Job Search Timeline

Don’t wait until your senior year to start thinking about your career!  Start taking steps to build professional experience from your first year forward.

First Year

  • Talk to an academic adviser about different engineering majors and your job prospects with one or more majors.
  • Establish a strong grade-point average by working and studying hard. Many employers require a minimum 3.0 GPA for internship or co-op positions.
  • Use Nittany Lion Careers and start looking at internship and co-op postings to see what options may be open to you.
  • Put together a résumé or update your existing résumé. 
  • Create a LinkedIn account and start making connections.
  • Learn the basics of writing a cover letter so you will be prepared to apply for internship or co-op positions.
  • Buy a good-quality interview suit in a classic color and style that you can use for interviews for the next few years (see our Pinterest boards for business professional dress ideas).
  • Attend career fairs and other career-related events where you can meet and network with employers that hire engineering majors. Although most events are held at the University Park campus, students from all Penn State campuses are welcome!
  • Join engineering-related student organizations to make connections with like-minded students and build experience.
  • If you’re an international student, talk to an adviser in the University Office of Global Programs about any special requirements or conditions you may have in order to work in the U.S.
  • Clean up your social media accounts, removing or making private anything that might give future employers a negative impression of you.

Second Year

Third Year

  • Update your résumé and LinkedIn profile with any career-related experience.
  • If you’re transitioning to University Park from another Penn State campus and you need help with your résumé and/or cover letter, contact us as soon as possible—you need to start your job search right away!
  • Use Nittany Lion Careers to find and apply for internship or co-op positions related to your major and career interests.
  • Attend as many recruiting events as possible—including career fairs, networking receptions, and recruitment days—to make connections with recruiters. Ask for business cards from those of interest.
  • Do a mock interview to practice your interview skills.

Fourth or Final Year

  • If you’re planning to go to graduate school, take any required entrance exams (e.g., GRE).
  • Update your résumé and LinkedIn profile to include any engineering-related internship or co-op experience you’ve had.
  • Use Nittany Lion Careers to search and apply for entry-level full-time jobs.
  • Do a mock interview to practice your skills.
  • Contact people in your professional network—current and former employers, faculty members, and/or instructors—to request recommendations.
  • Talk to employers at recruiting events and ask for business cards so you can follow up.

Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations

College of Engineering

117 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-863-1032