the top 10 tips).

You'll have much more success using the 2 methods above. You can still use online job boards but don't use these exclusively (only 4-10% success rate).

Connect with Alumni

Dare to connect with Penn State alumni. Tap into the power of Penn State which has the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world! Research shows that your newer network contacts are your hottest leads for new opportunities. Step away from the job boards and connect!

  • LionLink - Discover alumni by employer, major and more
  • LinkedIn Alumni - Connect with other Penn Staters by region, employer, major and more

Job Boards

The Penn State Platform for Jobs and Internship Postings plus all career-related events across all Penn State campuses and colleges

Additional Job Boards

caution: 4-10% success rate for getting hired!

Additional Resources

The PSU Brandywine Career Services Team

  • Christine Allen - Coordinator of Career Services / Career Counselor
  • Jane Barry DePaul - Events & Employer Engagement Coordinator
  • Georgina Waller - Administrative Assistant
  • Erin Hoban - Student Marketing Assistant

Make an appointment

Current students can login to NLC and click on Counseling for an appointment. Alumni must call to schedule.


Stay in the know!