Staff Spotlight Interview with Andrea Rydel

The following is an interview with Andrea Rydel, Career Services’ new Assistant Director for Internships. Andrea started over the summer and while she has met many students already via appointments and events, read below to find out why, if you are looking for an internship, you will want to get to know Andrea.

Casey Brown: Welcome to Career Services! So first, tell me a little about your role in the office.

AndreaAndrea Rydel: I am the Assistant Director for Internships and Career Counseling. Basically, in my role, I work with students to prepare them for internships and the search process, working on documents like resumes and cover letters and getting students ready for interviews. I also manage the Summer Experience Survey and work with employers to encourage them to post internship opportunities and recruit here.

CB: It’s great that you work with both students and employers. We just had the General Interest Career Fair a few weeks ago and there were a lot of employers there. I would imagine a lot of students were looking for internships
there, right?

AR: Yes, there were both full-time jobs and internships available at the fall fair, which is intended to offer a wide variety of  opportunities for all students. I have been letting students know that the fall fair was not focused specifically on internships. Some freshmen who attended the General Interest Career Fair mentioned that they were not able to find many employers who were recruiting first-year or second-year students for internships – though they still had a chance to introduce themselves to employers. The selection of internship opportunities and requirements will be broader at our upcoming internship-focused fairs.

Internship fairs are really great for freshmen, sophomores and juniors, because the positions they’re recruiting for are specifically summer internships. They are a great way to start  exploring career paths and summer opportunities. For juniors, summer opportunities can even lead to full-time job offers, which is especially nice.

On December 6, we will host the second annual All-Princeton Resource Fair for Internships & Funding from 1-4 p.m. at Frist. This is a “one-stop” fair covering all Princeton resources for summer internships and funding! Students can learn about a variety of campus resources and programs available for summer internships. Then, on February 14 (on Valentines’ Day) we are hosting the Summer Internship Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Dillon. We’ve actually partnered with the nonprofit career fair again this year, so there’s both for-profit and nonprofit organizations that come to the fair – a really great mix of opportunities and different areas of interest for students to explore. We’re making a big push with employers this year to hopefully get some more varied opportunities for students. For example, we’re trying to get some more companies from the communications industry.

CB: Great! Now, tell me a little about the Summer Experience Survey.

AR: This is a tool that we use with students who are starting their internship searches. Basically, when students fill out the survey, they will provide information for their fellow peers (like where they worked geographically, the company they worked for, whether it was full-time or part-time, etc.). We take all of that information and remove the names, so when the students come in, they can say“ I’m looking for an internship in banking,” and we can say, “These are the geographic locations students have pursued opportunities in, these are examples of organizations, these are the job functions that they were in” – whatever kind of information we can give to help them make an informed decision. If they’re thinking “I really want to be in a certain field, but I don’t really know what I want to be doing,” we have a database of information to draw on and say, “These are the types of internships you could be doing in this area.” Students can complete the survey at

CB: So, it’s not just a survey, it’s also a tool for learning for the Princeton community.

AR: Absolutely. When students complete the survey, they’re also really helping their peers and future students who will benefit from the information. It also helps us to determine things like which fields our students are interested in so we can factor that into our employer outreach. It’s a great tool. I encourage all students to fill it out before the November deadline. The link is in CareerNews every Monday.

CB: So it sounds like you’re busy with a lot of things. Tell me about your average day in Career Services.

AR: It’s a lot of meetings with students! Many students are coming in right now with resume/cover letter questions. Some students are already starting career exploration, so they’re trying to figure out “What might I want to do this summer? Do I want to do an internship? Do I want to study abroad? What would help prepare me for a job search once I graduate?” Most of my day is spent speaking with students, researching for students to find resources for them if they’re going for something more specialized, coordinating the survey and planning programs that cover broad areas of career exploration and preparation. A lot of administrative tasks fold into helping the students.

CB: Do you have any hobbies that you’d like to share?

AR: I do! I like to read. I’m currently Casey,-Andeareading the newest Dan Brown book, Inferno. It’s fantastic, as all of his books are. I really enjoy fiction because it’s a great escape, but I also really like biographies and anything written by the Heath brothers or Malcolm Gladwell. I also enjoy running or practicing yoga – it clears my mind and I love the stress relief.

