Popular Questions

Q:  Does Career Services assist students who want to work for a year before continuing their education in medical, law or graduate schools?

A:  A career counselor will talk with a student about their goals and needs for the time between college and continuing education. Career Services staff can direct students to short-term post-graduation opportunities. Many reoccurring transitional opportunities are listed in our Delay the Real World Guide [pdf].  In addition, career counselors will assist students in searching for opportunities which may be short-term, but not part of a formal program as listed in the above document. We will also encourage students to visit the Fellowships and Prizes office to consider short-term opportunities available there.

Q:  Are Swarthmore alumni helpful in assisting students with internships and full-time employment?

A: Absolutely! Alumni help students in a variety of ways throughout their career development. Our Extern program and Alumni Student Networking dinners are key ways our alums offer workplace advice and networking opportunities with students. Additionally, alumni advocate for Swarthmore College within their organizations and are often the driving force for getting employers to participate in our recruiting events both on and off-campus. Additionally, each semester we reach out to alumni to share job and internship postings with us.

Q:  What are the resources within Career Services for students wishing to pursue careers with non-profit organizations?

A:  Larger non-profits will come to campus for information sessions or interviews. Since most non-profits are small and do not have the staff to support visiting campus, we partner with other colleges and universities to offer recruiting events to connect non-profit employers with students. We offer three annual public service career fairs, one in Washington D.C., and two in Philadelphia, as well as an interview day in D.C. Additionally, our SwatCareers job and internship database contains many public service internship and job opportunities. We offer annual events to give visibility to public service opportunities like our Nonprofit Networking Night, featuring alumni in public service careers. We have also found that students who are interested in making a difference through their careers might also enjoy working for the federal government and have launched a collection of career events to educate students about federal career options within the federal government. Our previously referenced recruiting events offer students a way to connect with both non-profits and federal agencies.

Q:  Does Career Services help students decide upon a major?

A:  By appointment with a career counselor, students may take career assessments such as the Campbell Interest and Skills Survey and/or the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and receive a follow-up interpretation. The conversation will help the student explore career options which fit his/her skills, interests and personality type. The counselor will direct the student to various ways to research careers of interest for more details, including speaking with Swarthmore alumni or exploring our post-graduate survey [pdf] by major.

Q:  What is the role of student staff vs. full-time college staff in the assistance of students seeking services from Career Services?

A:  Career Services has student workers in the form of Career Peer Advisors (CPAs) who work with students primarily on their resumes, cover letters, and initial job/internship process. We have found that students like to use the CPAs as an initial way to connect with our office, but we have many students who meet with them on a regular basis. CPAs have been trained by the counselors, and many of them have been in their role for a few years. CPAs offer drop-in assistance weekly during the academic year.

Counselors also do all of the aforementioned, but they provide one-on-one advising for all topics career-related as well as administer career assessments and provide graduate school advising. Our counselors are also available for mock interviews for various types of opportunities and mock case interviews for consulting positions.

Q:  Is Career Services proactive with students?

A:  We are constantly looking for exciting ways to engage more students with our office. In addition to our Weekly Updates e-mails sent to students with featured events, jobs and internships, we also have an active presence on social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. Swarthmore is an academically diverse community and everyone has very unique perspectives and interests. When we offer a career program, we target students by academic disciplines and career interests in our outreach efforts. We have a variety of programs (which vary from year to year), everything from finance careers to environmental careers. Because Swarthmore is such a tight-knit community, we have a number of alumni who are eager to return to campus to meet students. Alumni engage in our office through talks, organizational information sessions, and the extern program. We encourage our students to connect with alumni who can offer career advice.

Q:  Are Career Services programs mandatory?

A:  Programs are not mandatory. However, we do encourage students to take advantage of programs that would be of benefit to them. For instance, when recruiters conduct on-campus interviews, we highly encourage interviewees to attend the organization's information session typically held the night before interviews.

Q:  How do juniors studying abroad locate summer internships?

A:  Studying abroad is a wonderful academic experience for students. However, studying abroad can sometimes make finding a summer internship difficult. Students who study abroad have to keep in mind that employers may not be willing to schedule interviews via SKYPE or phone or that employers may not be flexible in their start/end dates. It is important for students to talk to employers about these topics at the beginning of their search. If students are unable to find an internship, we encourage them to volunteer instead. Although volunteering is unpaid, it can provide a great experience that is highly marketable to employers.

Q:  How do employers view Swarthmore?

