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What Does It Take to Land a Job Today?

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Summary: Is someone you know not having the success in the job hunt that they would like? Learn how they can achieve greater success in this article.


Question: I have a son at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, one of the top business schools in the country. He is a finance major with a 3.75 grade-point average. He speaks Japanese, Spanish, and some Chinese, but in light of the current job market, he isn’t getting interviews with companies he would normally be pursuing. Will this market change anytime soon? Where should he go to seek employment?

Answer: The economic slump has put a dent in many students’ high hopes. Expectations may have to be scaled back, at least in terms of an easy ticket into the best firms. That’s not to say there are no tickets at all, just that searches are taking longer: six to nine months is in the ballpark.

Employers will be harder to impress with the balance shifting toward a temporary oversupply of competitive candidates. The combination of a Wharton degree and exceptional foreign-language skills should be distinguishing qualifications, but resourcefulness and persistence will be required. Any internships or work experience that demonstrate accomplishments in the business world will further enhance opportunities for interviews.

Expanding the targeted employers beyond the big firms may open doors that will provide a stepping-stone into a dream position in another year or so. Smaller firms, government offices, and corporations needing compatible foreign-language skills offer the potential for career growth and development.

Extraordinary times are best weathered with both short- and long-term goals in mind. Check with the M.B.A. Career Management Team at Wharton for additional guidance and resources to ride out the storm.

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What Does It Take to Land a Job Today? by
Authored by: Andrew Ostler

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