CB: We all do around here sometimes, especially in the fall! Do you have any particular academic or professional subjects that really interest you?

AR: I was a psychology major, and my master’s is in counseling, so I really like thinking and learning about how the human mind works and how emotions play into that. I used to do research in human emotion and scent, which is a really interesting topic. So I do keep tabs on that field because I think it’s so fascinating.

CB: That’s really interesting. What’s the number-one piece of advice you want to give to students who are looking toward their career paths, into internships or their jobs in the future.

AR: I think at times it’s di cult for students to follow their heart, because they know that they’re interested in or passionate about one thing – and they’re being pulled that way by their heart – but another part of them is saying “But I really should be doing this” or “everybody else is doing this.” My advice would be to go with your heart, do what you’re passionate about. If you’re excited by something, and you can’t wait to learn more about it, and you want to work on it or do research on it or do something professionally with it, listen to your inner voice. We typically succeed the most doing what we love.

CB: Great, thanks so much.

AR: Thank you, Casey.

The Best Post-Career Fair Follow Up Email You’ve Ever Written

After a Career Fair, there comes the follow-up. If you made contacts at the fair last Friday, now is the time to send a short acknowledgment of this interaction you shared.

Typing activityYou don’t have to be a super hero, but a little etiquette goes a long way to ensure that the job search isn’t just a frantic expedition (anyone remember Legend of the Hidden Temple?). This isn’t a game show and we don’t have to climb through mazes or swing on plastic vines to ‘win.’ Thankfully, this is the real world and leaving a lasting post-career fair impression is as simple as writing an email.

Here are some tips that will help you set a personal record in follow up email writing:

  1. Keep it professional. Even if it’s an email and you’re tempted to put an emoticon. Just don’t do it. Also, don’t send a thank you note from your phone. Autocorrect is one thing, but even if you spell everything correctly, think of that “sent from my iPhone” message at the bottom. Right—not a good look. A professional tone shows you’re serious about the job.
  2. Send it now! The career fair came and went. If you’re the kind of person who sends holiday thank you notes in March, fight your nature before your contacts have forgotten you! Write a note NOW! Besides, being prompt is an integral part of putting your best foot forward. Which brings me to…
  3. Helping your interviewer remember you. Jog their memories, and perhaps mention a topic of conversation. The first line is a good place to reference where you met and under what circumstances (Career Fair, of course).
  4. Affirm your interest. Perhaps you were passionate about a certain position the company offered. Mention that again and take the chance to reconnect that with your strengths. Being forward is often expected.
  5. Wait, there’s more? Offering to provide additional information is always helpful to both parties. Maybe you’re not writing an email, but in fact a cover letter as part of a job application. If so, then turn here for more information.

Bottom line, if you consider working for and with a professional community after graduation, the Career Fair conversation could be your first person-to-person interaction within this community. The follow up email could be your second, so here’s your chance to make it count!

Career Fairs Are Not Just for Seniors and Juniors!

Welcome to Campus!  The General Interest Career Fair is coming up on campus in a few days. That’s right—you can find employers, companies, post-grad programs—maybe even a J-O-B!

9777This Friday over 100 organizations will be there to greet you, hear your elevator pitch, and discuss their organizations as well as the post-grad opportunities they offer.

Freshmen and sophomores sometimes erroneously believe that they should not go to the career fair until junior or senior year.  This is a common misperception. Here are some excuses heard around campus:

I’m a freshman. I don’t need to start thinking about a career!

I have no idea what I want to do post-graduation, let alone for the next six years—let alone for the rest of my life! Yikes!

But Rocky’s lunch looks so good, and I already missed the curly fries last week!

First of all, I love curly fries as much as the next Rockyite, both let’s face it: both lunch and the Career Fair last for a while. There’s no reason you can’t eat curly fries AND focus on your future between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm this Friday. The career fair is for all students and offers the chance to start thinking about careers as well as making valuable contacts for your future.

