Applying for jobs can sometimes feel like a full-time job of its own. It takes a lot of time to build your professional network, search for open positions, and craft unique applications. However, these steps are critical for finding a job that matches your goals and interests. This page will review each step in the job application process and how the College of the Liberal Arts can assist in your job search.
Finding Open Positions
Nittany Lion Careers is the best place to start your job search as a Penn State student. New positions are posted daily, and you can set up notifications based on your career interests. Any employer posting on Nittany Lion Careers is specifically interested in hiring Penn State students, and it’s a great way to leverage the power of Penn State’s alumni network.
Speaking of networks, professional networking can also be an effective strategy for finding a job. Start by reaching out to contacts you’ve made through internships and student activities, and ask them about any open positions in their companies or contacts they can introduce you to in your desired field. You can also reach out to family, friends, and anyone you can think of who might be able to help you find your ideal job.
The Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program is another great resource for building your professional network. When it comes to networking, there’s no such thing as casting too wide of a net!
Turning an Internship into a Job
Companies often try to select interns with the goal of eventually hiring them as full-time employees because they have a preview of your performance on the job. An internship also gives you an opportunity to become familiar with the type of work you would do and the company or work group culture.
If you think that your internship site is somewhere you’d like to work full-time, keep in touch with your supervisor after the internship ends, and let them know when you plan to graduate. If you apply for a position, use your cover letter to explain how your internship experience can translate into the job you’re applying for.
Cover Letters and Résumés
Your cover letter and résumé are opportunities for you to tell your story to the organization that you’d like to join. No two companies are the same, and no two cover letters or résumés should be the same either.
A cover letter allows you to show your enthusiasm for the position and highlight some qualities that may not be clear from your résumé. Show your individuality, and make a good first impression on the recruiters who are looking through dozens, if not hundreds, of applications for any given position.
Your résumé should succinctly explain your work history, extracurricular activities, and any other experience that’s relevant to the position. Utilize bullet points to summarize your experience, and keep the whole thing to two pages at most.
The résumé samples below were developed for Penn State Liberal Arts undergraduates by career coaches in the Career Enrichment Network. We encourage you to model your résumé after the samples below, and if you have any questions, schedule a meeting with a career coach.
This résumé sample is applicable to all Liberal Arts students. Please note, Pre-Law Advising recommends that you utilize the general résumé format for law school applications.
This résumé sample is for students who participated in a global experience.
This résumé sample is for students who participated in an internship.
This résumé sample is for students who completed a research experience.
This résumé sample is for students applying to graduate school.
Liberal Arts students applying to internships or full-time positions in the federal government can reference this example and tips created by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Make sure to also reference the federal résumé checklist from USAJobs.gov.