Podcast Inspiration

Robin Chakrabarti, Operations Coordinator

It’s peak summertime! One of my favorite parts of summer is having the time to start new habits I’ve been putting off, and building the momentum to continue them into the school year. Something that has positively influenced my life recently is listening to more podcasts, specifically podcasts that help me develop more self-awareness or teach me something new. Here is a small selection of the podcasts that have inspired me the most over the last few years!

(Of course, these are all in addition to our own CS Radio – which returns for its fifth season in September!)

Oprah’s Master Class
Do you want to learn from some of the world’s most impactful people? Would you like an autobiography distilled into something you can consume during a workout or during your lunch? Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class features powerful stories from iconic entertainers, musicians, actors, and more as they guide us through key turning points and difficult decisions they made on their personal journeys. At times when I’m feeling unmotivated or am simply looking for a moving story, I find tremendous inspiration in learning about the lives of others, all of which keeps Master Class in heavy rotation on my phone.

The Marie Forleo Podcast
Marie Forleo is a businesswoman, life coach, author, and former dancer, and combines her many talents and bubbling personality to host a fun, energetic podcast on building a business for aspiring entrepreneurs. Forleo and her team interview top businesspeople and create a radiant show atmosphere that seamlessly weaves sketch comedy into professional advice and is sure to make you spit out your coffee laughing. (The show is even better on YouTube where you can watch her hilarious skits).

With topics like “Networking Basics: 8 Tips to Networking Without Being Fake” and “How to Use Social Media so it Doesn’t Overwhelm Your Life,” Forleo brings positivity and personable professionalism to entrepreneurship that is a welcome addition to the typical alpha-male, hustle-and-grind entrepreneur mentality broadcasted on most platforms.

On Purpose with Jay Shetty
Jay Shetty is a former monk who is making wisdom go viral. I first learned about him from his captivating interview on Impact Theory. In his podcast, On Purpose, Shetty hosts thoughtful and vulnerable conversations with CEO’s, actors, artists, doctors, and public figures including Lilly Singh, Charlamagne tha God, Arianna Huffington, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

I especially like the show’s shorter podcasts focused on practical life skills in topics ranging from mental health to communication, which you can start implementing to immediately experience positive results. Some titles include “7 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others” and “4 Types of Negative People & 3 Ways to Deal With Them.” For those looking to develop more self-awareness, I highly recommend this podcast.

TED Radio Hour
Anytime I listen to TED Radio Hour, I feel like I read a book. For anyone who enjoys Ted Talks but wishes they were even longer, this is a great choice! Each episode finds common themes across different Ted Talks and ties them into larger pieces about concepts such as “Future Consequences,” “Prevention,” and “Jumpstarting Creativity.” Episodes run close to an hour long and are jam packed with interesting stories and information—TED Radio Hour is a great substitute to watching TV at night.

Man Up
In an era where we are slowly learning not to place celebrities and leaders on pedestals, especially powerful men, and are holding more public figures accountable for their actions, we also need a broader, more inclusive, conversation on American masculinity and an understanding of how we can raise children to grow up to be better adults. Man Up is a podcast from Slate Writer Aymann Ismail who hosts conversations about where we as a culture get our ideas of masculinity. Ismail examines the intersections of race, class, gender (including trans perspectives), sexuality, faith, and tradition and the impacts these have on our understandings of masculinity. He explores these conceptions within the backdrop of modern topics including parenting, workplace culture, health, and sex education as well as pressing and historic issues like Islamophobia, transphobia, anti-blackness, and police brutality. These conversations are both insightful and accessible, and since they clock in under 30 minutes, they are perfect for commuting and mealtimes.

The Countdown Begins!

