3 Things to Do Now That You’ll Thank Yourself for in the Fall

Tiffany J. Franklin, Associate Director

Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s good to think about what can I do now that will make myself happy in a couple months, whether that’s eating a salad instead of grabbing another cookie (which I don’t always do) or as it applies to work projects and other things in my life. Now that summer is approaching, we have a few months that will be filled with internships, summer jobs, research, world travel and many different adventures, as well as hopefully some fun and vacations. With these months before us, it’s a good time to reflect on projects we’d like to accomplish before fall arrives. As this relates to the job search, there are a few things you can do now to make your life easier in the fall when you are balancing many other class and campus responsibilities. A job search is not something that you can cram into a weekend, and that’s why it’s helpful to divide job search tasks into smaller steps that you can do each week rather than try and complete everything all at once.

Here are 3 things to consider incorporating into your summer routine to make life a little easier for yourself in the fall:

1) Update your resume now. If you do that now, you’ll be well-positioned when job postings appear in Handshake in August and for career fairs the first weeks of school. For your current internship and summer experiences, you can leave space on your resume and fill the details in the month before classes start. Throughout the summer, be sure to make notes to yourself about the projects you are doing and write your accomplishments along the way.

2) Take time to Explore Career Paths. Sometimes the experience of the summer makes you question the path you were on; either you have an experience that makes you want to explore something completely new or perhaps a job you’re working on right now isn’t what you thought it would be and you may want to pursue other avenues. Our office offers a variety of career assessments, both formal and informal, that can help you think about all your skills and interests. We can discuss career possibilities that align with your interests and review the formal assessments for insights.

3) Use this time to Network with Quaker Alumni. This is a perfect time to network and connect with alumni in your fields of interest. For example, you can develop a list of people for outreach and create a spreadsheet that includes alumni from Quakernet and LinkedIn. Each week, allot some time to sending emails and talking to people about their careers – what they like, the challenges of their field, what they know now they wish they knew starting out, and any advice they may have. For more information about informational interviewing, check out the Networking section of the Penn Career Services website with tips on how to reach out to alumni and make the most of these interactions. These steps are a great way to build your network now, which takes time, rather than trying to cram this into your fall schedule.

When looking back on past summers, the productive ones started with a strategy at the beginning of June. By dividing my projects into smaller parts and working it every week, I felt less pressure. By the end of the summer, I could look back and see how much I accomplished over time. Plus, I started the fall with a to do list with things already crossed off by the beginning of the school year. Remember, Penn Career Services is here to help you throughout the year, so be sure to reach out to us anytime, even if you’re across the world. We can Skype, schedule phone meetings or email to ensure you have the support you need. If you’re in Philly, schedule an in-person meeting with us. Hope you have a wonderful, safe and productive summer!

Planning for Plan B: 5 Things to Do When Your Summer Plans Do Not Work Out

By Dr. Esther H. Ra, Advisor for Nursing, Education, and Social Policy

“In general, things either work out or they don’t, and if they don’t,
you figure out something else, a plan B. There’s nothing wrong with plan B.”
― Dick Van Dyke, Keep Moving: And Other Truths About Living Well Longer

Sometimes, even with the best-laid plans, our summer plans do not work out according to our wishes. Life happens. Maybe grant summer funding did not work out in your favor or perhaps you went on the job trail, but you did not get an offer for the dream internship you hoped to have. Even worse, you may have had a personal setback in your family, such as a death or job loss, that you could not control. We get it. Unforeseen circumstances derail all of us at some point, and this summer could be the summer that it is happening to you. We have all been there here are Career Services and want to support you through the journey. All is not lost and this summer does not have to be a wash. The key is to plan for plan B. Serena Williams, who is an American professional giant among women’s tennis, boasts 23 singles title wins in the Women’s Grand Slam tournaments of all time. She has been famously quoted saying, “If Plan A isn’t working, I have Plan B, Plan C, and even Plan D.” While your original plans may have come up short, the summer ahead of you does not have to be for naught. Here are some strategic suggestions to make productive use of your summer:

1) Network. Networking, networking, networking. You can never be DONE with networking. In fact, I tell students I meet with, that networking is an ongoing relationship building exercise that can occur at any time and any place. With more time on your hands, take the opportunity to develop your network. Perhaps, you will want to make a goal to network with five new people every week. Whatever your plan, write it down and keep to your goals. While you want to be strategic about networking, be also aware, that it may come upon you without you planning for it. Penn students have met some wonderful people at airports, grocery stores, train stations, and playgrounds. Capitalize on these serendipitous moments because one day it may pay off.

