Guides

This page features resources for undergraduate and graduate students covering common career development topics including: 

Exploration & Planning

First-Year Guide

This guide features tips, resources and events you should start to explore during your first year as a Princeton student.

Sophomore Guide

This guide features tips, resources and events you should start to explore during your sophomore year. 

Junior & Senior Guide

As a junior or senior, your timeline, next steps and search strategies will vary based on your interests and timeline for securing opportunities. This guide covers how to start figuring out your next steps, explore options and address common career development topics. 

Ph.D. Transferable Skills Self-Assessment

As a Ph.D. student, you develop a diverse array of skills that build upon and expand beyond your research and teaching. PDF iconThis worksheet will help you assess your current strengths and weaknesses so you can identify areas that you need to work on during your graduate journey.

Individual Development Plan (IDP) for Graduate Students

Learn how to create an IDP, which is a dynamic, on-going career management tool to help you:

  • Develop mutually-agreed upon academic and career objectives with your mentor(s) and/or adviser(s)
  • Stay on track and make progress toward these ever-evolving goals

Resume & Cover Letter

Resumes (undergraduate students)

Employers often spend only 15-30 seconds scanning a resume, so it must work hard to quickly communicate your skills and value. Think of it as a marketing tool that shows that your product (you) meets the needs of your potential customer (the employer).

A resume is a succinct outline of your education, experience, activities, accomplishments and skills as they pertain to your career goals. Effective resumes get noticed because they:

  • Emphasize relevant accomplishments and potential contributions
  • Focus on the skills and requirements of a specific field or position
  • Are concise, well-organized and easy to read 

Need help getting starting? Check out our PDF iconresume guide which includes great advice, worksheets and samples to help you get started or update your existing documents.

Resumes (graduate students)

A resume is a succinct outline of your education, experience, activities, accomplishments and skills as they pertain to your career goals. 

Learn the PDF icondifferences between a CV and a resume, and how to PDF icontransform your CV to a resume

Cover Letters (undergraduate students)

Most job or internship applications require a cover letter as well as a resume. A well-written cover letter introduces your resume and directs your reader’s attention to specific areas of your background. 

It’s important to personalize your cover letters, and there is more to it than mentioning the organization’s name a few times or quoting the job description. Doing this well means thinking about your target audience and demonstrating the value you can add to your future employer.

Need help getting starting? Check out our PDF iconcover letter guide for advice, worksheets and samples to help you get started or update your existing documents. 

Cover Letters (graduate students)

A well-written cover letter can set you apart from other candidates. PDF iconLearn how to develop a cover letter that complements your resume and communicates your value to potential employers. 


Internship & Job Search

Planning Your Summer

If your summer plans are disrupted or unclear for any reason, this guide will help you to explore possible alternatives beyond traditional internships or study abroad programs and create your own summer experiences. 

Federal Government Internship and Job Search

The job and internship search for federal government roles is different than a search in the private and nonprofit sectors. This guide covers resources, preparation and the advice you need for applying to internships and jobs within the government.

State and Local Government Internship and Job Search Guide

The search for state and local government roles is different from a search in the private and nonprofit sectors. This guide includes information about hiring, compensation and benefits, and how to find internship and job opportunities within state and local government.

Planning Your Full-Time Job Search

The job search process can be exciting and stressful. This guide will help you plan your search, reduce stress and frame your expectations.

We encourage you to make an appointment with a career adviser to get support with this regardless of where you are in the process, particularly if you are feeling confused or overwhelmed.

Job Search Resources for International Students

This guide features information on work authorizations, how to research employers hiring international students and global job search sites. 

Programs for Recent Graduates

These are fixed-term — typically six months to three years — opportunities that begin soon after graduation. Common opportunities that fall under this category include fellowships, rotational programs and post-graduation internships. Many recent graduates pursue these as part of gap or glide years before law, medical or graduate school, while others use these opportunities to try something new.

Learn more about these programs, resources Princeton offers and if they may be a good option for you. 

Funding Resources

Funding is available from Princeton-affiliated sources for Princeton students who independently secure unpaid internships, propose special projects or plan to conduct independent research.

SAFE Funding Portal

The Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE) connects students with university funding for a range of activities on- and off-campus, including internships, summer study abroad, senior thesis research projects or other independent projects.

Additional Princeton Resources

Fellowships for Independent Projects

The following is a sample of awards that require applicants to propose an independent project.

Martin A. Dale ’53 Fellowship: Awarded for an independent project of extraordinary merit that will widen the recipient’s experience of the world and significantly enhance his or her personal growth and intellectual development.

Princeton ReachOut ’56 Fellowship: Open to Princeton seniors who commit to spend their first post-graduation year performing a public interest project. It emphasizes innovative and entrepreneurial projects.

Daniel M. Sachs ’60 Graduating Scholarship: The Scholarship’s core concern is to encourage the development of individuals whose life’s work is likely to benefit the public interest. The Sachs Scholarship at Worcester College, University of Oxford allows the Sachs Scholar to read for any appropriate degree from the University of Oxford. The Sachs Global Scholarship enables study at any foreign institution or the pursuit of an independent program of the Scholar’s own devising.