Second, if you have no idea what you want to do 9959post-graduation, a Career Fair is the perfect place to do your research. You can either spend your time looking at stock photos of smiling faces on company websites—or you can talk face-to-face with a real representative from that company. Talk about a no-brainer. Even a brief conversation with representatives from different sectors can give you the lay-of-the-land on some career options. You might even change your mind about your career path or find a new avenue to pursue.

And if you end up in the “well….maybe grad school” zone, that’s useful information, too! In that case, make sure you make your calendar for the Grad and Professional School Fair on Oct. 4 from 12:30-3:30pm.

And finally, freshmen and sophomores—all we can offer you is a big, emphatic invitation “Come to the Career Fair!”

That’s right. Career Fairs are not just for seniors and juniors. Here are some more reasons why:

  1. It’s great practice for presenting yourself—putting a suit on (which tie should I wear), dusting off the elevator pitch (or starting one).
  2. Freshman can land internships over the summer. (What?) I’ll say it again: Freshmen can get summer internships, too!
  3. Networking takes time, and there’s no time like the present. 9881Besides, it’s great to get connected with circles outside your hometown network, especially if you’re interested in branching out after graduation.
  4. There’s no (well, almost no) pressure! When you get to be old like us seniors, you might look back and wish you took the opportunity to visit a career fair before the prospect is accompanied by jolting memories of A Chorus Line songs (Read: “I really need this job!”). Not that we seniors are thinking that! Of course not….

Here’s a few resources for front-running freshmen and smart seniors alike:

Here’s information on how to work a Career Fair.

Check TigerTracks for a list of the employers coming to the fair. Then, do some research so you know the right questions to ask!

Here’s how to keep your wardrobe classy and professional.

9976Once you look the nicest you’ve looked since your graduation photo, hop over to our Linked In Photo Booth to get a professional headshot taken!

What are Princeton students doing over the summer?

Answer: An awful lot! Check out this video to get a glimpse at the plans some students have in store!

The past few weeks I went around campus interviewing students about their summer plans. From freshmen to upperclassmen, students are abuzz with blueprints for travel, research, study, and work in a wide variety of sectors from law to engineering, nonprofit work to language classes. While it’s not surprising to see Princeton students engaged, there was one trend that I didn’t expect–Princeton is going global in a HUGE way. Whether through Princeton’s International Internship Program or for senior thesis research, students are increasingly seeking experiences abroad. In fact, last year 27% of students reported spending some or all of their summer abroad. It seems like that number just keeps growing!

Here’s one caveat: If you DON’T have structured summer plans right now–no sweat. First of all, it’s your summer, and you should do what YOU want to do. Now, if what you want to do is land an internship, you’re not too late! Check out TigerTracks for the latest job postings, or make an appointment with a Career Services career counselor before classes end to discuss your opportunities. 

See you in September!

Seniors, what are your post-graduation plans?


Wow, I can’t believe it. Three years ago, as a sophomore, I began working in Career Services as a Communications and Marketing intern. During this time, I learned so many new skills in the communications arena. I know so much more about social media and social media marketing as well as a lot of other facets of being a GREAT communications professional. I had the opportunity to assist at many Career Services events where I got to connect with so many alumni and employers over the years—and, of course, the Career Services staff. This is one of the things I will miss most about this job.

I’ve loved working with each and every member of the Career Services team. During my time in the office each week, I was able to talk to about life on and off-campus as well as get answers to my many career-related questions. I urge anyone who has not taken the time to visit the office to meet the staff and make use of its many resources to do so ASAP. You are truly doing yourself a disservice if you don’t!

For my last blog, I decided to hit campus to talk to fellow seniors about their post-graduation plans.  I wanted to know all the cool and exciting things my fellow seniors will be pursuing after they leave Princeton.  Some students are planning to head off to full time employment after graduation, while others are planning to travel and do cool programs such as Princeton In Asia. Not every senior knows what they are doing after graduation just yet and that’s totally fine. Some are still considering their options and/or developing a plan of action for their post-graduation job search. Others have decided to take the summer off for some much needed R&R.

