Lessons learned from Penn Relays and the Broad Street Run

Lauren Kemp, Administrative Assistant for the Graduate Students team

This weekend marks the annual return of two of Philadelphia’s most celebrated athletic spectacles, the Penn Relays and the Broad Street Run.  Running makes a great metaphor for life, and with so many of you starting new jobs and careers after graduation, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from these races.  Here are just a few to push you through those first few miles.

Prepare for foul weather

Unfortunately, the forecast for this weekend calls for rain.  This could be a bummer for the unprepared runner, but seasoned veterans are always on the lookout for race day surprises.  Take a page out of their book: know that there will be times when you’ll be faced with stormy skies, and there will be bumps in the road ahead.  Not every day will be rainbows and sunshine, but that’s okay: plan for the obstacles, move on from them, and be grateful for the beautiful moments.

Establish your cheer squad

Many of you will be relocating across the country and possibly around the world.  Even if you’re going to a familiar city, you may be exposed to a new schedule, a new social circle and new responsibilities: it’s important to have your own cheer squad to turn to during these unfamiliar stretches.  Life can get busy, but make sure you maintain those connections to family and friends back home: there’s nothing better than knowing there’s somebody in your corner rooting for your success.

Enjoy the sights along the way

Although there will be many times when you have to sprint (hello, 100m dash and project deadlines), life itself is much closer to a marathon.  And let’s face it: 26.2 miles can get overwhelming if you’re only focused on the asphalt beneath you.  With all that distance to cover, make sure you take some time for you.  Stop and smell the roses (literally).  Visit a new restaurant with friends.  Read a book.  Work-life balance is a great thing to have: give yourself the chance to enjoy special moments outside the office or school.









Sleep is Golden

As a Penn student, you’re probably asking, “what is sleep?”  Sleep may be low on your to-do list, but it really deserves more consideration.  The world’s best athletes, including former Penn Relays participant and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, make sleep a priority (Bolt himself aims for 8-10 hours of shuteye each night).  “Sleep is extremely important to me—I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body,” Bolt says.  Studies prove that sleep makes us healthier and happier: carve quality time out with your pillow each night.  Your body and mind will thank you.

Find your rabbit…

In running, a rabbit is the athlete who establishes a quick, speedy (yet smart) pace.  Identify your rabbit– a mentor or role model, somebody who inspires you– and turn to her for advice.

…But Set Your Own Pace

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen newbie runners sprint over the starting line at road races, trying to keep even with the pack leaders, until they crash and burn.  It’s great to find inspiration in your peers, and it’s fabulous to chase goals, but don’t feel like you have to match your friends and colleagues step for step.  Constantly comparing yourself to others does you no favors.  Recognize your own values and limits, and stay true to you.


You Won’t Always Meet Your Goal

True story: I once ran Broad Street with full-fledged bronchitis (PLEASE do not follow my example).  I was so focused on beating a time goal that I didn’t take my health into consideration.  Spoiler: I finished the race, but I did so several minutes slower than I had hoped.  One year later, I tried again, and guess what?  I still came up short.  Yes, I was bummed, but I knew that there were other things to celebrate that day (No bronchitis?  Yay!  Free pretzels at the finish line?  Could my stomach be any more thrilled?).  So try not to stress too much if you don’t make that promotion or sign that new client: you will always have a chance to try again.  And maybe your goal will change: that’s okay too.  Your worth is not measured in trophies or medals.


Add our upcoming fall events to your calendar!

by Lauren Kemp, Administrative Assistant for the Graduate Student and Nursing/Education/Social Work Teams

The academic year will soon be underway, as will the fall programming season at Career Services.  Career Services hosts a number of workshops and events, as well as a full slate of career fairs, for students and alumni.

This fall, career days will spotlight opportunities in fields as diverse as communications, education, finance, engineering and nursing, among others.  To get the latest information on upcoming fairs, visit http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/careerfairs/.

You can see a full calendar of events by linking through the icon on our main webpage, or you can view programming tailored to your school or degree by visiting the specialized sections on the site.  Be sure to check back periodically, as events are still being added for the semester, and remember to sign up early for any events that require preregistration.  If you’re a graduate student, you can receive announcements of upcoming programs through one of our listservs: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/gradstud/grad_distribution_lists.php.

Curious about what you might see or learn during a Career Services presentation?  You can check out video recordings and Powerpoints of some of our popular offerings at http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/undergrad/onlineworkshops.php and http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/phdspring14calendar.php.

As always, you can find supplemental information on interviewing, resumes and cover letters, preparing for career fairs and more through the website.

Good luck with the new semester, and remember to add us to your calendar!

Spring clean your job search

by Lauren Kemp

Classes are ending, exams are beginning, and before we know it, summer will be here. It’s easy to get caught up in all the activity the end of the semester brings, but now might be your best chance for doing some “spring cleaning” in your job search.

If you’re still seeking opportunities, now is the perfect time to get organized for applications and interviews. If you’re looking forward to starting a new role this summer, there is plenty you can do in preparation.

So, what exactly should be on your to-do list?

Update your resume to include any highlights from the past semester

Did you take on a leadership role in an organization? Did you do any research or work on any publications? Did you win any awards or complete an internship? Write about it! Make sure your resume is up-to-date with all of your recent accomplishments.

Proofread, proofread, proofread

Never underestimate the power of a typo: a simple error in your resume or cover letter may signal to a hiring manager that you lack focus and aren’t detail-oriented. Take a few minutes to check over your materials again. Even if you’ve already nabbed a position, it can be helpful to review documents for content: you may need to resubmit your resume for a performance review or even a professional award.

Polish your LinkedIn profile

Have you been neglecting your LinkedIn profile (or have you been too afraid to create one)? Check out our LinkedIn tips (here, here and here), and use the spring to search for new connections on the site. Just like your resume, your LinkedIn profile should be updated frequently to reflect your experience.

Sanitize your social media and internet presence

Are there one too many Fling photos lurking on your Facebook profile? Do your Twitter followers know you from your handle @FlipCupMaster92? If so, it is time to clean up your online presence. If you simply cannot bear to untag or delete unprofessional content, at the very least, turn your profiles to private. But remember: the internet never forgets. Use some discretion whenever posting to your social media accounts, and encourage your friends to do the same.

Clear out your voicemail and e-mail inboxes, and make sure you have set up proper forwarding messages

You don’t want to miss an interview request or an important memo from the boss because your inbox is full. Regularly clear through your messages, and make sure that you have set up professional voicemails and e-mail signatures. If you’re losing your Penn e-mail account, set up forwarding and update your QuakerNet profile so that classmates and Penn connections know how to contact you.

Spiff up your wardrobe

Whether you’ll be interviewing this season or entering the professional world, make sure that your clothes are up to the task. It might be necessary to hem pants and skirts, sew loose buttons and dry-clean suits and delicate items. Think about donating or recycling any clothes that have seen better days, and plan to shop for items that will match the dress code in your place of work.

Keep these tips in mind, and your job search will be spic and span in no time. If only all spring cleaning could be so simple…