Funding for International Projects

The Office of International Programs maintains information on the range of fellowships and awards.

Academic Departments

Some academic departments have funding available for students who do work related to their concentration or to that field of study. Please check with each department for current information.

Make the Most of Your Internship

Internships provide a valuable experience to develop skills and clarity about your career interests. These resources will help you get the most out of your experience. 


Networking

Five-Step Guide to Networking

Your Princeton experience offers frequent opportunities to naturally engage in networking — sometimes without even realizing it — including: 

  • Professors’ office hours
  • Event speakers and panelists
  • Career fairs, employer events and professional conferences
  • Summer internships or volunteer opportunities with your manager and coworkers
  • Connections made through on-campus jobs
  • Student organizations and volunteer opportunities 
  • Reunions
  • Princeton alumni clubs near your hometown, post-graduation location or the summer location
  • City Treks and Princeternships through the Center for Career Development

This guide will help you through every step of networking from how to get started to maintaining your relationships. 

Informational Interviews

Learn about the benefits of information interviews and discover resources that will help you plan and conduct them with alumni and other professionals. 

Tools to Connect with Alumni

Whether you are making decisions about academics, life at Princeton or potential careers, alumni are often eager to offer advice and referrals. Learn about resources to help you identify and connect with alumni. 

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is your short (30-60 second) professional introduction. A prepared elevator pitch will help you start a conversation with potential employers, faculty members, alumni and others. Learn how to create your pitch in five steps

LinkedIn Tips and Resources

LinkedIn is a tool for networking and job and internship searches. From searching and connecting with alumni to learning a new skill, think of LinkedIn as your lifelong career management tool. Learn about resources that will help you create an effective student profile and start to connect with others

Prepare for an In-Person Career Fair

Before the event

Learn about the attendees

HireTiger Career Fairs present a great deal of opportunity in a short amount of time, and it's important to arrive with a plan. Making connections with alumni and employers before you start looking for internships and jobs can help you get your foot in the door. It is also a great way to explore the types of industries and professions that match your skills and interests.

For fairs, you can view the list of employer organizations in the Fair listing in Handshake. In addition to a description of the organization, you can also find what types of positions they are hiring for and other details.

Come prepared

Make a list of questions for employers and alumni you plan to approach. Most questions will depend on your own motivations and research, but a few general questions that are helpful include:

  • "Can you tell me more about the projects interns/new employees have worked on in the past?"
  • "What do you love about your work?"
  • If the person is an alum(na), ask how their Princeton experience was helpful in their career and about the work they do.

Develop your introduction

This is a perfect time to use your elevator pitch. State your name, your year in school, concentration or area of interest and a few of your industry-related skills.

Need some pointers on your elevator pitch? Put one together in five steps

During the event

Be considerate

Don't stand out in anyone's memory for the wrong reasons. Make eye contact during conversations, don't interrupt and thank everyone for their time. If there are other students around, don't hesitate to invite them into the conversation. Also, be aware of the time. There may be a line of students behind you who are also trying to speak with the same person.

Close the conversation

Thank the person for their time and gather contact information so you can follow up.

Ideally, mention something you learned from them to establish a connection.

After the event

Follow up

There are many ways to follow up on the leads you will acquire at a career fair. If you receive a business card, send an email or call to establish contact. When you follow up, thank the contact for their time and reference something you learned during your conversation or the next steps you plan to make as a result of the interaction.

Prepare for a Virtual Career Fair

The HireTigers Virtual Career Fair is the online version of the career fair typically hosted on campus. Learn more about the differences and tips to make the most out of a virtual event


Interviews

Interview Guide

Whether this is your very first formal interview or you just want to brush up on your interviewing skills, PDF iconthis guide covers preparation tips and more nuanced advice for specific types of interviews.

Case Interview Preparation

If you're interested in opportunities in the consulting field you will need to prepare for case interviews. This guide covers the basics of case interviews and provides resources to help you get ready. 

Quant Interview Preparation

A quantitative (quant) interview is designed to help the interviewer understand how you think, and may include specific industry references including financial terms, economic theories or established mathematical models. This guide covers the basics of quant interviews and provides resources to help you get ready. 

Technical Interview Preparation

A technical interview is designed to help an organization evaluate a candidate’s knowledge of coding algorithms, data structures and common software development terms (e.g., binary trees, strings, arrays, queues, graphs, linked lists). This guide provides an overview of tech interviews and provides resources to help you get ready. 


Graduate & Law School

Applying to Graduate School

Considering graduate or professional school? PDF iconThis guide will help you think through your motivations and prepare you for the application process. 

Pre-Law Guide

PDF iconThis guide covers reflection, preparation tips and advice for the law school application process. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for working with a career adviser to get individualized advice and discuss the more nuanced decisions you will make throughout your pre-law journey. To do this, make an appointment in Handshake.