Penn State junior found what she was looking for at fall career days
Fair helps students find internship opportunities
April 21, 2017
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Before she attended Fall Career Days’ internship/co-op recruiting day, Penn State student Audrey Mack had never had a job interview in her life.
The next day she had five in-person interviews, starting at 8 a.m. at the Bank of America Career Services Center and the HUB-Robeson Center. Through the connections she made during Fall Career Days, Mack would land both a spring co-op and a summer internship.
Mack is a junior studying chemical engineering at Penn State University Park. She is currently doing a research and development co-op at Johnson & Johnson Consumer in Skillman, New Jersey. After this spring, she will move to Providence, Rhode Island, and begin a summer manufacturing operations internship with PepsiCo.
While the career fair experience has developed her professional confidence, Mack admits it took a lot of time and practice. She started preparing for the career fair by having her resume reviewed at Career Services’ drop-in counseling hours. The review process helped her polish her résumé.
“I was using different bullet points for different sections of my résumé,” Mack said. “I had looked at my résumé so many times, I was overlooking obvious things.”
After her drop-in counseling session, she began looking up the companies that were recruiting in her field. “I told myself that I needed to have a reason as to why I wanted to work at each company,” she said.
Nerves hit hard leading up to the fair.
“All I knew was that I was supposed to have an elevator pitch,” she said. “I didn’t have experience with networking at all.”
To help herself prepare, she attended an engineering networking reception the night before. By focusing her nervous energy on a constructive activity, she felt more confident going into the fair.
“The conversations I had with recruiters at the career fair focused mostly on what would make me the best candidate for the job,” Mack said. “The recruiters were really interested in hearing more about my research experience.”
After scheduling five interviews for the following day, Mack had to shift gears on Wednesday night from career-fair preparation to interview preparation. This crash course taught her some valuable lessons.
“The best way to prepare for an interview is to prepare for behavioral questions,” she said. “Interviewers asked me questions like ‘Tell me about a time you had to solve a complex problem and had to ask others for help?’ and I had to think on my feet.”
Mack’s preparation for Fall Career Days was crucial in landing herself not one but two great professional experiences.
As students begin planning for the summer, many find themselves looking for internships or full-time positions. Career Services, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, offers programs and counseling services to assist students in this search. More information about upcoming programs and events can be found online at studentaffairs.psu.edu/career.