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Career Solutions Manual

A Student Guide to
Internship and
Full-Time Placement
How to Use this Manual
This manual has been prepared as your guide to the IST Office of Career Solutions: providing
you with an in-depth view of the processes for internship placements. In addition, the manual
can help you complete the full-time placement process. We encourage you to refer to this
manual to answer your questions.

Please be aware that some portions of the material contained in this manual may be directed
more specifically to University Park students. Commonwealth College students should address
any procedural concerns to their campus’ IST Champions. A list of Commonwealth College
contacts is provided in the Appendix section of this manual. If questions persist, please do not
hesitate to call or email the IST Career Service offices.

Our Staff and Contact Information:

IST Office of Career Solutions Phone: 814-865-4509


The Pennsylvania State University Fax: 814-865-7882
102 Information Sciences and Technology Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802-6822

Website: http://ist.psu.edu/currentstudents/studentservices/

Madhavi Kari Penny Smith


Placement Coordinator Corporate Relations Specialist
mkari@ist.psu.edu psmith@ist.psu.edu

Genevieve Spering
Career Solutions Assistant
gspering@ist.psu.edu

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Connect with the Real World
Dear Students,

Welcome to the Penn State Information Sciences and Technology (IST) Career Solutions
Manual. Practical experience is essential to a fulfilling future. At IST, we help you accomplish
that goal through our IST Career Solutions office. With the assistance of dedicated people, you
have the opportunity to experience, firsthand, the environment of an IT profession.

Your professional experience begins with your internship (a requirement for IST/SRA students).
Nothing enhances your education and prepares you for a career like an internship. As a student
intern, you set your professional development in motion and take charge of your future.

All bachelor’s and associate’s degree students in IST/SRA must successfully complete an
internship prior to graduation (a minimum of 300 hours work experience for bachelor degree
students and 150 hours for associate degree students). Bachelor’s degree students may
participate in as many as three internships.

Don’t forget to come back to us as you begin your search for a full-time career, as well. Our
staff can help you decide on your perfect career and provide assistance with the tough choices
you’ll face in choosing a full-time position.

We look forward to supporting you during your IST instruction.

Sincerely,
Madhavi Kari, Placement Coordinator
IST Office of Career Solutions

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PART I: UNDERSTANDING THE IST INTERNSHIP PROGRAM....................................................................5
The IST Internship Program .....................................................................................................................................5
IST Internship Program Eligibility Requirements ....................................................................................................5
The IST Internship Advantage..................................................................................................................................5
Concerns about Completing an Internship................................................................................................................5
When to Complete an Internship ..............................................................................................................................5
Steps toward Participating in the Internship Program...............................................................................................6
International Student Participation............................................................................................................................7
Graduating Senior Participation................................................................................................................................7

PART II: PROFESSIONAL PLACEMENT SERVICES........................................................................................8


E.R.M.A....................................................................................................................................................................8
ISTechTRAK and Other Placement Resources ......................................................................................................11

PART III: INFORMATION FOR SUCCESS ........................................................................................................13


Job Searching Beyond IST Career Solutions ..........................................................................................................13
The Interview Process.............................................................................................................................................13
On-Campus Interviews ...........................................................................................................................................13
Phone Interviews.....................................................................................................................................................15
On-Site Interviews ..................................................................................................................................................16
Selecting and Accepting a Position.........................................................................................................................17
Participating in an Internship ..................................................................................................................................19
Tuition and Billing..................................................................................................................................................19
Internships and Financial Aid .................................................................................................................................20
Internship Housing Information..............................................................................................................................21
Starting Your Job ....................................................................................................................................................22
Advice to New Interns and Employees...................................................................................................................22
Sexual Harassment..................................................................................................................................................23
Fulfilling Internship Requirements and Receiving a Grade....................................................................................23
Returning from Your Internship Assignment .........................................................................................................24

PART IV: ISTechTRAK INFORMATION ............................................................................................................25


Uploading Your Resume.........................................................................................................................................25
Uploading Other Documents ..................................................................................................................................26
Returning User Login .............................................................................................................................................26
Job Searching with ISTechTRAK...........................................................................................................................26
Resume Drop ..........................................................................................................................................................27
Open Interviews......................................................................................................................................................28
Preselect Interviews ................................................................................................................................................28
To Remove Your Resume.......................................................................................................................................30
Search for Presentations..........................................................................................................................................30
Verify Personal Dates .............................................................................................................................................30

PART V: APPENDIX ...............................................................................................................................................31


Sample Follow-Up Letter (After Job Interview).....................................................................................................31
Sample Follow-Up Letter 2 (After Job Interview)..................................................................................................32
Sample Rejection Offer Letter ................................................................................................................................33
Sample Acceptance Offer Letter.............................................................................................................................34
Important Definitions..............................................................................................................................................35
The Career Assistance Team (C.A.T.)....................................................................................................................36
Sample Resume ......................................................................................................................................................45
Interview Tips and Suggestions ..............................................................................................................................46

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PART I: UNDERSTANDING THE IST INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
The IST Internship Program
The IST Internship Program is a mandatory academic program. Students may work up to three
semesters of career-related internships to compliment and enhance their IST/SRA education. A
minimum of one internship work experience (300 hours) is mandatory for baccalaureate degree
students. A minimum of 150 hours internship work experience is mandatory for associate
degree students. Academic credit is earned for all internships and all internships are graded
(affecting your GPA). IST Internship Program credits are applied toward academic degree
requirements in IST.

IST Internship Program Eligibility Requirements


All associate and baccalaureate degree students enrolled in IST/SRA at University Park or any
Penn State location are eligible.

The IST Internship Advantage


• Gain career-related experience.
• Enhance internship searching skills: resume writing, interviewing skills, and internship
searching processes.
• Establish professional development: networking, communication skills, time
management skills, etiquette, proper attire, and technical writing and presentation skills.
• Apply classroom studies to “real world problems.”
• Lay groundwork for a competitive salary and future career advancement.

Concerns about Completing an Internship


• Workplace expenses
• Transportation
• Housing
• Financial aid and/or scholarship issues

When to Complete an Internship


An internship can be completed at any time after your first year (Figs. 1.1 and 1.2). However, all
students are encouraged to complete up to three (3) internships. At University Park, students
must register for internship credit the same semester they start their internship. Students failing
to complete their registration will not receive credit for the internship. With exception to
documented emergency cases (i.e. death in the family, illness, etc.), The College of IST will no
longer be supporting retroactive adds or drops for this internship credit. For Commonwealth
College locations, check with your adviser for additional details.

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Fig. 1.1 Baccalaureate students at all locations
Fall/Spring Summer
Part-Time Full-Time Part-Time Full-Time
First Year *
Sophomore * * * *
Year
Junior year * * * *
Senior Year * * * *
Fifth Year * *
(if needed)

Figure 1.2 Associate degree students at all locations


Fall/Spring Summer
Part-Time Full-Time Part-Time Full-Time
First Year *
Sophomore * * * *
Year
Third Year * * * *
(if needed)

Steps toward Participating in the Internship Program

Process for University Park Students


1. Navigate to http://ist.psu.edu/currentstudents/studentservices/ and choose “IST
Internship Program Overview PowerPoint.” This will guide you through the necessary
job searching skills to help you find an IST internship. You are responsible for the
information that is covered.
2. Register for eligibility in ISTechTRAK by following the instructions in the ISTechTRAK
section (PART IV) of this manual.
3. Sign-up for job opportunities and interview schedules through ISTechTRAK.
4. Pursue on-campus, phone, or on-site interviews with potential employers.
5. Accept an IST internship experience with an employer.
6. Attend a Pre-Employment Seminar or go to the internship web page and choose “IST
Internship Program Pre-Employment PowerPoint.” This seminar (or PPT) reviews all of
your obligations during your assignment. Whether by direct seminar or online PPT, you
are responsible for the information that is covered. If you chose the online PPT
presentation, you will be required to take a quiz to test your knowledge of the material.
This must be completed and passed prior to your first day at the internship site.
7. Complete and return the IST Internship Information Sheet. This form allows the
internship coordinator to register you for the IST internship “class.” You are encouraged
to register as an intern every semester (including summer) you are at a work experience;
however, you must register for credit if you participate in an internship during a fall or
spring semester particularly if you are not registered for other classes.

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8. Complete and return the “Internship Work Period Registration Form” and supply us with
your address and supervisor information while on the internship. Return form to
internship coordinator at the end of the second workweek.
9. Complete the online Mid-Year Evaluation Form. (Remember that your company must
complete a Mid-Year Evaluation Form out as well. You may need to remind your
supervisor as a courtesy.)
10. At the end of your internship (Approximate dates are: Fall Semester - December 11;
Spring Semester - April 29; Summer Semester - August 5)
a. Complete the online Internship Experience Form
b. Complete the online Student Final Evaluation Form required by the IST Office of
Career Solutions by the assigned due date.
c. Have your employer complete the Company Final Evaluation Form required by
the IST Office of Career Solutions by the assigned due date.
d. Complete your Work-Term Report (structure and guidelines found online) and
email it to the IST Office of Career Solutions.

International Student Participation


International students, at any PSU location, are required to meet/talk with a representative of
the International Student Office, (814) 865-6348, located in room 222 Boucke, to discuss
employment/education requirements. As an international student, it is important that you fully
understand the requirements established for our students and by the government. In most
cases, international students will be limited to a single internship per academic year.

Graduating Senior Participation


If you plan to graduate the semester you are interning, all required reports and evaluations
(yours and your employers) must be turned in by the senior deadline established by IST. Failure
to meet this obligation will result in a delay in your graduation.

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PART II: PROFESSIONAL PLACEMENT SERVICES
The IST Office of Career Solutions is available to assist you with your pursuit of post-graduation
employment. Through various seminars, individual appointments, and additional opportunities
your time spent with a staff member from the Office of Professional Placement Services can
help you further enhance your career development and marketing skills.

There are several ways in which you can introduce yourself to us. By the time you’re ready to
face the permanent employment market, you should have some familiarity with our office since
you have had at least one Internship Work Experience (a prerequisite for IST graduation). If,
however, for some reason you have never met us, now is the time. Our office’s collective
interaction and feedback can become a valuable tool in analyzing your personal and career
objectives, but before you review all the resources and benefits we provide, you need to login to
ISTechTRAK and upload your updated resume into the system (See PART IV: ISTechTRAK for
directions).

E.R.M.A.
E.R.M.A. (Employer Resources Made Available) is an ongoing project for the Office of Career
Solutions at IST. It is a web-based application of links to various websites for those seeking IT
careers. By searching through E.R.M.A. you can search for companies that have either full-time
or internship opportunities. It also divides companies by location including nationally,
internationally, regionally, and locally by state and county.

How to Use E.R.M.A.


