CS Radio Episode 3: “Negotiating”

episode 3

In this week’s podcast, hosts A. Mylène Kerschner and J. Michael DeAngelis welcome Tamara Mason, assistant for the Wharton undergraduate and Engineering teams in Career Services.  The topic is negotiating job offers and we tackle everything from asking for the salary you want to Penn’s policies regarding “exploding offers” that employers sometimes impose on students.

As always, we also preview the week ahead, highlighting some of the great programming coming up form Career Services.  If you have suggestions for guests or topics you’d like to see covered, leave comment here on tweet @PennCareerServ!


“Remote” Interviewing

Jamie Grant, Associate Director

If you’re considering an internship or applying for full-time positions, chances are you’ll have a phone or video interview at some point in the process.  Don’t worry – preparation is really not all that much different than for a face-to-face, in-person interview.  Here are a few ideas to help you through, and a great on-campus resource for a quiet interview spot!:

Before the interview:

  • Practice – in advance of your interview, try to replicate the scenario as authentically as you can.  Have a friend call you and ask you a few questions, or turn on your webcam and (if possible) record yourself answering a question or two (try InterviewStream for this- http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/interviewingadvice/practiceresources.php#InterviewStream!).  This will give you ideas as to: how loud you may wish to speak; if your speech sounds clear and concise; where you should look if using a webcam to seem most natural; are you smiling appropriately and showing good posture; and other such factors.
  • “Dress” the part – while you can certainly conduct a phone interview in your pajamas, it may make you feel more prepared and focused to dress professionally – especially if the interviewer can see you.  Do your best to understand in advance the dress code for the industry and the type of employer with whom you’ll be interviewing and choose appropriate attire (at least from the waist up!).
  • Check your settings – Make sure your environment is conducive to a successful interview.  Do your best to ensure you’ll have relative quiet and a good connection or signal for phone conversations – if you will be home, notify housemates of your interview so they can be quiet, and try to close pets out of the room to avoid distraction.  If the interviewer will be able to see you, make sure your backdrop and anything else that can be seen from your webcam is appropriate (your roommate’s unmade bed, a messy desk, or even if your back is to a window on a sunny day and your face is in shadow, may not be helpful).

During the interview:

  • Don’t forget to smile – even on a phone call, a smile can be heard.
  • Stay present during the call – remember that your interviewer over the phone can’t see a nod or know intuitively that you’re following along – try to interject some listening sounds, such as “hm” or “yes” as your interviewer speaks – this also helps to ensure both participants that your connection is working well.  Avoid any distractions that could take you away from the call – instant or text messaging, or doing anything at your computer other than engaging with your interviewer (they can hear you typing!).
  • Don’t be afraid to help yourself – put up post-it notes, have your resume, cover letter and the job description in front of you, have your list of questions all written out or typed out on your screen.
  • Address any technical issues immediately – If you’re having difficulty hearing, think the connection is poor or otherwise need to make an adjustment, address it as early as possible with your interviewer – it’s simple to hang up and click off and reconnect and may reflect well on your problem solving initiative!

room 70Need Interview Space for your Phone or Video Conference?:

  • Please feel free to inquire with the receptionist in our office about reserving our dedicated video/phone conference room, “Room 70,” for your interview!

For a few more tips, be sure to visit our site: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/undergrad/interviewing.html#phone

It’s All About the “Grits”

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the Career Services Summer Funding grant.  We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending the summer.  You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Ping Nguyen

My professors often say that the most significant life lessons are not learned in a classroom setting, but they are deeply rooted in life experiences of others. In a social work classroom, one of my professors introduced to me the idea of “grits” by a fellow Penn professor Angela Duckworth. Duckworth defines “grits” as a combination of passion and resilience expressed over a period of time. A person is “gritty” when they can bounce back from failures, continue to strive hard for their dreams, and sustain this attitude over an extended period of time.  I never truly grasp the sagacity of Professor Duckworth’s concept of “grits” until I met a cohort of low-income, single Vietnamese mothers.

nguyen1As an intern for Children of Vietnam, one of my roles is to write narratives about the beneficiaries of the organization. As such, I got to travel to many low-income Vietnamese mothers’ house to interview them about their life stories and the challenges they encounter. As a low-income student in United States, I can understand what poverty looks like in America. However, I cannot imagine living in the conditions that these women were living under. Some women started their days at 4:00 am; some walked 3 hours under the scorching sun to get to work and must take the same journey home; some had to tend over their disabled children while working on the land. All never understood what it was like to have a day off or what a “good life” is like, yet none has ever given nguyen2up. These Vietnamese mothers truly believe that they can have better lives for themselves and for their children if they continue to work hard and if they do not give up . When asked about happiness, they say that they find happiness in a little things – being able to have rice on the table, to be able to purchase new clothes for their children even if it is once a year, or simply to have the strength to continue the next day labor. Although some days are harder than others, these are the little things that keep them going everyday. I have never witnessed such resiliency, love and passion towards life until I met these women.

nguyen3One of my life greatest privileges is having the opportunity to meet these women. They have enriched my life with many lessons. Although I love touching the soil of my ancestors, eating the food of my childhood, and breathing the air of my people, the profound lesson of traveling is more witnessing breathtaking sites or cuddling in happiness. The truth is that there is more to life than happiness. Happiness can play a critical part in one’s life and everyone deserves to feel happy. But it cannot be the ultimate prize. The lesson here is to be “gritty” in life and to truly live a meaningful life – to feel the ups and the downs, to pursue our passion regardless of obstacles, and to flow with the ripples of time.

nguyen4At the University of Pennsylvania, I often complain about the workload, the internship, the balancing of life in general….also known as “the ultimate struggle bus” and at times, I want to throw in my towels and call it a day. Yet having witnessed the struggles of others and how they dealt with their struggles, I learn on how to embrace my own “struggle bus,” enjoy the ride, and steer my life towards the direction of my choosing. Most importantly, I must not give up! Without a doubt, I was one of the most fortunate students at University of Pennsylvania to be given this opportunity.