Starting Your Job Search

Reminder: Don’t get sucked into a place of complacency and think that a job will magically happen. People don’t generate nearly enough activity; don’t pin your expectations on one phone call response or one potential offer.

New Advice: Treat your job search as a project with deadlines and metrics and create a plan. At the deadlines, determine if you’ve met your goals/metrics and, if not, figure out why. You cannot stop until you have an offer in your hand.


Reminder: Recast your resume with keywords for what you want to be. Make sure it is understandable, granular, and accomplishment-oriented.

New Advice: When you are e-mailing contacts, attach your resume every time so they can easily remember you and your background.

Cover Letters

Reminder: Don’t restate your resume. Cover letters can derail your application as much as they can help so keep them simple and grammatically correct.

New Advice: Cover letters may not be as important as you think. Create your opening, mention the most important part of your background and state that your resume is attached. Keep it short and spend your time on more productive activities.


Reminder: Reach out to the people you know and ask, “Can you give me some advice on how to meet additional people in my job search?” Put yourself in a position of being discovered.

New Advice: The alumni database is one of the best places to network. Once you apply for a job, connect with a Penn Stater within that company (preferably in the same department or in a similar position) and ask for advice on the position/application.

Thank You Notes (non-interview situations)

Reminder: Whenever you take up someone’s time, make sure to send the thank you note before you go to sleep that night. Keep it short – they’re busy too!

New Advice: When writing a thank you note, say something about a personal interaction you’ve had. It will help them remember who you are.

A final reminder: It’s a game of numbers. Don’t take the rejections personally and don’t get discouraged. Make sure to explore different avenues and thank the people who have taken the time to speak with you or help you on your search.


Barbara Bridendolph is President and CEO of Crenshaw Associates, a New York-based boutique that provides career-long advisory services to senior executives, primarily C-levels and their direct reports.  She became a Partner in the firm in 2001, was named President in 2004, and President and CEO in 2005.

Barb oversees the firm’s career consulting work and personally acts as an Executive Advisor.  Since joining Crenshaw, she has worked with more than 150 Directors, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, GCs, Division Presidents and functional heads of Sales, Marketing, Corporate Development, Supply Chain and Finance.  The industry sectors from which her clients have come include CPG, financial services, pharma, advertising, technology, and consulting/public accounting/law.

Prior to participating in the acquisition of Crenshaw Associates, Barb had her own consulting firm which advised senior executives on strategic marketing programs and alliances.  This followed her tenure as President of Precision Marketing Associates, an advertising agency specializing in direct marketing.  Earlier, Barb was SVP of Marketing at Carroll Reed, a specialty clothing retail/catalog company where she had P&L responsibility for catalog operations.  She started her career in brand management at Procter & Gamble.

Barb received an MBA from Penn State and a BS in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Special thank you to Susan Slopek, Class of 2011

From the feedback we received during Career Immersion, it appears that you really enjoyed the Etiquette lunch.   Many decisions are made over a meal, and depending on the culture, the majority of business occurs during meal and social time.   To help you be your best, should you ever encounter a lunch interview, we have provided you with this information.    This should provide you with a nice supplement to the etiquette lunch.  Read more here.

During Career Immersion Week we heard many different people talking about the same thing – importance of networking. Most of us already went through a more formal or informal process of networking, so at least we know what it is all about. However, we need to constantly improve our networking abilities. A very important skill we should all master is the ability to promote ourselves without being obnoxious. There is a fine line between bolstering your professional image and coming across as a self-absorbed and narcissistic. Read more here

Interesting job searching business model with immediate feedback – $0.99 per post to get feedback.  Check out

(don’t forget to read about the company before signing up!)

Why MBAs are Going East

Is this the newest version of the MBA dream?  At premiere institutions, the percentage of MBAs taking jobs in Asia — both U.S. and international students — has more than doubled in the past five years from roughly 5% of the graduating class to more than 10%. This article explores the details for this trend and why more and more striving MBAs no longer have just one post-grad career destination — the U.S.

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We have all been there.  The pre-interview nerves.  The author of this blog post challenges you to look at why you’re nervous and then to turn the tables on your interviewer.  Because in the end, both sides of the table are looking to ensure there is a good fit.

This BW article truly hits home for us MBA students:


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Like many second years, I have been out looking for a job.  And I think that is where I went wrong.  I was looking at companies and thinking: What job do they have for me?  How is this company going to compensate me?  What skills/knowledge is the company going to teach me?  In short, I was the center of my job and was completely missing the point.  It took a blog post (rant) by Charlie O’Donnell to open my eyes.

In fairness, I have been looking at smaller companies that line up with my objectives and have the potential to grow like gang-busters.  These companies don’t have 9-month HR plans and have very little time to train a new hire.  To bring me on board, the management teams have to know what skills I have.  In short, what’s my value.

Before my “ah-ha” moment, I couldn’t define what my “value” was – or even what the term meant.  Since I’ve figured it out, I have had positive feedback from my contacts and will be looking for more opportunities to drive my (new) residual message home (thanks, Andy).


The Financial Times ran an interesting article about MBAs being hired into foundations.  Counterintuitive at first, the match makes sense.  Foundations are going very large and require business acumen, relationship abilities, and financial expertise.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest foundations, recently announced allocating $10 billion for research and delivery of vaccines to the poorest nations in the world.

For those that are socially minded and want to make a difference on a large scale, think about joining a foundation.  Some web resources to look through are the Philanthropy News Digest, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Council on Foundations.

Have you thought about a global job search? The first step is gathering country-specific information. Check out Going Global (you have access via the Penn State Career Services account)

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