Spring? Could it Be?!

H.B. Stokes, Credentials Officer

If you’re traveling for spring break, you’re missing the collective sighs of relief from all over the city as Philly finally experiences some warmer weather and sunshine.  Spring is always a time of renewal and clean starts, and that optimism is finally starting to work its way through the dull, grey blanket of winter we’ve all been dragging around.  It’s also a time to do some fresh takes on your life.  For me, it’s getting my apartment in order (they don’t call it spring cleaning for nothing!).  For others, it’s another personal overhaul – getting that beach-ready body or starting a new hobby.  For you, why not take the time to spruce up your plans for the future?

  • Not quite sure what you want to be when you grow up?  We offer career assessments like Sigi 3, Myers Briggs, and StrengthsQuest
  • Need resume or cover letter help?  Come in for a walk-in appointment or take advantage of our drop-off service
  • Want a leg up on the competition?  Schedule a mock interview or attend one of our many interviewing and networking workshops
  • Got the offer but don’t know what to do with it?  Schedule an advising appointment or come in for a walk-in
  • Grad school is your plan?  We offer pre-graduate advising to help get you ready
  • Already graduated but still have some questions?  We serve alumni too!

Spring is finally imminent – let’s open the windows, get some fresh air, and breathe some life into our personal and professional worlds.  Enjoy the rest of your break, whether you’re in Philly or out exploring the world, and we’ll see you when you get back!

Wrapping Things Up

by Beckie Stokes, Operations Assistant

intern mugHere we are, knee-deep into August already. Hopefully you’ve been able to spend your summer not only getting some good quality rest and relaxation, but also logging in some awesome internship hours. Since you’ll be wrapping up and heading back to good old Penn soon, here are some things you should remember to do before you bid adieu to your summer employer.

-Ask your boss for honest feedback. You’ve spent the whole summer working and learning new skills, but maybe no one has let you know how you’re doing in the big-picture sense. Now is a great time to schedule a sit-down with your supervisor to see how they viewed your performance, where you can improve, and (hopefully) hear some positive things about your work.

-Talk to and conduct informational interviews with people in your company. You have such great access into a particular industry right now. Don’t pass up the opportunity to pick the brains of people who are actively involved in it. You should do this regardless of whether you loved or hated what you did. If you loved it, great – get some insight into what the real day-to-day of full-time employees is like and what your future might hold. If you ultimately decided that this position or department wasn’t for you, talk to some people outside of the department to see what their work is like – it could be that you still love the industry or company but would ultimately seek a different position.

-Have a talk about your future with the company. Did you love what you did this summer? Awesome! Have a sit-down with your boss to talk about next steps. Some industries make offers at the end of the summer; some tell you they were pleased with your performance and invite you to keep in touch as graduation approaches. Either way, you should take action to make sure they know that you would like to come back if they’ll have you.

-Start making the “goodbye” rounds, but do it before your last day. This is a great time to let your colleagues know how much you’ve appreciated working with them, and chat a bit about your plans for the future. Make sure you have their contact information so you can keep in touch, regardless of your plans to return to the company. This is a great opportunity to expand your network and start nurturing your connections in the field. Starting this process at least a couple of days before you leave ensures that you’ll be able to talk to everyone (heaven forbid your favorite colleague calls out sick on your last day!) and that you’ll have enough time for more than a ten-second “See ya!” on the way out the door.

We hope the end of your internship and the end of your summer are enjoyable and productive. And if you do get that end-of-summer offer and need help negotiating, our door is always open. See you soon, Quakers!

Lines of Communication

by Beckie Stokes

We talk about it all the time – networking. We know how important it is. But what if you’ve lost touch with someone who was very influential at some point in your life? How do you reconnect in a meaningful way without sounding creepy or needy?

LinesOfCommunicationI recently heard a story on NPR interviewing Wharton’s very own Adam Grant, professor of management, that gives tips on tackling just that. You can check out the whole story here, but the takeaway is basically this: as with all effective networking, be genuine and make it about them, not about you. Emphasize that they were important in your life. Seek to catch up on what’s been happening with both of you – not with the end goal of talking about yourself and your aspirations and how they can boost you, but on what you can offer them. Whether or not you’re starting a job or internship in the coming weeks, no matter if you’re about to graduate (congrats seniors!) or you still have a few more years to go at Penn, it’s always a good time to get back in touch with the people who have meant the most to you.

Deadline Drama

by Beckie Stokes

So here we are, back from Thanksgiving break.  Your food coma may not have even broken yet, but you’re already dangerously close to staring finals in the face.  You’ve got just over a week until exams begin, and you may be wondering how you’re going to accomplish everything that needs to get done – especially when all you’re looking for is the light at the end of the semester.  It’s time to start breaking down how you’re going to meet all these deadlines.  What a good time to develop this skill!  You’ll use it in your daily life in your career as well – unlike all those algebra/history/Greek mythology classes in high school that you swore you’d never use in the real world.*  Here are some tips and tricks that have always helped me deal with my own deadlines.

  • List out everything that has to be done and categorize by priority.  I like to make an “active” to-do list and a “backlog” to-do list.  Limit the active list to 3 very important items.  Once an “active” item is complete, move the next most important task from “backlog” to “active.”
  • Give yourself several smaller deadlines.  Here’s where the lists come in handy.  Assign a deadline to each item on the list.  And be reasonable!  Sure, you’d like to have all 300 pages of assigned reading done by tomorrow, but that’s probably not realistic.  And then you’ll just feel more stressed out that you missed your deadline.  Figure out how much time each task reasonably takes.
  • Make sure you’re clear on the requirements of the assignment.  Nothing is worse than wrapping up a project and re-reading the syllabus only to find out that you have twice as much due than you’ve already done.
  • Avoid the roadblock of being overwhelmed.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I feel like a looming deadline is insurmountable, I shut down.  It’s really hard to get moving again after you’ve had the “it’ll never get done, why even try” freak-out.  So don’t let yourself get to that point.  Practice stress-relief exercises – yoga, snack break with friends, you get the idea.  Just don’t let your brief respites turn into procrastination (I’m looking at you, drawings of pterodactyls).
Image: hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

It’s such a good idea to develop effective project management skills now.  You’re always going to have deadlines, you’re always going to have to collaborate on assignments (sometimes with people you don’t like very much), and you’re always going to need to figure out how to balance all these things without going completely crazy.  It’s possible that your future boss will appreciate your dinosaur pictures, but just in case she doesn’t, learn now how to juggle deadlines like a professional.

*You totally use them in the real world.  Greek mythology included.