Kevin Haines, Associate Director

Can you believe it’s already late July? I hope you’ve been having an incredible summer, whether you’re working, traveling, or just relaxing! While there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy your summer days and activities, now is the time to slowly begin thinking about returning to campus and all that Fall 2019 will have to offer. August 27th, the first day of classes (sorry to remind you!), will be here before you know it, so how can you start to prepare for your return? Here’s a quick list of things to consider (while still enjoying whatever it is you’re doing this summer):

  1. Classes: Make sure you review the classes you chose for Fall 2019 and look up any others that may be of interest to you incase you decide to switch any. Always have some back-ups in case you aren’t yet ready, or have a change of heart, for any of the original classes you picked out.
  2. Housing: I’m sure (or at least hope!) that you have your housing situated since you’ll be returning in about a month. Make sure all loose ends are tied up, questions for landlords are prepared, bills/rent money is situated. Additionally, create a list of things you need to bring back with you/purchase for your place to make move-in weekend easier for you!
  3. Resumes/Cover Letters: Have you updated your resume and cover letter yet with any jobs/internships you have/had this summer? I highly suggest doing that ASAP and then submitting your resume (and cover letter if you have one) to Career Services for review. You can always wait until you’re back on campus, however, September is a very busy month, especially the first 2-3 weeks of the semester! If you want to make sure that you have your resume and/or cover letter ready to go for September, take some time to update it now and email it or schedule an appointment to meet or talk with Career Services. Once you have that all reviewed and edited, you can focus other things that will come your way at the start of the semester!
  4. Study Abroad: Thinking you’ll want to study abroad Spring 20202? Be sure to do some research and look into programs that interest you before chatting with Penn Abroad. Then, schedule an appointment to talk with the appropriate Penn Abroad advisor. Typically, application deadlines are September 15, with some being October 1 (however, deadline dates vary, so check out their website!).
  5. Career Fairs/Campus Events: Take an hour or so to do some research before classes begin as to when career fairs and important campus events that interest you will take place. Knowing these dates and having a plan will make your semester go a lot smoother!
  6. Work-Study: Returning in the Fall with a work-study position? Now is the time to start thinking of your schedule, including your class schedule, to figure out what hours you’ll be able to work. Looking at future dates will be helpful to note which days you might need to take off work for important events, such as an interview, career fair, etc.
  7. Advisor Meeting: Check in with your advisor to see if there are any outstanding items you need to take care of or be aware of for Fall 2019.

Have a wonderful rest of your summer! Career Services looks forward to seeing you in September!

Parenting While at Penn and Graduate Student Life

By Esther H. Ra, Ed.D.

Last semester, a graduate student who I had advised asked as she was leaving, if I knew any information about parenting resources for graduate students on Penn campus. As I spoke to the student, it occurred to me that in order for the student to progress in their career search or development, they had a great need for other important resources to help them along in their journey to function as a successful student at Penn. As a former Penn graduate student, who also had a family by the time I defended my dissertation, I empathized greatly with this student. I knew very well the struggle of balancing parenthood and graduate student life, particularly on Penn campus, and remembered the feeling of wanting to be connected to a network of Penn parents. For graduate students who may also be juggling parenthood, this post is dedicated to you! Since I was a graduate student, many new resources have come to existence and there are excellent opportunities and communities you can become a part of so that you don’t feel that you’re journeying alone. Not only did you embark on learning and “mastering” subject matters, but you have the privilege and adventure of parenting another life. It IS possible to do both with some help. I commend you for seeking resources that can improve your graduate student life as a parent. Here are some resources that may be of help:

The Family Resource Center at Penn: https://familycenter.upenn.edu/about-us

Join their email list learn about resources that Penn has to offer. The site can connect you to Penn parent networks, neighborhood networks, as well as national sites that can direct you to parenting resources. It’s also a hub for knowing what benefits you have as a parent while studying at Penn. There are also amenities such as a lactation room, a family lounge, a reading room, as well as nap space for kids, and books and toys. It is a wealth of information and resources and this should be your first stop at Penn for parenting resources!

Emergency Backup Childcare: https://familycenter.upenn.edu/resources-support/child-care

Every parent wants to know what childcare help they can get when an emergency occurs. Who can take care of your children should they have a snow day and you have an important meeting to attend? Penn has a resource that can cover you for backup care should you need it.

Care.com Free Resource through Penn https://pennfamilycenter.care.com/

Penn also has a wonderful Care.com resource where families can sign up to find childcare for their home. This resource can be customized for local care and Penn helps with a free membership to Care.com while you are a student.

