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.

Are you ready for Career Fair 2012?

Are you thinking….
Should I go to the career fair? I don’t know…I’m not a senior yet. How useful could it be?

VERY useful. Here’s the deal. This Friday over 116 employers will assemble in Dillon Gym to meet YOU and tell YOU about their organizations. If you’re interested in a full-time job, an internship, or a fellowship, the career fair is a great way to meet representatives of your prospective career or post-grad path. If you are a junior or senior, you probably already knew this. If you are a freshmen or sophomore, you may wonder if it is worth your time to go, or if it is too soon in your college career to speak with employers.

No matter what your class year, you are probably NOT thinking: “This is going to be a breeze.”

Why shouldn’t it? Sure, everyone’s in suits (including you!), but a formal environment doesn’t mean that this isn’t also a learning opportunity. If you’re a freshman or sophomore, this is a great event to attend to get a feel for various industries and to learn how to make a crisp first impression. If you’re nervous, here’s the remedy.

Just think: What does camping in the wilderness and going to a career fair have in common? Answer: You’ll be better off doing both if you’re prepared. 

Here are three ways to get the preparation you need to thrive, not just survive:

  1. Check out Career Fair tips here. There’s more that a little finesse involved in “working” the career fair. These tips will take you from just another student in the crowd to that student—the one on top of her/his game who makes an unforgettably sharp impression. That can—and will—be you!
  2. Research participating employers. TigerTracks has a list of all the employers you’ll meet. Pick some favorites, and do a good Google search. Then, plan some company-specific questions to get the conversation flowing. It will look good when employers see you’re curious AND that you know a thing or two about their companies. 
  3. Get feedback. Career Services is offering extended walk-ins from 2-5 pm every day this week until Thursday. Counselors will offer friendly, expert feedback on your resume and elevator pitch (the way you will introduce yourself to employers). If you’ve never been to a career fair before, this is an excellent opportunity to get prepared.

Okay, if you are thinking: “This isn’t for me. I enjoy curling up with a good textbook. I’m not a meet and greet type of person.“

I have two things to say to this. One, of course you are! You’re (clearly) smart, talented in your own ways, and, if the median person on campus is any indication, you’re really, really, ridiculously good looking. Two, in that case at least come for the LinkedIn Photo Booth. Career Services will be offering free professional headshots near the gym entrance. This is a great way to professionalize your LinkedIn profile and get rid of that mystery photo at the top of your page. 

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the fair—come early and come prepared!

Seniors, Make Time to Visit Career Services Now!

If you are anything like me, you are pretty darn busy this week.  Midterms + Thesis??  Yikes!!  So in keeping with the spirit of the week, I will try to keep this first blog post short and sweet.  In this post, I wanted to highlight the importance of visiting Career Services at least once before graduation, particularly if you don’t have your plans for life beyond the FitzRandolph Gate figured out (if you do, congratulations!!!).  Below are some of the most common reasons students give for not visiting Career Services, followed by my comments on how visiting Career Services would actually be beneficial for these students:

  • “I have no idea what I want to do after graduation, so coming in to Career Services would be unproductive.” –  Not at all!  On the contrary, Career Services can help you figure out what types of industries & jobs you are a good fit for.  Career Services offers a variety of self-assessments and career inventories that can help you identify your interests, strengths, and work environment preference (  These assessments are always followed up by a one-hour conversation with a counselor to interpret the results.  Beyond these formal assessments, the counselors at Career Services also have years of experience, empathy, and above all, honest advice to share with students.  I know from personal experience that meeting with counselors and brainstorming about potential areas of interest can be a powerful tool in helping to identify what you feel passionate about – it was through the advice of one of the counselors, who motivated me to “pursue my interests and seek a job in the industry that you are passionate about” that I decided to make the transition from financial services to technology consulting for my full-time job, and I couldn’t be any happier about my decision.
  • “I already know what I want to do after graduation, so there is nothing for me to gain from Career Services.” –  If you already have a game plan in mind for life after graduation, that’s great!  But this is only the first of many steps.  The vast majority of full-time positions require you to submit a resume ( in order for your candidacy to be considered, and many employers also require you to include a cover letter (  From personal experience, I can say that it is almost impossible to put together the perfect resume or cover letter on your first go.  Even if you have a 4.0 GPA, are heavily involved in numerous interesting extracurricular activities, and speak 10 languages fluently, it is likely that some employers will throw your resume or cover letter out if it is poorly formatted or undersells your experiences.  The career counselors at Career Services can help you overcome these potential pitfalls and put together the perfect resume & cover letter so that you can give potential future employers the best possible first impression. 
  • “Career Services can only help students interested in certain industries.”  – This is not true at all.  The career counselors at Career Services have years of expertise in advising students interested in a wide range of different industries (  Moreover, they are willing to go out of their way to help students, even when they are not directly familiar with the industries at hand.  Although none of the career counselors knew about microfinance or internships in Chile during my internship search in sophomore year, they went out of their way to do research on the field in order to give me some pointers to make sure I could submit a solid application.  Furthermore, a friend who wanted to find a summer internship in China for the summer after graduation ended up finding one through suggestions put forth by a Career Services counselor.  No matter what your area of interest is, counselors at Career Services are committed to helping you succeed in your job hunt.
  • “It’s too late in the year to go in/ I don’t have time/ I will figure it out by myself after I graduate.” – It’s not too late.  You can spare 30 minutes.  And will you really be able to find a job with no one’s help?  The numbers say otherwise.  One of the things that impressed me the most about working at Career Services over the past 3 years is the great number of young alums who call to ask for help in finding a job or consolidating other post-graduation plans.  While these graduates typically have different areas of interest, nearly all of them share one striking similarity – prior to that phone call, they had never interacted with Career Services.  Coincidence?  I think not.  To be sure, career counselors are always happy to speak with and help Princeton alumni. However, it’s undeniable that it is much more difficult to build rapport and develop a strong  relationship with a counselor if your interactions are limited to over-the-phone conversations.  Furthermore, it goes without saying that editing resumes and cover letters is a task that is done much more easily face-to-face.  By meeting with a career counselor before leaving Princeton, you can avoid the hurdles that accompany starting the job hunt after leaving life in the Orange Bubble. 

So there you have it, seniors.  There’s really no reason to procrastinate getting your job hunt off to a good start.  Close out of Facebook, get off PrincetonFML, and stop watching Jenna Marbles videos. Making an appointment is super easy – just call Career Services at 609-258-3325 or schedule online at  Alternatively, come to walk-in hours from 3-5 PM Mondays through Fridays (the sign-up sheet goes out at 2:45 PM, so I suggest getting there a bit early).  Look forward to your calls!

P.S. In the coming weeks, Career Services will be sending a preliminary survey to the senior class to get a sense of where their career interests and plans are at this point.  The primary purpose of this survey is to better understand the needs of the senior class so that counselors can address them more efficiently in the coming months.  Seniors, this is your chance to communicate with Career Services and let them know what YOU need help with so that they can be better equipped to help – don’t pass it up!  Be sure to complete the survey when it comes out.