So what will I be doing next year? Great Question. I am pleased to announce that next year I will be a Puttkammer Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City.  I will be working with the Center on Sentencing and Corrections helping with the Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education project as well as helping to develop a volunteer-based education model that will be implemented in three different U.S. states. I’ll also be dipping my feet into some cool social media and media relations projects! I’m so excited for my next year at the Vera Institute and hope to blog there, too.  I am also in the process of developing my own brand management/social media consultant freelance services company. I’m hoping to take this passion of my mine and turn it into something bigger!

For those who don’t have a clear sense of what path you want to pursue just yet, my advice to you is not to worry. You’ll figure it out.  For those who do know– good luck!  I hope you pursue your passions and embark on a journey that will yield much success for you in the future. We made it, you guys! We’ve finally reached what we have been working so hard for the last four years… so do well on those finals and I’ll see you all at graduation!  To my readers, I want to thank you for following my blog. This is a not goodbye, but rather, see you later.

I’m only an email or a tweet away. If you want to stay in contact with me, feel free to connect with me on Linkedin or via email at Also, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@rainshineluv).  I know the next year will be filled with many great opportunities. Thank you Career Services! Thank you Princeton! Thank you to everyone who has helped and guided me to where I am now.

~ On behalf of the entire Career Services’ staff, we wish Rana Campbell ’13 all of the very best! We will truly miss her in Career Services!

Internships 101: A No-Brainer Guide

Don’t call 411. If you’re deciding if you should pursue an internship this summer, there’s a simple answer.

Go for it.

bigstock_Attractive_young_business_prof_15703601To those unacquainted, internships are the star power of a job world that’s way tougher than Nintendo 64. They’re excellent ways to explore possible career fields as well as build experience and workplace skills. It’s best to have one to two internships under your belt by the time you graduate. Often, recruiters will even prefer candidates that have experience in two internships.

Here’s the no-brainer list. Make sure you know the following before moving on to the next level:
Level Zero: THE QUESTIONS PHASE. Every young child goes through this phase. So does every internship seeker, so before proceeding, consider the following:

  • What careers pique my interest?
  • Am I interested in a particular type of organization, i.e. government or nonprofit?
  • What do I want to do on the job? Usually you’ll do one or more of the following—research, conduct office activities, assist planning, write, work in a lab, and problem solve.
  • Where do I want to be?
  • Are dollars important to me? (i.e. Do I want to get paid?)

Level One: THE BASICS. You’re ready to go. Now for some updates.

  • Read Career Services’ weekly CareerNews e-mail every Monday for a list of opportunities and deadlines as well as workshops and events to help you build the job search skills you need.
  • Update your resume and draft a cover letter. If you need a “cheat sheet” check out the Career Planning Guide.
  • Practice your interviewing skills, and not just to the mirror– although that works, too. Attend workshops or schedule a mock interview to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Level Two: THE SEARCH. Welcome to the stage of the furrowed brows, Nicholas Cage-style. This, actually, is the fun part.

bigstock_Portrait_Of_A_Female_Executive_1576130Your bright, shiny new internship is just around the corner. Don’t forget to follow up with employers 10-14 days after applying. It is not too late to continue applying in April. There are still plenty of internship postings coming in to Career Services; some are just waiting for someone (like you, perhaps) to fill them!



Common Conundrums: Job and Interview FAQs

As my peers and I search for jobs bigstockphoto_Your_Career_340932and summer internships, a few sticky topics have come up—how do I dress for my interview? Write a follow-up email? Tell an employer about my weaknesses? How can I balance career dreams and community engagement? After researching these questions, I’ve come up with several answers.
Dear friends—I hope this helps!

