The PhilaU Difference: Connecting Students with Jobs and Meaningful Career Paths

Top employers recruit interns and employees at PhilaU's Design Expo.

Top employers recruit full-time employees and interns at PhilaU’s Design Expo.

Year after year, Philadelphia University graduates achieve great success both in the workplace and graduate school admissions. For the class of 2014, the most recent year surveyed, an impressive 95 percent of graduates secured employment or have been accepted to graduate school.

PhilaU graduates, in fact, have achieved an average 95 percent employment and graduate school acceptance rate since 2012, according to annual surveys conducted by the Marianne Able Career Services Center at Philadelphia University. Historically, the employment and graduate school success rate has been above 90 percent.

In the following interview, Career Services Director Tracy DePedro discusses how PhilaU students achieve their professional goals through an innovative, collaborative curriculum that includes internships and real-world projects with industry education partners, comprehensive career planning tools, professional development resources, and job and internship search assistance available from their first day on campus.

Career Services Director Tracy DePedro

Career Services Director Tracy DePedro

Q: PhilaU is the model for professional education in the 21st century and is focused on career achievement. What makes PhilaU graduates so successful?

A:  Philadelphia University provides a unique interdisciplinary and collaborative academic experience that is highly valued in the workplace and by graduate schools. Professional development and practice is a primary focus of our faculty, as well as student services such as the Career Services Center. Internships with industry leaders, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Tommy Hilfiger, PVH and Federal-Mogul, and industry engagement opportunities with top companies, such as Verizon, Johnson & Johnson and Comcast, are embedded in the curriculum as cornerstones that provide students with the knowledge and skills to succeed throughout their careers. PhilaU students also participate in immersive study abroad, volunteer, leadership and other experiential learning opportunities that result in career-ready graduates with resumes rich in education and experience.

Q: Do employers recruit on campus?

A: Yes, we have a robust employer relations and recruiting program. We host three career fairs every year, each with a specific focus that aligns with industry recruitment needs. PhilaU’s unique Design Expo offers students the opportunity to meet one-on-one with multiple employers to review their portfolios in a fast-paced networking event. At our annual Career and Internship Fair, sought-after companies pursue students from a range of academic majors, including science, health, business and the liberal arts. Throughout the year, many employers participate in panel discussions, information sessions and classroom presentations on campus.

Q: What resources does the Career Services Center provide to help students connect with internships and jobs?

A: We offer a full range of career services and workshops for all students, including:

  • Career counseling, advising and coaching
  • Resume, cover letter and application material development
  • Interview preparation and mock interviews
  • Social media branding/LinkedIn profile development
  • Academic internship program
  • Job search strategy sessions
  • Graduate school preparation
  • Career/Major exploration
  • Industry research and job search tools
  • CareerLink job posting site

Q: How do PhilaU alumni connections help our students secure jobs and internships?

A: Our alumni are some of our biggest supporters. They know firsthand the value of a PhilaU education. This year, more than 50 alumni represented their firms at the Design Expo recruitment event. Our graduates also offer professional development advice at events such as the Alumni Portfolio Showcase offered every fall. Alumni regularly post internship and full-time positions on our CareerLink job and internship database. In addition, we manage an alumni/student mentor group on LinkedIn, called PhilaU Connect, where alumni and students can form mentoring relationships and gain networking contacts. The Career Services Center partners with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations on several annual events.

Q: When should students start thinking about internships?

A Nike representative interviews job candidates at PhilaU's Design Expo.

A Nike representative interviews job candidates at PhilaU’s Design Expo.

A:  We encourage students to start researching potential internships as early as freshman year. While employers typically offer the most competitive internships to juniors and seniors, there also are many internships that provide valuable experience to underclassmen. The Career Services Center also partners with PhilaU’s dedicated faculty members, who provide invaluable industry and professional connections for internships and jobs. And many students have received internship and post-graduate job offers from industry partners they have worked with on sponsored projects. The opportunities are plentiful, and the earlier students can clarify their career goals, the better.

Q: What advice do you have for students beginning their job search?

A: Get organized and take action. The job search is a process. It takes time to create effective application materials and gain the confidence needed to showcase one’s talents. The earlier students begin to work with us to develop a plan of action to reach their goals, the more effective the process will be. So, come to the Career Services Center early and often to work with our staff on networking and making key professional connections.

Q: What is one step students can take today to improve their resumes?

A: First of all, take advantage of all the learning and co-curricular opportunities available at PhilaU, both in and out of the classroom, and highlight these skills on your resume. Then, have one of our career services professionals review it. We review resumes daily and get feedback from employers on what they are looking for in a resume. We can help students tailor their resumes to specific positions and make sure all the vital information is included.

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