• To access ERMA, navigate to http://erma.ist.psu.edu.
• Below is the first screen where the User ID and Password are entered. Authenticate with
the system by entering your ISTechTRAK user ID and password and click Submit.

• Once into the system, the following screen will be displayed. If you want to see a listing
of the nation-wide or international opportunities click the appropriate link.

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• Each of the regions with specific companies is displayed in a different color. The star
signifies Washington, DC.
• Choose the section that you are interested in searching for a full-time or internship
opportunity, by dragging the mouse over that particular color.
• When a display box comes up naming that section, highlight and click whether you are
interested in full-time positions or internships (as seen next).

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• From here you will either be brought to a complete listing of the companies or a sub-
map.

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• If a sub-map appears, choose which region of the state you are interested in an
opportunity. By clicking the colored section of the desired part of the state you will then
be brought to the list of companies for that region.

ISTechTRAK and Other Placement Resources


Through ISTechTRAK, you can send your resume to companies that have specifically listed
jobs with IST’s Office of Career Solutions. These jobs are specifically IT related and provide you
with an inside edge to discovering corporate interests. Companies call us with jobs frequently
and we can extend the information to you when you are a senior IST student.

MonsterTRAK (National Job Search Tool)


MonsterTRAK provides you with a national job search tool at your fingertips. Corporations from
around the world post job descriptions with this expansive database. You can login to this
national resource at http://www.monstertrak.com.

Individual Career Counseling Sessions


The Career Services Staff spends many hours every year assisting students with their full-time
placement needs. Following is a list of opportunities you can utilize to enhance your
marketability as you look for a job:
• Career Goal Evaluations
• Resume and Cover Letter Review
• Interview Preparation
• Salary Negotiations

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• Job Offer Selection
• Job Search Strategies

Seminars
Each semester the IST Career Service offices offer a variety of seminars in several key areas of
professional career development. Below is a sample listing of some of the typical seminars
offered:
• Interviewing skills
• Dining etiquette
• Resume workshops
• Job searching techniques
• Graduate school selection

Senior Surveys
Several times throughout the year, and in various forums, you will be asked to fill out a Senior
Survey. This information assists us as we track the direction and success of our students, the
connection between internship experience and job placement, and employer interest and
interaction. Whenever you are asked to submit or update a Senior Survey, please help us help
you by completing it as soon as you can.

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PART III: INFORMATION FOR SUCCESS
Job Searching Beyond the IST Office of Career Solutions
Students are free to conduct their own job search. IST’s Office of Career Solutions will work with
the students to help identify other internship and full-time placement opportunities.

For Internships
The IST Office of Career Solutions must approve all personally acquired internship positions for
UP students before they will be considered as an official internship assignment. Commonwealth
College students must gain approval from their campus IST Champion or find out what is
required of them to get registered. Please prepare a job description and contact information
from the employer for the IST Office of Career Solutions to review.

Important Note about Credit Registration


Students at University Park must register for credit the same semester they are
participating in the internship. If the summer progresses and you are not sure until later
that you have found an internship, contact the IST Office of Career Solutions
immediately and we can determine if you still have time to record your work experience
as an internship.

Useful Tips for Finding an Internship


• Make a list of company names, types of companies, and locations you would be
interested in. Use this as your guide to assist you in your search.
• Begin by networking. Talk with family, friends, and faculty. Determine if anyone you
know works with an identified company. Talk to your contact to see if you can get a
name or address to send a resume, cover letter, or call to request an interview.
• Use on-campus resources to research companies. Any library will have reference
materials that can be used in the job search. Company files are maintained at the Bank
of America Career Services Center. In addition, the Internet is a fantastic source of
information. Many Penn State locations have Career Resource Centers with similar
information.
• Use the Internet to find your favorite company and apply online for any internship or full
time placement opportunity.

The Interview Process


After sending out your resume to several employers, the next logical step is to participate in the
interview. The interview will get you the job. There are several types of interviews: the on-
campus interview, the phone interview, and the on-site interview. The following is a detailed
explanation of each of these interview possibilities.

On-Campus Interviews
The recruiter will come to the campus and interview students in person at some Penn State
locations. These interviews are set up by our office or by the Penn State Career Services.
Students will be notified via email and through ISTechTRAK if selected for an on-campus
interview.

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Typical On-Campus Interview

• Ice Breaking
o 2-5 minutes
o Good handshake, introduction and small talk - how about those Nittany Lions?
• Interviewer’s Questions
o 10-12 minutes
o Company representative will give you some information about the company
o Know yourself and your “fit” with this company/position
o Know how to answer “Behavioral Interviewing” questions
• Applicant’s Questions
o 8-10 minutes
o Have 3-5 questions prepared; an interviewer expects questions
o Convey your interest in the company/position (Note, this is not the time to ask
about salary benefits, housing, etc. Salary discussion should only be brought up
by the interviewer.)
• Closing Remarks
o 2-3 minutes
o Thank the representative and request a business card
o Find out about when and with whom you should follow-up

Resume Referral / Interview Sign-Up Policy


If you submit your resume to a company for an internship and are selected for an interview by
that company, you must accept and attend the interview. Full-time placement interviews are
made at your discretion as outlined by the employer’s interview schedule. It is the expectation of
the IST Office of Career Solutions (and that of the potential employer) that you will attend all
appointments that are made.

Missed Interview Policy


It is unacceptable to miss an interview. If you miss an interview, you will be put on probationary
status until a letter of apology is written to the employer and a copy is provided to the IST Office
of Career Solutions. While on probationary status, you may not use our office to conduct an
internship or full-time placement search, nor can you sign up for interviews. If extenuating
circumstances cause you to miss an interview (severe illness, death in the family, etc.), call the
IST Office of Career Solutions immediately and we will proceed from there.

Attending an On-Campus Interview at University Park


Most on-campus interviews take place in the new Bank of America Career Services Center.
Interviews also take place in the IST Building. Make sure to check for the location of your
interview.

If your interview is held in the Bank of America Career Services Center, check the binders at the
second-floor stair entrance for a listing of companies and interview schedules. Look for your
company and confirm your time on the schedule. Then have a seat in the lobby area.
Remember, interviews often run late. You do not want to walk in on another student’s interview.
• For those interviews that are held in other locations, do not hesitate to call our IST
Career Service offices for confirmation.
• If you have questions about a scheduled interview at the Bank of America Career
Services Building, please call them at (814) 865-2377.

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On-Campus Interviews at Non-UP Locations
If an employer chooses to interview at a Penn State campus closer to the candidate pool or their
location, interviews will be set up in the normal interview location at that campus. Selected
students will be notified of the location and the interviews will be scheduled as noted in the
“General Information about On-campus Interviews.”

Non-University Park Students Selected For an On-Campus Interview at University Park


If you are selected for an interview and are not able to drive to University Park for an on-campus
interview, we will try to set up a telephone interview. Not all companies will agree to this request,
but we will do our best. You must do the following if selected for an on-campus interview:
• Call the IST Career Solutions offices and inform us that you are not a University Park
student and would like to schedule a telephone interview in place of an on-campus
interview.
• Select an interview slot (as described in the Interview Offerings section) and provide us,
by email, a phone number where you may be reached at that time.
• The recruiter will contact you at the designated time and phone number to complete the
interview. Be prepared and waiting for the call.

Phone Interviews
The recruiter will call students and conduct the interview over the phone. This is known as a
screening interview and should be treated as an actual interview. The IST Career Solutions
offices may set up these interviews, but most likely the company will email the student, request
a convenient time, and then proceed with the phone interview at a later day. It is not uncommon
to receive an unsolicited phone interview.

The first contact by the employer or by our office will typically be a phone call or email to you
informing you of an interview. If you are not around, someone will leave a message on your
answering machine or with a roommate.

Answering Machine/Voicemail Tip


We strongly suggest that you purchase an answering machine, and set it up with a clear,
professional message. Many employers have notified our office of loud, unprofessional, and
even crude messages. We have had recruiters tell us that their policy is to simply go to the next
name on the list. We suggest a simple: “You have reached (Your names here) at (Your phone
number here). We are unable to take your call right now, please leave a message after the
tone.”

Roommate Tips
If you have roommates and are actively searching for an internship, be sure your roommate is
aware of your search. Make sure they make you aware of any answering machine messages for
you, or take an accurate message if they answer the phone.

Telephone Interview Best Practices


• Set a specific time and date for a telephone interview.
• Do not be surprised if you get a “cold” call from a company that is interested in
conducting an interview. Assume any call from a prospective employer is an interview.
• Try to use a private line in an office or at home.
• Avoid interruptions.
• Do not conduct a telephone interview at work.
• Try not to use a line that has call waiting. If you must, ignore any incoming calls.

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• Do not use a portable phone; reception can be a problem.
• Be sure the interviewer has a copy of your resume in advance and have one in front of
you during the telephone interview.
• Make sure the phone reception is clear at both ends.
• Speak clearly, enunciate your words, speak loud but do not shout, and refrain from using
slang terms like “yeah” and “na.”
• Remember that the interviewer cannot see head or hand motions.
• Complete the follow-up as you would a face-to-face interview by asking for a contact
name and phone number. Remember to thank the interviewer for the opportunity.

On-Site Interviews
The employer will invite you to their location and conduct the interview there. Depending on the
location, it may be a short interview, or it may be a full day interview. On-site interviews are
commonly used as second interviews for full-time placement but are not that common for
internship opportunities especially when the company has initiated the interview process on-
campus.

On-Site Interview Process


An on-site interview will occur when an employer invites you to their location for an interview.
Normally the interview will consist of a tour of the facility and individual or group interviews with
managers who are interested in hiring you for their department. Typically you will be taken to
breakfast or lunch if the interview is scheduled during that time frame. You may be invited to an
on-site interview alone, however, sometimes a company will bring in all viable candidates on the
same day, and you may all meet and have several sessions together.

Other Information
• Companies should reimburse you for travel, accommodations, and meals for an on-site
interview. Make sure you ask about this and, if applicable, keep the necessary
documentation for reimbursement (e.g. mileage, tolls, parking fees, meals, hotel
expenses, etc.).
• This is not the time to splurge on meals, room service, etc. Regardless of what others
are doing, do not drink alcohol. Everything you do is considered part of the on-site visit
interview process. You are being scrutinized at every step of the way.
• Collect business cards or names of everyone with whom you speak. It is not necessary
to send a thank you note to everyone, but definitely send one to your main contact. In
the letter, mention the people in other areas.
• Always be on your best behavior. Wear professional attire and prepare as you would for
any interview.

Before Your Interview


• Get to know your product (yourself) and the company inside and out.
• Research customers (employers) who are most likely to buy that product.
• Learn to understand the real needs of the employers.
• Present yourself as someone who can really add value to an organization.