A:  Studying liberal arts helps shape our students' career choices and makes them uniquely qualified candidates for positions in a rapidly changing world. The recent recession caused some employers to focus narrowly on specific technical skills as they evaluated applicants, making it more challenging for students to highlight transferable skills -- the type often gained through studying liberal arts. Despite this, our students have consistently fared well in this challenging job market, exceeding the national average in securing employment prior to graduation. Our students have also been successful in gaining admission to the most academically challenging graduate and professional schools in the world.

Q:  What makes the Swarthmore graduate uniquely qualified to excel, even in this challenging economy?

A:  We conduct employer surveys to determine the skills, personal attributes and experiences employers seek in the ideal candidate and the results confirm the value of the skills and attributes that characterize Swarthmore students:

  • 100% of employers rated teamwork, a strong work ethic, and ability to learn quickly as essential or very important
  • 93% rated verbal communication skills, problem solving skills, and adaptability to a new environment as essential or very important
  • 80% rated analytical skills, written communication skills, and leadership as essential or very important
  • 73.4% of employers indicated previous internship/work experience is essential or very important
  • 46.7% indicated a high GPA or relevant major is essential or very important
  • 26.7% indicated research experience is essential or very important
  • 20% said foreign language skills are important
  • 26.7% said study abroad experience is important

Employers value the experience students gain inside and outside the classroom where they work in teams to solve challenging problems. Swarthmore students readily demonstrate their strong work ethic -- they work diligently to balance rigorous academic course loads with active engagement in student activities, community service, peer leadership roles, music, theatre, dance, and the arts, as well as employment on campus and other commitments to their community, family and friends. The ability to learn quickly and the love of learning is a hallmark of Swarthmore, as is the analytical approach students take to any issue, problem or concern. Our students are effective writers and passionate advocates for their beliefs, with confidence in their ability to make a difference and have a lasting impact in their chosen paths.

Q:  What is the process for selecting and reaching out to organizations to come to campus to interview students for internships and post-graduation employment?

A:  Our employer development efforts include contacting major employers in fields of interest to our students as well as regular contact with our parents and alumni, encouraging them to post jobs and internships for students. In 2013-2014 we posted over 1,350 full-time jobs and over 650 internships in our primary job database. Students had access to an additional 10,000 internships through the University Career Action Network (UCAN), an internship consortium of 22 colleges and universities across the country, and 475 technical internships developed through our engIN internship consortium. See our list of 2013-14 employers recruiting [pdf] on campus for more information.

In addition to our on-campus recruiting efforts, Swarthmore is an active member of five recruiting consortia with our peer institutions. Each group coordinates interview days in key metropolitan areas to provide students with access to employers recruiting for full-time and internship positions. The five consortia are: the Fall Recruiting Consortium in NY, MetroLink DC, the Engineering and Technical Career Internship Connection (ETCIC) in NY, ETCIC Boston, and the Philadelphia Career Connection.
Q:  How do I get involved with Career Services?

A:  There are several ways you can share your career wisdom and insights with our students. You can offer an externship, which is our one week, job shadowing experience over winter break. Students will come to your work site and learn about your field. Or you can offer housing during extern week. You could also come to campus to talk about your career path. Students want to learn about careers from the people who are doing them. If you are visiting campus and would like to meet with students to teach them about your industry and share your knowledge, we can set up a visit for you.

Students need help to prepare for the job search. You can meet with students to practice mock interviews, review resumes and talk about networking. They want to learn from professionals like you who have lots of experience.

You can also help students launch their careers. We'd love to have you offer internships and post job openings on SwatCareers.  We will be happy to have your opportunities to share with our students. Additionally, you can also provide summer housing for students who are doing a summer internship away from home. Email us with your interests and we will be sure to follow-up. 

Q:  How does Career Services engage faculty?

A:  We work with faculty in several ways educating students about the world of work and career opportunities. These include co-sponsoring career panels and talks with academic departments. Faculty members also ask us to present job search information to students looking for career specific internships and jobs. Academic departments send us job openings to be posted in our database and help us to market our career events. Additionally, we have a campus wide event presenting student summer opportunities in conjunction with faculty. 

Q: How does Career Services support students interested in business and entrepreneurship careers?

A:  Business and Entrepreneurship Career Initiatives[pdf]

Q: How do career counselors help students?

A: Counselor Stories[pdf]

Q: What are the major programs and services offered by Career Services?

A: Annual Report Executive Summary[pdf]