Lactation and Baby Changing Stations


Are you always searching for a place to nurse or feed your baby? What about a place to change their diaper? It’s always a struggle for parents of babies and toddlers to find a safe, clean place to do what is already a tough job: nursing and changing a wiggling baby. Not only does the Family Resource Center at Penn have a lactation room, but Penn is a very lactation friendly campus with rooms located all around campus. Many of bathrooms in several of the buildings on campus also have baby friendly changing spaces.

Grants for Ph.D. Students with Dependents: https://familycenter.upenn.edu/grants

Penn also has a couple l funded family grants, specifically for PhD students. One is a Family Grant and the other Is a Dependent Health Insurance Grant. Read about the guidelines and see if you might be able to qualify. The grant cycle opens on August 27th to submit applications. If you think that these might be of interest, you will need to get in gear with all submission materials ready very soon!

PennCard & Campus Services:


Did you know the PennCard enables your spouse and children to access several amenities on campus? However, they each need to obtain their OWN Penn Card, which can easily be done through the PennCard Center: http://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/penncard/. The PennCard will give your spouse and children access to museums, Penn transit services, and recreational facilities.

I hope that helps with navigating family life as a graduate student! It’s not an easy road, but it’s a fun one when you have the right resources at your fingertips. Happy parenting!

Come Practice Interviewing With Us!

Marianne Lipa, Career Counselor

As you think ahead to the fall semester, one of the ways we can assist you with your job search is conducting a mock interview with us.  It takes practice to interview well and Career Services offers mock interviews.  We will provide feedback (both positive and negative) to help you with your interviewing skills. Interviewing skills are a continuous work in progress for people at all stages of their career from undergraduates to seasoned professionals.  Depending on your preference, you can have the mock interview video recorded in which we play it back for feedback or you can have a mock interview without the video recording. 

To prepare for a mock interview we recommend viewing potential questions on our website.  Additionally, be sure to send your application materials (cover letter and resume) to your advisor in Career Services prior to your scheduled mock interview.  You will also want to conduct your research on the company/organization/institution.  This means not only searching their website but also if anything has been mentioned in the news about the particular employer.  Have a wonderful summer and we look forward to practicing your interview skills with you!   

Why You Should Add Resume Details

by Emily Barrale, Associate Director

Creating a resume can be an intimidating process. It’s hard to know how to highlight your skills and strengths in a way that makes you stand out. Your descriptions of your jobs/internships/extracurriculars experiences are the best way to show off what you would bring to a role.

Start by focusing on what you’ve done in each experience. What skills did you use? What were your accomplishments? What were the outcomes related to your work? Start your sentence with a strong action verb (created, managed, researched); we have a whole list of examples on our website. Next, try to add a little more detail about the scope of your role. Adding quantifiable details is a great way to provide context to your experience. For example: how many people attended that event? How many students did you teach or tutor? How much did that social media campaign increase engagement? Finally, always pay attention to the job description. One of the best ways to stand out as a candidate is to highlight the skills and qualifications they’re looking for on your resume through your experiences.

Here are a few examples of how to flesh-out details on your resume, to help illustrate why this is so effective:

Alpaca Groomer’s Club, Member

  • Coordinated social events for the Alpaca Groomer’s Club.

Alpaca Groomer’s Club, Member

  • Coordinated 4 events, each with 25+ attendees. Managed pre-event logistics, including securing venue, food, and alpaca-themed decorations. Maintained a fun experience for attendees while staying under budget.

The Teacup Factory, Waitstaff

  • Waited tables/served food. Handled customer complaints.

The Teacup Factory, Waitstaff

  • Managed the largest serving section while ensuring prompt and accurate food delivery. Received positive feedback for remaining calm and friendly while finding fast resolutions to challenging customer complaints.

Jester Inventory Co., Intern

  • I processed inventory in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.

Jester Inventory Co., Intern

  • Created an excel spreadsheet to streamline inventory calculations and tracking which were previously done manually, increasing productivity and cutting down on the number of errors made by 25%.

Showing your skills and strengths, rather than just telling them, will help you stand out as a candidate.

If you’re struggling with cover letters or resumes, or if you just want a second pair of eyes to look them over, you can submit them for review and we’ll be happy to help.