After Your Interview


• Always follow-up with a thank you letter or card 3-5 days after the interview.
• Ask recruiter what follow-up procedure they prefer.
• It is acceptable to follow up with the recruiter two weeks after the interview.

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• If you are not successful getting job offers or second interviews, get help from the IST
Office of Career Solutions.

Selecting and Accepting a Position

Selecting a Position
Once you get an offer for an internship or ful-time placement, it is time to make sure you know
and understand all the details surrounding that offer prior to accepting the position.

The following is a list of things that you should consider when making a career decision:
• Pay - overtime pay or vacation pay
• Benefits - scholarships or tuition reimbursement; health, dental or vision care;
• 401K or other retirement or investment opportunities, bonuses
• Starting (and ending, if an internship) dates
• Daily work hours - set or flexible
• Relocation and housing
• Transportation
• Dress code
• For what department will you work?
• Who is your supervisor?
• What is your ability to advance within the company?
• Does the company support professional development as a culture of the company’s
mission?

Deciding Between Two Offers


• Ask! Don’t hesitate to stop by our office to talk with someone regarding your
opportunities. We will provide you with any information we have about the employer.
Additionally, we will also direct you to any other available resources that might be
valuable to you in making a decision.
• If possible, talk with others who have had experiences with the company.
• Create a list of your goals and expectations and rate each company against your criteria
to see how they compare. For example, large vs. small companies, manufacturing v.
design or development, level of hands-on experience, pay and benefits are just some
the criteria you can use.
• Discuss your decision with a close friend or relative. It is amazing how clear your choice
becomes when you discuss it with someone else.

Requesting an Offer Acceptance Deadline Extension


You may be in a situation where you are waiting for one offer and you need to make a decision
on another offer. What do you do?
• It is acceptable to ask for an extension for your reply to the first company.
• Do not ask for a long period of time, but an extra week should be satisfactory.
• Contact the company from whom you are waiting to hear and ask if they have made a
decision. Let them know you have an outstanding offer to which you need to reply. This
should prompt them to respond to you immediately.
• If you are really stuck and you can’t get an extension or the other company is not
responding, contact the IST Career Service offices for help. In the case of an internship,
sometimes we can call the company and get information or an extension for you.

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Accepting an Offer
The IST Career Service offices (both Internship and Full-Time Placement) defines acceptance
as a written or verbal agreement of employment with the company. Offers come in many
forms. Typically a company contact will call you with a verbal offer. They will follow-up with a
written letter. If you agree to an offer in any way or form, it is considered acceptance.

In the case of limited time, it may be necessary to accept an offer over the phone. Please
understand that a verbal acceptance is an approval of a position or offer.

To avoid misunderstandings, the IST Office of Career Solutions recommends that you:
• Always request time to consider the offer before accepting. Although it is OK to accept
an offer over the phone, tell the company contact you would like to take time to consider
the offer. Then determine a time frame and contact to respond to the offer. This will give
you the opportunity to “sleep on it” and to talk it over with a friend or relative before
accepting.
• Know all the details regarding the offer before accepting. Now is the time to find out
about the salary and/or benefits, relocation policy, and aid in finding housing. You will
need all of this information to make an informed decision.
• Request the offer in writing outlining the details of the offer.
• Respond in a timely manner, whether your response is an acceptance or rejection. This
shows professionalism and provides the employer time to reject or offer positions to
other candidates.
• Write a letter of acceptance to the company. Even if you verbally accept an offer, put it in
writing so the company and you have it on file. Some companies will have you sign a
written agreement of employment when you arrive.
• Immediately inform the IST Office of Career Solutions. It is not ethical to continue the
searching for an internship once you have accepted an offer.
• Contact the employer of any outstanding offers or interviews, so the employer can adjust
interviews and/or offers.

Rejecting an Offer
The IST Office of Career Solutions and employers understand that students often receive
several offers of employment and must therefore reject other opportunities. In this case, please
remember that you are representing not only yourself, but also Penn State University and the
College of IST. Therefore, it is important that you conduct yourself both ethically and
professionally.

To avoid unwanted offers, please be sure to evaluate each job posting before you submit your
resume. This means that if you like the employers, or job, but are not interested in the semester
placement, the location, the job description, etc., do not submit your resume. Additionally, do not
submit your resume and expect to talk the employer into another location, job, or semester. You
should always strongly consider location, start time (semester), schedule, and other pertinent
information before submitting your resume.

After an offer has been extended please respond in a timely and professional manner. It is
inappropriate and very unprofessional to not respond to an interview request or job offer.
Employers will not be “mad at you” for not accepting an offer; it is part of the normal job
searching process. Just reject professionally and move on.

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Do not lie to the recruiter - if you are not interested, simply thank the employer for the offer, let
them know you are not interested in their opportunity at this time and that you are accepting
another offer, have accepted another offer, are remaining in school, etc. Let them know that you
may be interested in future employment with their company (if you would be) so you don’t burn
any bridges and leave yourself open to a future internship or full-time job with that company.

Participating in an Internship

Once You Accept an Internship


1. Inform the IST Office of Career Solutions immediately after you have accepted a
position. Non-University Park students should inform their IST Champion. It is not ethical
to continue the internship that have extended you job offers that you have accepted a
position with another company and thank them for the opportunity.
2. Inform other companies that have extended job offers to you that you have accepted a
position elsewhere and thank them for the opportunity.
3. Meet with an advisor in IST to discuss your schedule and internship rotations if
applicable.
4. Notify IST’s Office of Career Solutions if you need to cancel a dorm contract.

Internship Registration Benefits


1. As a registered IST internship student, you are considered an active, full-time student
through Penn State.
2. You can still maintain health insurance coverage through your parents or guardian.
3. You will not have to begin paying back student loans already received, thus your loan
deferment will continue.
4. You may live in Penn State housing if your internship is local to any campus location.
5. The credits will be used for academic degree requirements. (Note: University Park
students cannot register for IST 495 via the Registrars Office, e-Lion, or normal Penn
State telephone registration. Registration must be completed through the IST Office of
Career Solutions).
6. The IST Office of Career Solutions will register all University Park students for IST 495.
7. International students are required to meet/talk with a representative of the International
Student Office, located in room 222 Boucke, (814) 865-6348, to discuss employment,
education, and INS requirements. As an international student, it is very important you
fully understand the student requirements established for international students.

Tuition and Billing

“Filing Your Bill”


Each bill that is sent from Penn State includes a tear off return section. When this section is
returned to Penn State, this is considered “filing your bill.” Therefore, by sending back this
returnable section with your semester payment or accessing the e-Lion system, you are filing
your bill. Remember, if you do not file your bill before the end of the semester, you will be
dropped from any classes for which you were registered that semester.

As an internship student, you must send back the tear off portion of the bill with proper payment
or access e-Lion for your IST internship class to complete the registration process for your
internship.

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Tuition Requirements while on an Internship
As an internship student, you are only required to pay tuition and the associated fees for the
number of internship credits and any other PSU class you may be taking while on internship.
You do not need to pay full tuition if you are taking less than 12 credits during your internship
semester.

During the fall and spring semesters, you will receive a bill for full tuition, which is how Penn
State normally processes bills. Once you receive your bill, you cannot ignore it. PSU will not
send you a modified bill reflecting only what is owed due to the internship. You need to:

1. Calculate the amount owed for the internship credits and any other class you may be
taking.
2. Calculate the associated fees. (These costs can be viewed on the Penn State Bursar’s
web page at http://www.bursar.psu.edu/tuition.html or utilize the e-Lion system by going
to https://elion.oas.psu.edu/, or by calling the bursar’s office at (814) 865-6528).
3. Add the credit cost and the fees together to get your total bill.
4. Send a check or money order for this amount, along with the return form on your bill and
a note letting the bursar know you are registered for internship.
5. See the Bursar’s website for updated tuition amounts (http://www.bursar.psu.edu).

During the summer semester you will receive a bill that reflects the per-credit amount for the
internship class you are taking, so just pay this bill as you normally would. If you get registered
for credit after June 26, you will not receive a bill. You must calculate your credit and associated
fees and remit a check to the Bursar before the last week of summer classes.

Internships and Financial Aid


Students participating in the IST Internship Program are not eligible for financial aid assistance
for the semesters they are on full-time internship assignment and registered for less than six (6)
credits. This includes state and federal financial aid, as well as grants and scholarships.
Because all financial aid packages are tailored to the student, the Penn State strongly
encourages all students to contact the Penn State Office of Financial Aid, located in 314 Shields
Building, or call (814) 865-6301. In addition, students with grants and/or scholarships should
also contact their granting agency.

Financial Aid Specifics


• All students on internship are able to continue to defer student loan repayment. Any
student who receives notification of repayment while on internship should contact the
IST Office of Career Solutions immediately so we can resolve the situation.
• In most cases financial aid allocations will be applied to future full-time semesters.
• All internship students apply for financial aid at the same time as they normally would.
• A minimum of six credits, including internship and possibly classes at nearby campuses,
must be taken to qualify for a portion of your financial aid package during that semester.
• In some cases, scholarship students have been allocated their funds while on internship.
This is dependent on the type of scholarship and the discretion of the awarding agency.
• Wages earned in an internship will be added to family income when determining a
student’s future financial aid package. This may lower future financial aid disbursements.

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Financial Aid Checklist
Below is a check list about financial aid for both full-time and internship students to follow:

Jan Complete the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) with the assistance of a
completed tax form from the prior calendar year.
Mar Check with your home state grant agency for your state’s application deadline and
instructions. Begin a Student Aid File of all important papers including: copies of FAFSA,
tax returns, letters, etc.
Apr Make necessary corrections to your Student Aid Report (SAR). Schedule Summer
Classes. Email Carol Lewis (cll1@psu.edu), student aid advisor, about summer aid
eligibility.
May May 1 is the deadline for Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to
receive your FAFSA record and to award PA State Grants.
Jun Expect your fall/spring award notification. Apply for student or parent loans, sign all
necessary promissory notes. Make any address changes.
Jul Complete verification if requested. Set up ACH, direct deposit, through Bursar’s Office.
Aug Return your fall bill to complete your registration process. Expect all fall aid to disburse
during the first week of classes, if aid eligibility requirements are met.
Oct Schedule spring classes. Email Carol Lewis (cll1@psu.edu), Student Aid Advisor, to
discuss your spring Disbursement.
Dec Return your spring bill to complete your registration process. Expect all spring aid to
disburse during the first week of classes, if aid eligibility requirements are met. If you are
currently receiving financial aid, you should receive a renewal FAFSA.