  1. What is business casual?
    For starters, DON’T break out the flip-flops. Most of you already pass this rule. But how do I look sharp? What does this label even mean? Should I wear khakis or Suit pants? Truth is, for most jobs, this will be your wardrobe. Only a select few dress in business attire every day. Here’s a handy list for dressing up, compiled from our career website.
    DO remember that business casual is more business than casual.
    DON’T look sloppy. Dining hall breakfast garb like sweatpants and t-shirts is, of course, never acceptable. Also, make sure that your “nice” clothes are all neat and well tailored. Nothing too tight or revealing!
    For ladies, DO wear skirts and nice dresses. Make sure they’re not too short.
    Also for ladies, DO try any of the following combinations: dress + cardigan or blazer, or skirt + sweater set, knit top, blouse, button-down, V-neck, centerpiece shirt, or turtleneck.
    For men, DO wear pressed pants with a new photobelt.
    For men, DO wear business formal minus the tie and the jacket. Often, a polo shirt can be appropriate, too.
    If this is for the interview, DO research the company you’re interviewing with beforehand. Often you’ll be free to express more personality in an interview with Google, Facebook, and other computer software companies as well as in the film and fashion industries.
    Bottom line, DO research before getting dressed. If you have questions, contact your interviewer for more information.
  2. How do I write a follow-up email?
    If you’ve seriously applied for jobs and internships, the follow-up stage (or, more accurately, the do-I-follow-up? stage) is fully stocked with opportunities!  Check out Alison Green’s short, snappy follow-up email for a good model:
  3. Tackling the “what’s your greatest weakness?” question.
    Kryptonite? Narcissism? Well, to be honest, nothing!
    Needless to say, these answers won’t fly in the job interview. This is a tricky question, and when an interviewer asks many of these questions, it’s to your advantage to think creatively and show that you are a thoughtful, self-reflective human being. You’re not Superman, and even wearing a Super-suit and cape to your interview won’t prove that. (Note: do not test this theory. See section on Business Casual above.)
    DON’T spin a weakness into a strength. “I don’t have any weaknesses,” “None that I know of,” “I frequently work overtime at the expense of my social life,” “I’m so efficient that I don’t have to delegate” are all great weaknesses to have. But for the interview, you can do better.
    DO use this model. Wetfeet identifies a three-part system to answering this question. First, identify a real weakness. Next, show how you’ve improved upon that weakness. Third, celebrate your improvement. That way you’ll come across as human and fallible but still determined and adept at problem solving.
  4. As a senior, do I “give back” or pursue a life-long dream?
    In a perfect world, you’ll be doing both next year—painting, dancing, writing, breaking into fashion or film, trying your hand as an actor. Why not? You’re young and there’s no (or, well, few) strings attached!
    Yet, you’ve had an uncommon opportunity in education…you feel like you should give back right away. What do you do?
    Often, you can do both. Rana Campbell, a senior and Sociology major, plans to pursue her dream job in the media industry while also giving back where and when she can—through a local afterschool program or as a volunteer for a program like Peety Greene Prisoner Assistance Program, where she has volunteered weekly for all four years of her undergraduate career.
    For others, it’s a service job and a dream on the side. Landed a job in consulting? You can still take dance class at night. What about travel? Are you taking a job abroad and itching to write a novel? No time like the present!
    Look to the Alumni Careers Network to find previous Princeton grads that are currently carving the path you desire. You’ll find that a career might take you on paths you never even imagined!
  5. How do I find jobs if I want to work in a particular city in the U.S.?
    Oh, so you want to work in New York? Easy. We’ve got that one in the bag.
    Other cities aren’t so easy to scope out. As an east coast school in New Jersey, we might be a bit partial to our neighboring cities when it comes to jobs. That being said, there are some easy steps to take to find a job—wherever you may wish to be next year.
    First, on TigerTracks and UCAN, the search feature allows you to list postings by location as well as by keyword. Bam. Done.
    Second, check out Even though you’re not technically going abroad, the website has a wealth of organizations listed for major U.S. cities. You can browse their lists by city, and then more closely by industry.

Question of the Week # 9: “How do I manage looking for a job and writing my thesis?”

“How do I manage looking for a job and writing my thesis?”  – Mary Adeogun ‘13

If you are a senior like me, you have a lot on your plate right now! Between classes, finishing your thesis, and staying involved in extracurriculars, it’s hard to find time for something really important to most seniors… the JOB SEARCH. There’s a lot that you have to do and not a lot of time to actually do it.  Though this time of the year can be especially busy, it is important to try to keep a balance and prioritize. Your job search is similar to any other endeavor in that your results will be directly proportionate to the amount of time and effort you expend. Don’t forget to leave time each week for your job search tasks.  Here are some easy tips to manage your time efficiently.

