Career Services available to help graduating seniors plan for the future

Elizabeth Winter
April 05, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As the spring semester winds down, seniors are beginning to face the question of what they want their future to look like. No matter what stage a student is at in the career-planning process, Career Services is available to help plan for the future.

Career Services is the place for students and alumni to find the career development support they need through services such as mock interviews, workshops, career programs, on-campus interviews, and career counseling.

Matthew Ishler is the associate director of Career Counseling and feels that it is a gift to meet students in this important transitional time of their lives, while being able to give them the tools to bridge their time at Penn State to the professional world.

Ishler said the services offered to students help to build a picture of how they can use their foundation from Penn State to achieve success in life.  

Ishler wants students to know that even if they do not know exactly what they want to do in life or if they have found interest in a new field outside of their degree, Career Services is there to help. 

“We’re helping students build bridges to new careers,” Ishler said.

Direct career counseling is the best service for graduating seniors, according to Ishler, as it is personalized to each student’s needs and goals. Students can talk with a career counselor and identify their goals, what it will take to reach those goals, a blueprint on how to achieve them, and what their ideal end result would look like.  

For quick questions, a drop-in appointment may be the best option for certain student’s needs. Students can schedule a drop-in appointment using Nittany Lion Careers or visit the Career Services Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Resources such as information on career fairs, resume and cover letter writing examples, and how to build a LinkedIn profile are all available at any time for students to access on the Career Services website.

Spring Career Days

Kris Torisky, a junior at Penn State majoring in mechanical engineering, left, met with Desmond Okpei, a recruiter from Hilti North America, during Penn State's annual Spring Career Days at the Bryce Jordan Center.

IMAGE: Patrick Mansell

For many seniors, career fairs and interviews bring on extra stress through the financial burden of business appropriate attire. Recognizing that, Career Services offers a professional attire closet that students can visit by scheduling an appointment and choose an outfit free of charge.

Seniors also should be thinking about how they are going to prepare for the interview process. Career Services offers students a mock-interview service, where a counselor will present themselves as a potential employer. After conducting the recorded interview, the student and counselor will watch the video and see what the positive and negative aspects were.

Ishler said that there are still things that students can check off their list in their final days at Penn State, such as attending networking events, career fairs and employer information sessions.

Aside from the support given through Career Services, Ishler also urges students to speak to staff in their college, as opportunities specific to their career choice or major may be available.

This also is a time for reflection, Ishler said. Students should be looking back and thinking about how they made the most of their time at Penn State through their academics and co-curricular involvement.

Ishler wants seniors to know that it is important to take their Penn State experiences and tell a story of how they can contribute to the needs and goals of an employer. For example, a student who volunteered for THON could use that experience to show an employer skills such as organization or time management.

“One of the reasons employers are very interested in Penn State students is because of the rich diversity of the academic and the co-curricular experiences here,” Ishler said.

Another tip for seniors is to use the Nittany Lion Careers website, which includes job offerings received from employers who are seeking to recruit Penn State students specifically.

A Penn State education has value and it is important for students to know that, Ishler said. But he also wants seniors to keep in mind that the job search process takes time and involves effort and relationship-building.

“We value the chance to be creative in our exploration, we value the chance to help students organize this internship and job search process, and we appreciate that students’ goals and career goals change,” Ishler said.

Last Updated April 05, 2019