Internship Housing Information

Penn State Housing


• Dorms
o If you notify the IST Office of Career Solutions, you can cancel your dorm
contract for the semester you will be out on internship assignment. If your
internship is during the fall, your contract will be cancelled only for the fall
semester. The following spring, we will try to place you in the same area but
exact room and roommates are not guaranteed. If your internship is during the
spring semester while on your internship you must request a dorm contract for
the following year. We suggest you contact the Assignment Office, 101 Shields,
(814) 863-7501 before completing the internship.
• Sublets
o It is your job to manage a sublet. You can do this at http://www.sa.psu.edu/ocl/.
The IST Office of Career Solutions has no authority in private housing matters.

At Work
• You may have to relocate to a new city for your internship or new job. You should know
what relocation compensation your employer will provide in advance.
• Employer assistance varies concerning housing for internship students. Remember to
ask the employer for assistance to help you get started with your housing search if
housing is not provided for you.
• If the company does not supply housing, there are several steps you may take in your
search:
o Contact current and past students who have previously worked with the
company.

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o Ask the company if there are any employees who have apartments for rent.
o Check the local newspapers (can usually be found on the Internet).
o Contact local real estate agencies.
o Check for a sublet if there is a local university or Penn State campus you can live
in. If all else fails, contact the IST Office of Career Solutions for assistance.

Starting Your Job


• Make sure you know the dress code of the work place. You do not want to be
overdressed or underdressed, you want to feel comfortable.
• Make sure to allot ample time for the drive to work during rush hour traffic.
• Know what time and where you are expected to report.
• Know what documents you need to bring with you. Typically you will need your driver’s
license and Social Security card, to process your paperwork through your employer’s
human resource office, which will probably be your first stop
• You may go to Medical Services for a drug screen and/or hearing or sight test.
• Depending on the company, you may have a desk, phone, computer, etc. for your use.
Remember that these are for work related use only.
• Make sure you are introduced to your co-workers and be given a tour around the facility.
This will allow you to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, such as restrooms,
cafeteria, copy and fax machines, and any meeting rooms you may need.
• If you must get safety shoes or glasses, do everything you can to have them for the next
day of work.
• If you need to get linked into any computer systems or get some type of user ID for the
system, make sure you initiate this request immediately.

Advice to New Interns and Employees


• Don’t be surprised if some of the first projects you are assigned are simple assignments.
Usually companies like to familiarize you with the company and see how you can
perform on the initial projects to determine your ability for future endeavors.
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help. This does not mean you should continually
ask for clarification; rather, if you are stuck and need some guidance, or you want
someone to review your work to make you feel more confident about it, don’t be afraid to
ask. Better to have a correction made before it could cause a problem.
• You may want to get some kind of computer calendar, or some type of date manual. You
will have to keep track of projects and meetings. There is nothing worse than showing up
late or being unprepared for a meeting.
• There may be some “lull” times in your work schedule. Do not be afraid to ask for
additional work, or try to come up with some projects on your own.
• Remember that there is a chain of command in the office. If you are having problems,
follow the chain of command. First talk to a co-worker, then maybe your supervisor, then
perhaps their supervisor or a human resources representative.
• If you have any problems, want guidance, or you just need to talk, please call our office
immediately. We will be happy to call you back and assist you in any way we can. We
are here for you. Do not ever hesitate to call as no problem is too small to call about.
• Don’t feel entitled to things that other employees may have. You must remember that
you are a new employee just beginning your career.

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Internship-Specific Advice
Your internship experience should be career-related. If for any reason you do not believe this to
be the case, please call our office immediately to discuss your concerns. The IST Office of
Career Solutions will never contact a company based on a conversation with a student unless
the student agrees to this course of action.

IST Office of Career Solutions Policy on Contacting Interns


We will send the mandatory forms to complete this internship as well as registration materials
and important IST advising office information. Any other materials sent to you by the University
(independent of the IST Office of Career Solutions) will be sent to the address that you have on
file with the University. Our office does not update the University with your address while
working.

Solving Problems while Completing an Internship


• Occasionally, students may have problems at their internship such as lack of work,
assignments not matching their option, field of study, or occasional conflicts with other
employees, etc. The IST Office of Career Solutions would like the students to try to work
the problem out on their own first. We will provide guidance and recommend several
other courses of action.
• Please do not hesitate to call or email the IST Office of Career Solutions to talk over the
problems and get advice.
o The IST Office of Career Solutions will only intervene when the student requests
it. We will happily call our human resources contact and work through any
problems, or talk with a supervisor.
• Do not let the problem continue until the end of your assignment, and just decide that
you do not want to return to the company. Make every effort to resolve the problem from
the beginning. It is not fair to the company to lose a good student because they were not
made aware of a problem.
• Be patient! You may not get that challenging assignment the very first week you are on
board. Give the company time to get a feel for your capabilities just as you are given
time to get oriented in your new surroundings.

Sexual Harassment
If any student experiences sexual harassment, or is accused of sexual harassment, we strongly
recommend you contact our office immediately and we will confidentially refer you to whomever
you wish or need to talk with to address this issue. We will confidentially assist you in every
way. This includes removing you from the situation. Remember, don’t ignore it! Take action!
Seek assistance and support!

You may feel a range of emotions from helplessness, to anger, to confusion, to fear. Talking
with someone often helps to lessen the isolation and may help you to develop strategies to
remedy the situation.

Fulfilling Internship Requirements and Receiving a Grade


Note: Commonwealth College students may have a different procedure, check with your IST
Champion for your campus process.

The following steps are all necessary in order to receive credit for your internship:
1. In the first two weeks of your work assignment, you or your company must mail or fax
the signed work period registration form back to the IST Office of Career Solutions.

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2. At the midpoint of the semester (approximately spring: March 8, summer: June 28, fall:
Oct. 20), complete the midpoint evaluation form (http://online.ist.psu.edu/internship).
3. Complete and email your online work term report to the IST Office of Career Solutions
by the due date. Report format and directions are on the Internship Requirements
website.
4. Complete and submit the online student final evaluation form,
(http://online.ist.psu.edu/internship).
5. Give your supervisor the URL to complete and submit the online Company Final
Evaluation form.
6. Keep a copy for your own records.
7. Complete and submit the mandatory online Internship Experience Form.

For all online forms, print a copy of the completed form before you submit. If you experience any
errors while trying to submit online forms, please cut and paste the error messages in an email
to the internship coordinator at internships@ist.psu.edu. The text boxes hold only 250
characters, so be brief with your answers.

If you are graduating the semester you are interning, you must complete all of these items
before finals week. Your report will be graded and a grade submitted to meet your graduation
requirements.

The Internship Grade


Once your report, Internship Experience Form, and evaluations are received, an IST faculty
member will review and grade your report. This letter grade for your internship class will be
calculated into your GPA. Due to the number of reports that must be graded each semester, the
reports are typically not graded in time to submit a grade by the end of finals week. As a result,
most students are initially assigned a “DF” (deferred grade). Then, once the reports are graded,
a grade will be submitted and the “DF” will be removed and replaced with a letter grade.

Returning from your Internship Assignment

Once You Return


• University Park students must log into ISTechTRAK and update their contact information
and resume.
• Plan to attend the Pre-Employment Seminar prior to your next internship experience.

If you are not planning to enroll for further internships and will be graduating, you must inform
the office of your status and we will update our database to reflect your planned graduation
status.

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PART IV: ISTechTRAK INFORMATION
1. Go to IST’s Website, http://ist.psu.edu. Click on Current Students, and then click
Student Services. On this page, click the Find an Internship link.
2. Click the Internship Program Overview PowerPoint button and read through the
slides, then read through the Student Agreement Form, which is listed on the page.
3. Click the link Send This Email to Agree. This sends an email to IST acknowledging that
you agree to the internship policies.
4. Click the ISTechTRAK—New Users button. This will bring you to a page which asks
you for a school password—which can be found in the email text in step 3.
5. Follow the steps to create your student profile.
6. Email the internship coordinator at interships@ist.psu.edu. Ask for your resume to be
approved so that you can upload it onto ISTechTRAK. If your resume has not yet been
approved by the internship coordinator, no jobs will be listed when you log in to
ISTechTRAK.

Uploading Your Resume


1. Login to ISTechTRAK by following the instructions listed above for Returning User Login.
2. At the ISTechTRAK main menu, click the Resumes tab at the top of the page.
3. Click the Resumes link in the right-side navigation item.
4. You can choose to either upload your resume from a Word Document or by typing it into
the text editor. Remember, MonsterTRAK will NOT accept resumes in PDF format.
5. Read the “Terms and Conditions” and tick the check box if you comply with them.
6. Give your resume a name so that you can distinguish the differences in the resumes that
you upload. The name is only for your own personal distinction of resumes that you have
saved on the system. Only administrators will be able to see the names of your resumes.
7. In the Assign Categories section, choose what classification that your resume falls into,
(ex. Full-Time – Design and Development)
8. Browse for your resume and then click the Upload Your Resume button.
9. Make sure that the resume preview is how you want your resume to look.
10. If you are not satisfied with your resume, click Cancel, complete offline edits, and
resubmit your resume.
11. If it is correct click Save Resume.
12. Fill in your resume status with one of three options regarding who can search your
resume. If you pick the top choice, you are granting employers and administrator’s
access to read your resume denoted as your primary resume, at any time. The second
choice allows the IST Office of Career Solutions access to see your resume and submit
it to employers upon the request for students’ resumes. The third choice denies
employers access to your online resume, but the IST Office of Career Solutions still
reserves the right to send it to employers at their request. If this is a problem, please
send an email to internships@ist.psu.edu.
13. After making your choice, click Update your Status.
14. Now, you are brought back to the Resume Main Menu with your new resume included
on the system. From here you may edit your resume, submit another resume, or rename
it. If you do not desire to do anything more with your resumes you can go back to the
MonsterTRAK main menu by clicking Main Menu at the top of the screen.
15. If you want to type your resume into the text editor, scroll to the bottom of the screen
seen in step 5, and click the Text Only Button. Skip steps 6-8 by following the steps
below.
16. Enter your resume as desired in the text box below.

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17. Click Preview and follow steps 9-14, above.

Uploading Other Documents

Cover Letter
When submitting your resume, it is sometimes appropriate to include a cover letter. If you do
choose to submit a cover letter, please try not to send identical letters to every employer.
Employers can tell when they are generic. It is a good idea to have a skeleton cover letter saved
as a Word document. From this you can fill in specific details for the internships or jobs you may
be pursuing. You can then just upload a cover letter each additional time you submit a cover
letter.

The IST Office of Career Solutions provides tips for creating cover letters at the following link:
http://ist.psu.edu/currentstudents/studentservices/resources/profdev/. To upload your cover
letter to ISTechTRAK:

1. Login to ISTechTRAK with your username and password. From the main menu click
Resumes.
2. Click the Cover Letter link in the right-side navigation item.
3. If you wish to upload a Word document cover letter:
a. Browse for the document.
b. Upload the file and save the cover letter, once you are content with the preview.
1. If you wish to type your cover letter into the text editor:
a. Click Text Only and then type your cover letter.
b. After you preview your cover letter, save it if you are content.