  1. Make your breaks worthwhile. It’s not reasonable to think that you can write for 24 hours straight (and it’s not good on your eyes).  Typing activityWrite in one hour chunks and thentake a break. Trust me, you’ll be more productive if you set realistic goals. Make your breaks something that you can look forward to. Maybe one of your breaks can be looking up jobs using social media networks. Create a daily schedule of breaks and make sure to include at least 2-3 (20-minute) blocks of time that you dedicate to looking for jobs. If you want it to happen, and you plan for it, it will!  Set alarms on your phone to remind you when these breaks will happen.
  2. Make an appointment with a Career Counselor.   Arrange some time to get away from academic work. Career counselors are here to help you. Maybe you need someone to vent to about your job search worries? Maybe you need someone to help refine your job search strategies? Take this time to get completely away from your thesis for thirty minutes. The Career Services office is pretty relaxing (it’s definitely better than being stuck in your dungeon-like carrel) and provides a change of scenery for thesis-stressed minds. You will also feel good about making the time to do something for yourself and focusing on life after Princeton.
  3. Set up Search Agents & Subscribe to Industry Newsletters.  You might be too busy to comb websites daily for the latest openings. Aggregating content is a great way to save time.  Make sure your TigerTracks profile is up to date based on your current interests (these may have evolved over the four years since your profile was created). You will receive emails as opportunities in your field of interest are posted. In addition, you can usually set up job search agents on company sites or other job boards. You can set up how frequent you want alerts. Another useful tip is to subscribe to industry newsletters. As someone who is interested in media and communications, I subscribe to the Mediabistro daily newsletter.  I like to set aside some time each day to read through my emails and check out what’s happening in the industry. This is a great way to keep up-to-date and save time while doing so. Because you are so busy right now, let the information come to you!
  4. Listen to Career Talks Online While Writing.  You might be the type of person who likes to listen to music while writing. While this is great for focusing, why not change around what’s coming into your sensory pathways? The Internet is filled with career-focused webinars, career advice videos, and professional testimonials that are available for free. Instead of opening iTunes, try listening to an inspirational career talk.  Not only will you be writing your thesis but you will also be gaining useful career information and advice.bigstockphoto_Graduation__1766172
  5. Relax. One of the best things you can do during this time period is to just relax! You will be able to get everything done—from your thesis to your job search. The latter may take a little time, but just remember to keep positive through everything. Graduation is right around the corner!

Finding Your Niche: Visual Arts

Often, the visual arts, archaeology, and art history get a bad rap. Word on the street may suggest that these majors aren’t exactly practical major choices.   Nevertheless, a major/career in these fields can lead you on many rewarding career paths. Alumni who majored in art and archaeology at Princeton reported a variety of different career plans, from positions as literary agents and research associates, to jobs as lawyers, teachers, analysts, or professors. That being said, you don’t have to look very far outside your major to find job opportunities.

First, here are some resources for jobs in the arts:

Check out this site for a quick synopsis on many various careers available to art history majors: You may find something interesting and unexpected.

Also, here’s a wealth of information on art and architecture resources:

Northern Michigan has a long list of job databases by arts industry, from design to film: is an independent jobs database. The site currently features 880 postings for positions in all kinds of arts and creative nonprofits  Watch out though—this site costs money if you want to look more closely than a casual browse.

Also, if you’re interested in arts and business in New York, check out for information, tutorials, and several internship listings for positions within the organization.

While your possibilities for post-graduate careers are nearly boundless, there’s nonetheless a vibrant, international network of jobs for which your art/art history major uniquely qualifies you—museum jobs. Boy, are there a lot of these.

Of course, this list is not to limit your search. Many a Princeton grad has taken his/her own path with an art/art history degree. Visit the Alumni Career Network to speak with alumni who can tell you more about their personal career journeys. This way, you can learn from the painters, artists, producers, curators, editors, and executives who were once where you are today.