Among the opportunities for Weitzman students to expand their professional horizons outside the studio is a work-study position at Penn Career Services focused on programs tailored to the specific needs of Weitzman students. This year, the position has been held by Christine Hassinger, a first-year Master of City Planning student, who has helped offer more support for students preparing to enter the job market.
The centerpiece of this position is helping to organize the annual Design and Creative Career Fair, a popular gathering of students and industry representatives that’s traditionally held on campus and this year was held online. (It’s also a reunion of sorts for Weitzman alums from around the country who hold recruiting roles at their firms.) In 2020, the position was also tasked with developing a résumé resource guide specifically for design students.
Beginning last fall, Dianne Hull, associate director of career services, worked with Hassinger to develop a series of one-on-one meetings with Weitzman students to help them develop and polish their résumés and cover letters. “We have had a lot of demand from design students for résumé critiques, so we added that as a part of the role this year,” Hull says.
After going through training to conduct the reviews, which have been held on Zoom since January, Hassinger has met with close to 200 Weitzman students. “She's done a lot of work,” says Hull, “and that has been an incredible resource for Weitzman students, particularly because they get their documents reviewed with a short wait time.”
It’s not the first time Hassinger finds herself in this kind of role. She was a peer career advisor when she was an undergraduate at Boston University, and she was tasked with meeting with students from across the university. “It’s nice to be focused specifically on design students,” Hassinger says. “It's a bit easier to be in that one mind space, as opposed to jumping around from meeting with a communications student and then on to someone from another field.”
When asked about how the materials that she is asked to review vary across the School’s departments, she said that planning students tended to need help editing down the information they were sharing. Hassinger says that, among the students she’s met, while “architecture and landscape architecture students are really good with getting their points out,” they need help expanding on the processes and projects they are working to highlight. Another difference: design students consider their résumés and letters as one small component of their portfolio and are working to craft them to be part of that overall package.
Of the virtual format for the reviews, Hassinger says it has worked out, but she is ready to shift back to in-person work. “For me personally, I want everything to be in person,” she says. “I am excited to be sitting across from a real person as opposed to being in front of a computer screen.”