Transcript
1. Download your transcript from e-Lion.
2. Login to ISTechTRAK with your username and password. From the main menu, click
Resumes.
3. Click the Cover Letter link in the right-side navigation item.
4. Upload your transcript using the same process as you did for your cover letter.

Returning User Login


1. Navigate to http://ist.psu.edu, click on the Current Students button, and then click on
the ISTechTRAK button which is shown on the left side of the screen under Information
Resources.

Job Searching with ISTechTRAK


Once you have completed all the requirements and have been given eligibility to view jobs on
ISTechTRAK:
1. Log into ISTechTRAK with your username and password.
2. Click ISTechTRAK in the main menu.
3. In the Opportunities section, choose the options by which you wish to search.
a. The Include Results with field shows deadlines for the interview date, resume
submission deadline and the open sign-up deadline. Expand your date range to
about 2 months to make sure you receive all feasible entries. This is the most
common method of searching and will yield the most results.
b. The Company Name field allows you to search for opportunities from a specific
organization.

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c. You can also choose to tick the Only show results for which you meet employer’s
requirements check box. For example, if your personal GPA is a 2.8, you will not
be able to see jobs posted by an employer whose minimum requirement is a 3.0
GPA.
d. If you have already signed up for a job and have the job ID for the specific
position, you can type that ID into the Search only with ID field to see that
position.
e. If you want to be able to restrict your job search in specific areas such as
industry, job location, etc., click More search options available… and choose
the specifics you want in your search.
4. Having entered all your criteria for the search, click the Search button.
5. You will either get a list of results or get a message saying that your search returned no
results.
6. If you did not receive any results, try to broaden your search criteria and search again.
a. If you get a list of events, look over the positions available. If they seem like
something you are interested in, click Details for the specific position. This will
give you more information about the job and employer.
b. Some of the postings may have a yellow triangle with an exclamation point above
the company’s name. This yellow triangle means that they have been updated or
posted in the last 48 hours.
7. Be sure to examine the Event Type for each job because signing up for an event occurs
in different ways depending on its type (each type is explained next).

Resume Drop
For this type of event, the employer posts a job description on ISTechTRAK and collects
resumes from interested candidates. A job description must be entered and attached to a room.

1. Click on Details next to the interview information that you are interested in.
2. Read the details on the Recruiting Description page. Note: If the company name is a
different color, it is a hyperlink to the company website. Click on the company name to
see their website.
3. Make special note of the company information and important dates listed in the Event
Information, Deadlines, and Requirements tables to find out:
a. If you meet the interview requirements. These are listed at the bottom of the
page and compared to the information on your user profile.
b. When you can begin submitting your resume.
c. What materials you need to submit to the employer.
d. In the Deadlines section under Current Status field, you can find what step you
are on in the process of signing up, and what additional steps need to taken.
With each additional step that you complete this section will be updated. It is an
excellent idea to check back to this section to see what your status is with the
company.
4. During the resume drop date range, click on Submit Resume in the center of the page.
5. Choose the resume you want to submit and click Submit Resume. If a cover letter is
required then choose to upload a cover letter, use the text editor to enter your cover
letter directly online, or use the cover letter that you have already uploaded. If other
materials such as transcripts or supplemental information are required you will need to
upload this information before you can proceed. To do this, navigate back to the main
menu and click on the Resume tab and upload the materials there.
6. Write down the event number, or print out the screen for later reference.

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7. If it is prior to the resume submission deadline you can always resubmit your resume,
which will delete the resume that you previously submitted and replace it with your new
one.

Open Interviews
This event is a type in which any student who meets the interview requirements can sign up for
interview time slots and submit their resumes to the employer.

1. If the Event Type field of the job is listed as Open and you are interested in the job, click
on Details next to the interview information.
2. Read the details on the Recruiting Description page. From the details you can find out
the duration (length of interview), the different deadline dates and the requirements for
the resume submission.
3. Make special note of the company information and important dates listed in the Event
Information, Deadlines, and Requirements tables to find out:
a. If you met the interview requirements that are listed at the bottom of the page
which are compared to the information on your user profile.
b. When you can begin signing up for an interview time slot.
c. The Duration (length) of the interview.
d. In the Deadlines section under Current Status field is where you can find where
you are in the process of signing up you are at and what additional steps need to
be taken. With each additional step that you complete this section will be
updated. It is an excellent idea to check back to this section to see your current
status with the company.
4. During the sign up date range, click on Sign Up for this Interview.
5. Click on the button next to the desired time slot that you would like your interview to be
held.
6. Click on Sign Up for this Interview.
7. Choose the resume that you want to submit and click on Submit Resume. If a cover
letter is also required then choose to upload a cover letter, use the text editor to enter
your cover letter directly online, or use a cover letter that you have already uploaded. If
other materials such as transcripts or supplemental information are required then you
will need to upload this information before you can proceed. To do this, go back to the
main menu and click on the Resume tab. Then, upload the materials there.
8. When the resume and any additional materials have been submitted you will be taken to
a Success page. You may want to print this out for your records. This page also includes
the job number which will be helpful in quickly searching for the position at a later time.

Preselect Interviews
To participate in a “preselect” interview you must first submit a resume to the company which is
then reviewed by the recruiter. If they would like to interview you then they will preselect you on
ISTechTRAK. If you are preselected, you will receive an email from IST’s Corporate Relations
Specialist, the company, or both to login to ISTechTRAK and sign up on for an interview slot. In
some cases, the employer may choose a separate list of alternates; alternate sign-up usually
begins after the beginning of preselect sign-up. This means that the interview time slots may be
full before you have a chance to sign up.
1. To check your interview status you must go onto ISTechTRAK and look under “Personal
dates” to see if you have been preselected for any interviews.

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2. Scroll down and highlight “I am preselected or an alternate for” and click on [Display
Dates].
3. If you have been preselected or an alternate for a position this will let you know. You can
also find this information by searching for the job with the job number and looking in the
Deadlines section under Current Status. Here you will be able to find what additional
steps need to be taken. Keep in mind that it is your responsibility to check back as
frequently as needed to see if, after dropping off your resume, you have been selected
for an interview.
4. If you have been selected you need to sign up for the interview by following the
directions below.

Preselect Interview Signup


If you are preselected or chosen as an alternate for an interview, you may receive an email from
IST’s Corporate Relations Specialist, from the employer or both. Do not rely on being contacted
by the company. Instead, check your preselect or alternate status by logging in to ISTechTRAK
and completing the following steps:

1. Click the ISTechTRAK tab at the top of the page.


2. Locate the Personal dates table, select the Events I am preselected or an alternate
for option from the drop-down menu, and click Display Dates.
3. Make note of the Signup Date Range associated with the interview that you are
preselected or chosen as an alternate for.
4. During that date range, click on the gray ID# to the left-hand side of the interview
information.
5. On the recruiting description page, click on Sign up for this Interview.
6. Click on the radio button next to the desired time slot.
7. Click on Sign Up. You may want to print this out for your records. This page also
includes the job number which will be helpful in quickly searching for the position at a
later time.

Modify a Preselect Interview Time


You can only change your interview time if it is prior to the sign up deadline. If you do decide to
change your interview time, log into ISTechTRAK and complete the following steps:
1. Click the ISTechTRAK tab at the top of the page.
2. Locate the Personal dates table, select the I have signed up for option from the drop-
down menu, and click Display Dates.
3. Tick the check box in the column titled Remove for the interview for which you want to
change the time. Keep in mind that if you want to change the time of the interview, you
are not guaranteed a different time period. All of the time slots could already be taken. If
there is no check box in the remove for the particular field, this means that it is past the
sign up deadline and you must attend the interview.
4. After you have deleted yourself from the interview you can sign up for a different time by
searching again for the event and signing up for it again if there are timeslots available.

Remember, IST Internship policy does not allow you to cancel an interview after you have been
preselected, unless you have a family emergency, illness or have already accepted another
position. In these cases contact the IST Office of Career Solutions.

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To Remove Your Resume
If you decide you do not want to be considered for an interview with a particular company, you
should remove your resume. Log into ISTechTRAK and complete the following steps:
1. Click the ISTechTRAK tab at the top of the page.
2. Locate the Personal dates table, select the I have submitted my resume to option from
the drop-down menu, and click Display Dates.
3. Click the check box next to the interview that you no longer want your resume submitted
to.
4. Click on Remove. Remember, you can only remove your resume during the scheduled
sign up window. Once it is past that date you can not cancel through ISTechTRAK.

Search for Presentations


Use this search to find out about upcoming presentations, information sessions, workshops,
orientations and more. To complete this task, log into ISTechTRAK and complete the following
steps:
1. Click the ISTechTRAK tab at the top of the page.
2. In the Presentation table, enter a date range (mm/dd/yyyy).
3. You can also enter a partial company name.
4. Click on Search Presentations.

Verify Personal Dates


Use this menu to track your activity with where you have submitted your resumes, interviews
that you have signed up for, interviews you have been selected for, and presentations you have
signed up for. To complete this task, log into ISTechTRAK and complete the following steps:
1. Click the ISTechTRAK tab at the top of the page.
2. Locate the Personal dates table, select the I have signed up for option from the drop-
down menu, and click Display Dates.
3. To see if you have been preselected or selected as an alternate after submitting a
resume into a resume drop, select the I am preselected or an alternate for option and
then click Display Dates.
4. To see the companies that you have submitted to your resume, select the I have
submitted my resume to and click Display Dates.
5. You can also see what presentations you have signed up for by selecting the
Presentations I have signed up for option and then clicking Display Dates.

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PART V: APPENDIX
Sample Follow-Up Letter (After Job Interview)

123 College Street


State College, PA 16801
March 1, 2004

Pat Weldon
President
Any Corporation
1810 Main Street
Chicago, IL 60605

(It is appropriate to leave a larger space in formal letters when the body of the letter is short.
This allows the letter to appear more balanced on the page.)

Dear Ms. Weldon:

It was a pleasure meeting you today. I appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to
speak with me about your opening for an IST Internship student.

The position is exciting and seems to encompass a diversity of responsibilities. I believe with my
experience and skills, I would be able to contribute significantly to your company.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. If you need any further information, please
feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

(If a hard copy, sign your name here)


John Student
(814) 555-5555
johnstudent@psu.edu

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Sample Follow-Up Letter 2 (After Job Interview)

123 College Street


State College, PA 16801
(814) 555.5555
March 1, 2004

Pat Weldon
Director, Manufacturing
Any Corporation
1810 Main Street
Chicago, IL 60605

(It is appropriate to leave a larger space in formal letters when the body of the letter is short.
This allows the letter to appear more balanced on the page.)

Dear Mr. Weldon:

Thank you for allowing me to interview for the IST Internship position in your department at Any
Corporation. I appreciated the opportunity to meet with the staff; everyone was most hospitable.

I was impressed with the operation and in particular the thought which has gone into the IST
Internship Program. I came away very enthusiastic about the position.

Please extend my thanks to Dr. Lee, Ms. Murphy, and Mr. Sloan for their thoughtful discussion
relative to the Manufacturing Department. Being part of such a team is indeed an exciting
prospect.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from
you.

Sincerely,

(If hard copy, sign your name here)

John Student

cc. John Lee, Ph.D.


Joan Murphy
Edward Sloan

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Sample Rejection Offer Letter

123 College Street


State College, PA 16801
(814) 555-5555
March 1, 2004

Pat Weldon
Director, Manufacturing
Any Corporation
1810 Main Street
Chicago, IL 60605

(It is appropriate to leave a larger space in formal letters when the body of the letter is short.
This allows the letter to appear more balanced on the page.)

Dear Mr. Weldon:

Thank you for taking time to meet with me to discuss the opportunities for employment within
your Manufacturing Department.

While I appreciate your generous offer, I have decided to withdraw from consideration for the
position. I have accepted a position elsewhere which I feel is better suited to my long-term
goals.

Thank you for your time. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors at Any Corporation.

Sincerely,

(If a hard copy, sign your name here)

Joan Student

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Sample Acceptance Offer Letter

123 College Street


State College, PA 16801
(814) 555-5555
March 1, 2004

Pat Weldon
Director, Manufacturing
Any Corporation
1810 Main Street
Chicago, IL 60605

(It is appropriate to leave a larger space in formal letters when the body of the letter is short.
This allows the letter to appear more balanced on the page.)

Dear Mr. Weldon:

I would like to express my thanks for selecting me for the IST Internship position with Any
Corporation and accept the internship position for summer 2000. This is an exciting opportunity,
and I am eager to join your company.

I have completed the required Penn State IST Internship Program registration, and will begin
working for you three weeks from today. During the interim, I will remain in contact with Joe
Benefits in order to ensure that my transition to industry is a smooth one.

Again, thank you for your confidence and support. I look forward to fulfilling your expectations.

Sincerely,

(If a hard copy, sign your name here.)

Joan Student

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Important Definitions
• Semester - One of the three segments of the year that a student is available to take
classes or to complete an internship assignment. Summer, spring and fall are
considered semesters.
• Part-time Internship - An internship where you work part-time and go to school full-
time. A student would be registered for the internship class and maintain their status as
a full-time student.
• Full-time Internship - An internship where a student is working full-time hours during
the semester.
• Internship - Refers to either a part-time, parallel or full-time career related work
experience.
• Back-to-back Internship or Double Block - Some full-time internship experiences will
cross from spring into summer, or summer into fall semester. Two full-time internships in
a row are known as back-to-back internships or a double block. The student may sign up
for credit each of the two semesters. If so, the student will need to complete a set of
paperwork for each semester.
• ISTechTRAK System - The online system managed by the IST Office of Career
Solutions at University Park that maintains your registration data, your resume, and the
job posting and interview scheduling system.
• Internship class or Internship credits - These terms refer to IST 295B and IST 495,
the class for which a student must be registered during semesters they are interning.
• IST 295B - A 1-3 credit class required for associate degree candidates to meet IST
internship requirements. Students must complete a minimum of 150 hours of career-
related work experience to meet the requirements to earn one credit. Students may sign
up for 2 or 3 credits of IST 295B where two credits equal 300 hours and 3 credits equal
400+ hours.
• IST 495 - A one (1) credit class required for baccalaureate degree candidates to meet
IST internship requirements. Students must complete a minimum of 300 hours of career-
related work experience to meet the requirements to earn this credit. Multiple semesters
of IST 495, up to three credits, may be used towards other degree requirements in the
IST baccalaureate degree.
• Career Services - Refers to any career center at any Penn State location. Some Penn
State locations do not have Career Services. The main Career Services Center for Penn
State is located in the Bank of America Center, University Park, PA and may be used by
students at any Penn State location.

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The Career Assistance Team (C.A.T.)
The best way to build your resume and gain job-searching advice is to visit the Career
Assistance Team (C.A.T.). Each member of the C.A.T. has been trained to provide you with
excellent support in your pursuit of internships and full-time employment opportunities. They
should be your first stop when trying to complete your resume. You can schedule an
appointment with a C.A.T. member by emailing cat@ist.psu.edu.

Important Information Regarding the Resume That You Upload


• Include the semester you are available in the “Objective” section of your resume. This
will make it very clear to the IST Office of Career Solutions and the employers of your
intentions. Additionally, this will eliminate unwanted calls for semesters you are unable to
work.
• Adequately check and double-check your intern resume for spelling and typographical
errors before you submit it to our system.
• You must include your GPA in the text section of your resume. The IST Office of Career
Solutions suggests you include your GPA in the “Education” section of your resume.
This is not to be confused with the GPA section of the “Registration Data” page
• Be sure to include sections for awards, achievements, hobbies, computer experience, or
any extra information you would like to supply.
• Remember to save your resume into ISTechTRAK each time you create or update your
resume.
• Be certain to keep your resume updated while you are “seeking work.”

Policies Regarding Resumes


• Be sure to visit a Career Assistance Team (C.A.T.) member for advice on beginning your
resume. Remember, you can always schedule an appointment with a C.A.T. member by
emailing cat@ist.psu.edu.
• Resumes will be rejected if considered insufficient or there was a lack of attention to
detail. If your resume is rejected, you will know the next time you login to the system.
• If you are not certain as to why your resume was rejected, send an email to
internships@ist.psu.edu.
• Resumes will also be rejected if you fail to include your availability in the “Objective”
section or your GPA in the “Education” section.

Resume Definition
A resume is a summary of your skills and experiences used by employers to screen candidates
for employment opportunities. It is the first representation a prospective employer will have of
you. You must spend the time to refine your resume. Your resume gets you the interview and
the interview gets you the job!

The first step is to create a high quality professional resume in the word processing system of
your choice.

How to Create a Professional Resume


1. Use the information provided by a C.A.T. member, this manual, or other sources to
create a first draft of a resume. We recommend the use of Microsoft Word.
2. Visit a member of C.A.T. to have your draft reviewed and gain feedback.
3. Edit and prepare a final draft of your resume.

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4. Have someone do a final proofread of your resume.
5. Make any corrections and save it.

The Case for Multiple Resumes


In most cases, one resume will suffice. However, sometimes it is necessary to have other
versions of your resume. You have the ability to identify which resume will be submitted to each
intern opportunity.

You will want more than one resume if you would like to tailor each of your professional
resumes for each different job that you apply. Some students choose to do this, especially if
they have a specific area of interest within a certain industry or field of employment.

You need a “scan-able” resume to submit to companies who request one. This means the
company uses a scanner to input your resume into a computer. Then they use a special
program to enter criteria and select candidates from key words on the resume. If a company
uses resume scanning, they prefer resumes on white paper, with no lines, pictures, bolding and
italics, and no bullets or underlining. They may even request it in ASCII text format. Be sure to
tailor your wording on the scannable resume to the requirements and attributes of the position;
otherwise, you will stand little chance of being selected for an interview.

Getting Started with Your Resume


The two most important rules in resume writing are:
1. Do not give a prospective employer any reason to reject your resume. A resume is a
prospective employer’s first impression of you. Don’t let it also be the last!
2. Give a prospective employer every reason to select your resume. This is no time to be
modest. Spend the time to think of all responsibilities you have had in previous work
activities, volunteer experiences, and academic endeavors. Present the best possible
representation of yourself, and SELL it in the interview!

When putting together a resume, you need to think: “What do prospective employers want to
see?” and “Who is my audience?” To help you get started; here are some qualities you will want
to portray on your resume:

Honesty and Integrity Dependability


Ability to Get Things Done Desire to Accept Responsibility
Technical Ability/Experience Enthusiasm
Common Sense Problem Solving Skills
Interpersonal Skills Professional Behavior
Maturity Self-Confidence and Poise
Decision Making Abilities Ambition
Leadership Skills Flexibility/Adaptability to Change
Motivational Abilities Perseverance
Written Communication Skills Oral Communication Skills
Time Management Skills Computer Literacy

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Sections of the Resume

Heading
The heading is the top of the resume where you provide your name, addresses, phone
number and email address to a prospective employer.
• Your name may be capitalized and displayed in a larger font.
• Include both permanent and local addresses with appropriate phone numbers.
Sometimes companies will contact you over holidays or breaks.
• Include your email address and URL for a resume you may have online, if you
have one. This is particularly important for IST students. Many companies are
now using email to make initial contacts.
• We do not recommend that you include a work phone number; however, if you
do, expect that you will be called at work. If work is not a good place to hold a
telephone conversation with a prospective employer, think very hard about
whether or not to include this on your resume. Also, be sure to clear this with
your employer.

Objective
The objective is typically the first section on your resume. This is the section where you
make the reader aware of your employment interests. This section must tell the
employer something about you and your professional interests. In addition, your
internship resume must include your semester availability. The objective is the most
difficult section of a resume to write and should only be one or two sentences.

If you do not have a clear, well-defined objective, keep it short and sweet:
• “To obtain an internship starting summer 200X in the information technology
field.” This is simple and to the point.

If you do have specific desires and interests, include them in your objective:
• “To obtain an internship in the greater Pittsburgh area beginning summer 200X in
information technology.”
• “To obtain an internship in database management beginning summer 200X.”

Since it is easy to tailor the resume you submit to our office for specific internship jobs,
you may want to upload several different versions based on specific interests. You
should consider tailoring your professional resume so that when you attend the interview
you can supply the recruiter with a hard copy of a professional resume, specifically
tailored to the position you are seeking.

Stay away from objectives that use flowery words but really do not tell the employers
anything, such as, “To gain valuable career related work experience with a progressive
company that will best utilize my skills.”

For IST specific objective statement templates, visit the C.A.T. website at
http://cat.ist.psu.edu.

38
Education
Typically, the next section is the education section. Again, you are giving the basics
about your degree, your courses, and possibly activities and honors. List education in
reverse chronological order (most recent comes first). Things to include are:
• Name of school or university - remember that this is The Pennsylvania State
University.
• Your degree type - you can abbreviate AS, BS or MS but do not abbreviate the
title of your degree. Write it out, so it is clear and looks professional. Make sure
you include the title of your option (if you have selected it). If you are doing a
minor or a dual degree, make it clear and list it in a similar manner.
• Include your expected graduation date - be sure to note that this is the expected
graduation date. Employers want to know when they will be able to hire you for a
full-time position.
• List your GPA on your resume - there is an old trick that if you have a low GPA -
leave it off. Most companies are aware of this trick, and if you do not include your
GPA, they will assume it is low. Include it on the resume. If you have a low GPA,
and it is because you had a bad first year or semester, note your improvement
since then. You must include your GPA on the resume you will submit to
ISTechTRAK.
• A degree from another university should be listed on your resume. If you took a
significant number of credits at another university (12 or more), then include it.
• Relevant classes - you can list a few relevant classes, but if they are basic
degree requirements most companies assume that you have taken them. They
are most interested in key major related classes and classes in your option. Keep
the list short (4-6), put in the course title, do not put in the course number (IST
321). Not all recruiters are Penn State grads, so they will not recognize the
number designation. Write it out (Information Technology and Systems
Integration).
• Optional items - if you have honors and activities you would like to list, this would
be a good place to list them (dean’s list, scholarships, university scholars, special
training or seminars, etc.). If your list is very long (longer than three items), you
may want to include a special section at the end of the resume which will make
them stand out more
• High School - if you must include high school activities (special achievements),
make it the last entry in the education section. Do not dwell on high school,
college is much more important. Just include the highlights, such as honors,
leadership activities, awards and Advanced Placement courses. A student
graduating with a BS should not have any high school information on his / her
resume for the full-time job searching.

Experience
Experience is also listed in reverse chronological order.
• Include the company name and location (town and state). List a job title (server,
laborer, crew chief, etc.). Include dates of employment (month and year only).
• List or put in paragraph form your responsibilities, achievements, special skills,
training, etc. Think about what you did, what hours you worked, etc. Some of you
may think “well, I just worked at the counter in a fast food restaurant, how is that
relevant to IST?” Well, did you show up on time? Did you have perfect
attendance? Did you work special shifts? Did you train new employees? Were
you ever employee of the month? How quickly were you promoted? All of these

39
things are important to prospective employers, and any job experience can
portray responsibility, dependability, and the ability to communicate and get
things done.
• Do not include salary, problems, or reasons why you left or were fired in this
section. You will want to prepare for these things in case you are asked in an
interview, but do not bring them up, and do not include them on your resume.
Remember to never “bad mouth” previous employers.
• Remember, all experience is important, including volunteer work. Tutoring, baby-
sitting, newspaper delivery, and Special Olympics are all very important. Pick and
choose the items you feel are most relevant. If you can’t decide, choose the most
recent, describe them, and then list the others with no description.
• When describing tasks, use action verbs (managed, initiated, created, improved)
and descriptive adjectives (friendly, reliable, timely, correct, accurate, etc.) that
tell how well you performed.
• When possible, use numbers or percentages to show improvements (did you
make changes that saved the company time or money?). Numbers always
impress supervisors!
• Bullets look great and make information stand out on a resume. Additionally,
bullets are dependent on whether the resume is scan-able or not (do not put on a
scan-able resume).

Special Skills
List your special accomplishments in this section and use section titles such as
computer skills, honors, activities and special skills. Some items to include may be:

Foreign Language Proficiency Citizenship or Visa Status


Computer Language/Programming Skills Computer Software Skills (Word, Excel)
Internet or Web Experience Public Speaking
Professional Memberships Clubs or Organizations
Academic Achievements Scholarships/Awards

References
• Always have your references available, whether they are listed on your resume
or not.
• “References Available upon Request” is fine on the bottom of a resume, but have
the list available in case they are requested.
• We recommend one professional reference (work related) and one academic
(professor, advisor). If you do not have one of each, two of either is fine. Do not
exceed four references.
• Do not use personal references or family members.
• Make sure your references are aware you are using them. Give them a copy of
your resume and let them know they may receive a call.
• We recommend listing references on the bottom of your resume only if space
permits. If not, list them on a separate page with your name on the top.
References should be printed on the same type of paper as your resume.
• Reference information should include name, title, company (or university),
address, and phone number. If there is not enough room, leave off the address.
Most companies prefer to call references.

40
Additional Resume Hints
Use space wisely. Print your resume and look at it. Does it look good?
• Fill the entire page. Don’t leave big, open white spaces. It is perfectly fine to have
some white space because it makes the resume more readable.
• Make sure your resume is clean, neat, well aligned, and perfect in every way.
Your professional resume should be printed on good bond paper.
• Leave a margin around the page, equal top and bottom, and side to side.
• A quick once-over and a quick spell check do not make a perfect resume! Have it
proof read and critiqued by someone with experience in resume writing. You may
go through two or three iterations, but it is worth it!
• Keep your resume to one page.
• Additional help can be found on the Career Services website
(http://www.sa.psu.edu/career/resume.html).

41
Your Name
Email address
Local Address Permanent Address
Street Street
City, State, Zip City, State, Zip
Phone Phone
OBJECTIVE One or two concise, easy-to-read statements focusing on the type of position you
are seeking (entry-level), the skills you want to utilize, and/or the tasks in which
you want to become involved. Avoid clichés or jargon such as “To find a
rewarding position in which I can contribute to the profitability of the company.”

EDUCATION The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA


B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology Emphasis
Minor: if applicable Expected May 200X
Cumulative GPA 3.80/4.00 (Put major GPA first if higher than cumulative GPA)
• You may add other degrees and/or Education Abroad next in reverse
chronological order.
• You may add a subheading showing relevant coursework listed by name not
number of course (use as filler if you do not have enough experience or skills
to fill your page).
• As a senior, no need to list high school.

EXPERIENCE
• List work experiences in reverse chronological order.
• Remember that your experience need not be a paid position. If you have
gained valuable IT experience in a voluntary position, include this in your
resume.
• List name of company, location, dates worked and type of position.
• Give details of your accomplishments and responsibilities rather than a
general list of duties. Numbers (volume, percentages, dollar amounts, etc.)
make strong statements and can enhance credibility.
• Include information and skills relevant to the position you are seeking.
• Consolidate information whenever possible. Avoid repetition and eliminate
excessive details in describing experiences. Use bulleted lists and avoid
paragraphs whenever possible.
• Make the format scannable. Use relevant action verbs first. Become familiar
with the terminology of the industry and use these terms whenever possible).
Avoid tables, extra lines, pictures and cute images.

SKILLS You may consider a special skills section to highlight computer skills (hardware,
software, operating systems, databases and organize as such) and certifications
or licenses. In the general skills category, list any language skills or highlight
special project management or team skills.

ACTIVITIES List important activities in which you held leadership roles first such as offices
held in college, community and professional organizations. You can add a brief
explanation of your position and accomplishment.

HONORS Optional: include only if you have several honors.

42
REFERENCES Available Upon Request. If you run out of room on your resume, you do not
need to include this, but make sure you have a prepared sheet of references
available.
Prepare a list of three to five references (avoid family) on a separate page
formatted to match your resume for use when employers request references.
Choose individuals familiar with your academic achievements, leadership and
teamwork skills, and/or work habits. Include name, title, employer, mailing
address, phone number and email. You should always seek prior approval from
individuals you plan to list as references.

Other Resume Writing Tips


• Resume should be one-page. If you need to compose two pages, make sure your
heading and page 2 are listed on the second page.
• You should never use less than a 10 pt. font. Recruiters have trouble reading anything
smaller.
• Avoid expressing ideas, goals or future aspirations in your resume. Save these for
interview questions if applicable. Your resume should consist of facts that present
yourself clearly, succinctly and confidently.
• Select keywords carefully in your resume. Keywords are the basis of most electronic
resume search and retrieval processes. They represent the nouns and phrases that
highlight technical and professional areas of expertise, industry-related jargon, projects,
achievements and other distinctive features about a prospect’s work history that provide
the content from which to search for a resume in a database.

Scannable Paper Resumes


• Send original laser printed resumes, not photocopies or faxes.
• Use light-colored 8 ½” x 11” paper printed on one side only.
• Use non-decorative typefaces, sized 10 to 14 points. Use only one font type for the
resume.
• Do not use graphics, shading, script fonts, italics, underlining, bullets, parentheses,
brackets or bold-faced text.
• Do not use horizontal or vertical lines.
• Use wide margins around the text (at least ¾”)
• Do not fold or staple your resume.
• Your name should be the first readable item on each page.

E-Resumes
ASCII Plain Text
1. Set your margins so that you have 6.5 inches of text displayed.
2. Compose a resume from scratch or open an existing resume in your word processor.
3. Select all of the text and then select a 12 pt. font such as Courier 12. This will give you
65 characters per line, which will accommodate most email programs.
4. Save your resume as a “text only” file with “line breaks.” Note: if you have used “hard”
carriage returns at the end of paragraphs instead of lines, save as “text only” without the
line breaks.
5. Open this file in Notepad, or any other text editor that you can cut and paste text into.
6. Replace all bullets and underlining with their ASCII equivalent. Bullets can be replaced
by asterisks (*) or hyphens (-).

43
7. If you see long lines of text in your editor, use Notepad’s word wrap feature under the
Edit menu. If you have used hard carriage returns in your composition, do not use the
word wrap feature.
8. Copy and paste the text of the resume into the body of a test email message to yourself,
once you are satisfied with the way it looks in your text editor.
9. Create a short cover letter using the same steps as above. Insert this text above the
resume in the email message. Do not send as an attachment.
10. Send a copy of this email message to yourself and a friend who has a different email
program, before sending it to the recruiter. ASCII Rich Text.
11. To send your resume as an email attachment, use ASCII rich text resumes (.rtf
extension).
12. Make sure your recipient’s email system supports attachments.

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Sample Resume
JOHN T. STUDENT
Jts100@psu.edu

Campus Address Permanent Address


123 College Street 456 West Drive
State College, PA 16801 Pittsburgh, PA 15205
(814) 555-5555 (412) 777-7777

OBJECTIVE To obtain an information sciences and technology (IST) internship position during
summer 2007.

EDUCATION The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA


B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology Expected May 20XX
GPA 3.56/4.00

Relevant Courses
Networking and Telecommunications Introduction to IST
Introduction to Algorithmic Programming Organization of Data

EXPERIENCE McDonalds Pittsburgh, PA Summers 20XX, 20XX


Assistant Manager and Cashier
• Supervised front-line operations and reported directly to the manager.
Responsible for entire operation in manager’s absence.
• Interviewed, hired and trained new employees. Provided performance
feedback.
• Developed system for monitoring inventory; decreased inventory time by
50% and increased sales by 25%.

Macy’s Monroeville, PA June 20XX – Sept. 20XX


Department Assistant
• Promoted from cashier after only one month.
• Arranged displays to be pleasing to the eye.
• Enjoyed selling clothes to a wide clientele, from business executives to
teenagers.

SKILLS C++ Programming Microsoft Office Matlab


Auto CAD Basic Programming HTML

ACTIVITIES Member of the Association for Computing Machinery


Intramural Soccer

REFERENCES Available upon request

45
Interview Tips and Suggestions

Interview Tips
At some point in your job searching, you will have to interview. Knowing what to say and how to
say it is critical. Determining who you are and what you want in a position, as well as how you fit
into the organization, are the keys to a successful interview. Many students tend to enter into
the interview with the idea they are beggars looking for a handout; interviewers seldom hire
people out of the goodness of their hearts. They are looking for people who fit into their
organization and can solve business problems. Taking an active stance has many benefits for
the job seeker. It helps to manage your anxiety and present your best professional self. It also
helps you to evaluate whether you really want to work for the interviewer. In order for you to fully
enhance the interview process you must have self-esteem. You must convey to the interviewer
that you are someone with critical skills and can add value to their organization.

• Know what time and where your interview is. Be early!


• Be prepared for the interview before you get there.
• Refer to the list of “Types of Interview Questions” seen next. Review these questions, and
think of good replies. Your answers should not sound rehearsed.
• Research the company. Listen for the real needs of the company. Know enough about the
company to ask intelligent questions. Be prepared to answer the question “Why do you want
to work for this company?” You can research the company by using the web and the Bank
of America Career Services Center.
• Practice your interviewing skills by attending a mock interview at the Bank of America
Career Services Center (non-UP students check with your Career Services Organizations to
see if there is a Mock Interview Program at your campus). The Mock Interview Program is a
fantastic way to develop and hone interview skills. We strongly encourage all IST internship
students to take advantage of a mock interview. In addition, practice in front of a mirror -
notice your expressions, and listen to your voice inflections.
• Bring a portfolio or briefcase with paper and a pen so you can take notes or jot down
questions you would like to ask. Keep notes to a minimum.
• Bring copies of your professional resume, transcript and reference list.
• Present yourself as someone who can really add value to an organization.

Types of Interview Questions

Content
Close-ended questions, used to verify or confirm specific information:
• “How many…?”
• “Do you have a preference for…?”
• “Are you willing to…?”

Form
Open-ended questions, used to elicit behavioral samples and detailed information.
• “Tell me about…?”
• “What did you…?”
• “How did you…?”
• “Describe a time when…?”
• “Give me an example of…?”

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“Why” questions are used to obtain information about a candidate’s preferences,
motivations, perceptions, reasoning, etc.

Form questions tend to dominate in an interview because of two qualities that predict job
success in any environment:
1. Communication/Interpersonal Skills – toward customers, clients, co-workers, support
staff, supervisors, etc.
2. Motivation – how excited you are about the job

Twenty-Five Frequently Asked Interview Questions


1. Tell me about yourself. Expand on your resume.
2. What type of position are you most interested in?
3. What are your long-term goals? Where do you hope to be in ten years?
4. Why do you feel that you will be successful in?
5. What supervisory or leadership roles have you held?
6. How do you spend your spare time?
7. What have been your most satisfying and most disappointing experiences?
8. What are your strongest (weakest) personal qualities?
9. Give me some examples that support your interests in?
10. Why would you like to work for our company?
11. What courses did you like best?
12. What did you learn or gain from your part-time and summer job experiences?
13. Which geographic location do you prefer? Why?
14. What led you to choose your field or option?
15. What can you do for us now? What can I do for you?
16. Why are your grades so low?
17. Tell me about your extracurricular activities and interests.
18. What have you learned from your mistakes?
19. How do you work under pressure?
20. How do you keep informed about what is going on in your field?
21. What are the most important rewards you expect from this position?
22. How would you describe yourself?
23. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
24. How do you determine or evaluate success?
25. What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?

Questions to Ask Employers


1. What do employees seem to like best and least about the company?
2. How large is the department where the opening exists?
3. What type of orientation do new employees receive?
4. What would be my primary responsibilities?
5. What are some types of ongoing and anticipated projects?
6. How much exposure or contact would I have with supervisors, mentors, customers and
management?
7. How does this job fit with the mission of the organization?
8. How much freedom am I given to solve problems?
9. How will I be evaluated in my job?
10. What types of employees tend to be most successful?
11. What do you like best/least about working for this department/company?
12. Describe a typical workday in the department?

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13. What impact will your recent acquisition (or some other current issue or event) have on
the company?
14. Will I have opportunities to work independently?
15. What is the relationship of this organization with the local community?

Negative Factors That Are Evaluated During an Interview


1. Poor personal appearance
2. Overbearing; overaggressive; conceited; “superiority complex;” “know-it-all”
3. Interviewee inability to express themselves clearly
4. Lack of planning for career. No purpose or goals
5. Lack of interest and enthusiasm. Passive, indifferent personality
6. Lack of confidence and poise, nervousness, ill at ease
7. Failure to participate in activities
8. Overemphasis on money
9. Poor scholastic record
10. Expects too much too soon
11. Make excuses/evasiveness
12. Lack of tact
13. Lack of maturity
14. Lack of courtesy
15. Condemnation of past employers
16. Lack of social understanding
17. Marked dislike for schoolwork
18. Limp, fishy handshake
19. Fails to look the interviewer in the eye
20. Merely shopping around
21. Little sense of humor
22. Little interest in industry or company
23. Low moral standards
24. Narrow interests
25. Intolerant
26. Inability to take criticism
27. Late for the interview without a good reason
28. Never heard of the company
29. Asks no questions about the job
30. Indefinite response to questions

Extracted from: Endicott, Frank S., Director of Placement, Northwestern University, Making
the Most of Your Job Interview

Interviewing Etiquette

Do’s
• Do your homework. Know the job and the company.
• Be early (approximately 10-15 minutes).
• Dress professionally.
• Be prepared to sell yourself as a result of your preparation. Know where you fit in.
• Act confident, smile and maintain eye contact.
• Communicate your genuine interest in the company and the position.
• Listen carefully to the interviewer and respond directly. Ask for clarification.

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• If asked for a specific example, be specific.
• Play an active role in the interview. Be dynamic.
• Be sensitive to interviewer’s non-verbal cues.
• Be positive about past employers and your education.
• Have 3-5 written questions for the recruiter.
• Thank the interviewer and ask about follow-up.
• Ask for a business card or write down names, phone numbers and addresses.
• Know yourself: interests, skills, strengths, weaknesses and goals.
• Bring a copy of your resume, and references.
• Always make some notes after the interview for future reference and improvement.

Don’ts
• Don’t be late.
• Don’t look disheveled, unorganized or panicked.
• Don’t yawn.
• Don’t chew gum or candy.
• Don’t slouch in your chair.
• Don’t ramble or mumble.
• Don’t get into highly emotional areas of your life.
• Don’t give a canned response to questions.
• Don’t be overly general in your response.
• Don’t be arrogant.
• Don’t ask about benefits and salary; wait for the interviewer to mention.
• Don’t be unrealistic about job and career aspirations.
• Don’t talk too much.
• Don’t talk too little.
• Don’t undervalue your background.
• Don’t accept an offer on the spot; tactfully request time to consider the offer.
• Don’t forget to get a business card or name, phone number and address.

Candidate Assessment
Recruiters are assessing candidates based upon a candidate profile. A candidate profile is a
definition of skills and characteristics that are needed to be successful in a particular job and
organization. In the on-campus interviews, the recruiter usually assesses a combination of the
following factors:
• Educational experience, coursework, and performance (GPA).
• Work experience and other internships.
• On campus involvement.

Assessment of personal characteristics (vary by recruiter/company):


Communication Skills Stress Tolerance Level
Leadership People Orientation
Initiative Maturity
Creativity Analytical Skills
Entrepreneurship Decision Making/Problem Solving Skills

Common Interview Concerns

Competence

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• Did the interviewee sell his/her capabilities by doing one of the following?
• Discuss relevant skills, experiences, and/or knowledge
• Present transferable skills or personality attributes
• Display relevant skills or beneficial traits
• Did the interviewee personalize/reinforce any of the above examples or
explanations?
• Could they have sold their capabilities further through this question? How?

Communication Skills
Non-verbal communication: Verbal communication:
Eye-Contact Length of response
Facial expressions/hand gestures Organization/fluency of response
Listen and pause Proper/professional grammar
Posture Voice projection

Enthusiasm/Commitment
• Did the interviewee show commitment and interest to the career or occupation?
• Did the interviewee display positive energy and enthusiasm through their tone of
voice, non-verbal communications and attitude?

Poise and Maturity


• Did the interviewee display maturity and professionalism when answering difficult
questions or questions regarding adversity?
• Did the interviewee display overall poise during the interview?

Leadership and Autonomy


• Did the interviewee point out past experiences where they held leadership
responsibilities or took initiative?
• Did the interviewee display overall self-confidence?

Outside Interests
• Did the interviewee point out significant transferable skills from outside
interests/activities?
• Did the interviewee present himself or herself as a well-rounded person?

Personal Impression
• Did the interviewee display an appropriate physical appearance?
• Did the interviewee display friendliness, self-confidence, and enthusiasm?

Likeability
• Was the interviewee relaxed and sincere?
• Did the interviewee have a positive attitude?

Interview Attire

Women
o Hair neat, and pulled out of your face.
o Conservative make-up.
o Use no or little perfume.

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o Conservative jewelry. Limit the amount worn and keep it small. We
suggest removing eyebrow or nose rings for the interview, but it is your
choice.
o Quality well fitting business suit.
o Appropriate skirt length, at or near the knees while standing.
o Nails clean and shaped: No bright colors or chipped polish.
o Neutral hosiery.
o Pumps with a medium to low heel and closed toe are the best choice.
o Quality briefcase or portfolio (limit to one) with a quality pen.

Men
o Hair neatly trimmed and combed; preferably not below the collar line. If
hair is long, pull it back. Beards and mustaches should be neatly combed
and trimmed.
o Neatly trimmed nails. Absolutely no polish guys!
o We recommend removing earrings, eye brow rings and nose rings, but it
is your choice.
o Use little or no cologne.
o Pressed, light-colored, long sleeved (even in summer) dress shirt.
o Conservative, properly-knotted tie, avoid flashy patterns.
o Shirt/tie/suit patterns should be properly coordinated.
o Quality well fitting suit in a classic color, if available. Clean pressed
“Dockers” and a sport coat are acceptable.
o Suit pants well creased with bottoms breaking at shoe tops.
o Socks long enough, matching shoes or pants. No white socks!
o Good quality, leather, shined shoes that match suit.
o Quality briefcase or portfolio (limit to one) with a quality pen.

If You Don’t Have a Suit


If you do not have an interview suit, you may wear a quality outfit that is well pressed
and coordinated. Men can wear Dockers with a white, long sleeved shirt, sport coat and
a conservative tie with clean shoes and coordinated socks. Women should wear a
quality blouse, jacket and skirt, or pants, with matching shoes. It is always better to be
overdressed!

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