2) Volunteer. Not all amazing life experiences come from paid positions. In fact, some of the best experiences in my own life came from volunteer experiences that have taken me around the globe, richly broadening my perspectives. Take the opportunity to seek work that brings you passion and gets you excited. Perhaps you can enter a field by offering to help staff a project or an event in your community. I do not know anyone who has turned away a cheerful volunteer. Being a volunteer allows for exposure to the working culture of an organization and you may be privy to spaces you would not otherwise be able to occupy. For example, had I not taken a volunteer opportunity to help design school curriculum in Indonesia, I would not have experienced traveling through Southeast Asia, nor gained a grasp on international education in this part of the world. I would have also missed the unforgettable experience of trying all the lush tropical fruits the region has to offer (durian anyone?). You get my point; not all amazing life experiences come from a paid position

3) Shadow. Consider asking someone in your network if you could shadow for a day. Shadowing is a fantastic opportunity to understand the pulse of an industry or dabble in an interested arena without any pressure. Often, through shadowing, you have the opportunity to rub shoulders with many potential mentors and network accordingly as you look to the future. It is an invaluable way to make connections that you would not otherwise be able to make. Like volunteering, you can also be invited to spaces that you might not normally be able to be in, and such opportunities could help open further job opportunities. It can also help you decipher which niches you want to explore.

4) Learn. Have you always wanted to take extra classes, but you never felt like you had the time or energy? Now is your chance! Maybe you always wanted to hone a skill or try something new. Do it now. Having unstructured time allows for creative exploration and flexibility. My friend is a great example of this. She had always wanted to be a certified fitness trainer and had enjoyed all things health. After working toward certification hours during a free summer, she now trains private clients as a very meaningful side gig. Not only does she love the work as a fitness trainer, she is able to stay extremely fit and healthy. This is all due in part because of her strategic decision one summer to take a risk and capitalize on her interests and free time.

5) Write. Do you feel that you have expertise and experience in a specific industry of work? Consider creating a niche blog or starting your own website. Alternatively, work on writing an article for an online digital resource in your field. Perhaps, get your name out on social media outlets and see where this brings you. Sharing your knowledge and expertise can be an immensely rewarding experience. Furthermore, the opportunities to write freelance on a topic you are an expert are endless. It could take you down paths you never dreamed you would take.

Planning for alternative options can bring meaning and purpose to your “plan B” summer. As Carol Burnett says, “Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.” Create a plan, be strategic, and be tenacious and I promise, you will achieve your goals.

Embarrass Yourself This Summer

Natty Leach, Associate Director A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across Mike Boyd’s Youtube channel dedicated to learning new, often frivolous, skills. The first video I came across, for instance, focused on an MIT physicist’s peculiar ability to quickly make a dotted line across a chalk board. 

For the chalk trick, it only takes Mike a few minutes; other videos chronicle upwards of 8 hours of attempts. Regardless of the task at hand, every video shows him starting from scratch with what some might consider embarrassing results. And that’s what I found most impressive about these videos—through every failure, no matter how public, he betters himself until reaching the goal in mind. So this summer, I recommend that you do something completely new and different, even if it feels embarrassing to try at first. Whether you’re busy at a new internship or just taking a break this summer, do something you’ve never done before, no matter how big or small, and relish in eventually conquering it. If you’re not as bold as Mike and would rather do some trial and error before hitting the big stage, here are a couple of projects that you can easily do, embarrassment-free, from the comfort of your couch: A small thing to easily familiarize yourself with this summer: Handshake – Career Services’ new job and internship platform. Handshake Mastering Handshake will only take you a couple of minutes. Check out our Handshake Hints on getting started. If there’s anything I can stress, it’s completing your profile and marking some career interests. Handshake’s homepage shows you opportunities that are molded around your interests so the more choose, the more you’ll see. A bigger project you could tackle: Anything on Lynda, a tutorial database that’s free to Penn students. Lynda.com Lynda has a ton great, skill-oriented tracks you can follow along with. Most videos are digestibility small (10-20 minutes) while full collections can total 40+ hours of hands-on training. Last year, I took a few courses on drawing, game design, and JavaScript.


Interning at Department of State

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 Krishnan Sethmuadhavan, COL ’16

Krishnan Sethumadhavan (1)This summer, I had the privilege of working at the Department of State’s Economics and Business Bureau (EB), specifically in the Office of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy. For somebody who has always had an interest in foreign policy, getting this internship was truly a dream come true. The ability to see American foreign policy being created first-hand was something that I only had dreamed of and the fact that I would have the ability (no matter how small) to shape it myself was really icing on top of the cake. At the University of Pennsylvania, I am studying economics in the College and Public Policy in Wharton and because the Office of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy really lies at the intersection of foreign and economic policy, it furthered my understanding of what I was learning in classes in a practical sense.

The Office of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy (EPPD) works on a number of highly interesting issues, all of which I had the opportunity to take part in through my internship. The EPPD creates policy analysis for decision-makers and organizes seminars with outside experts to inform rapidly changing policy processes. EPPD also leads the US relationship with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on vital international economic issues and manages the EB Advisor Committee on International Economic Policy (ACIEP). Due to the diversity of the topics taken on, my role as an intern was part policy analysis, part paper-writer, and part event planner. Specifically, I worked on helping to create the Economics and Business Bureau’s strategic planning document over the course of the next three years. This document lays out the objectives of the Bureau over the near future and moreover, the indicators that will show success or failure of these objectives.

Two things really struck me about this planning document. The first was the sheer breadth that the document covered – nearly every region of the world and as many policy topics you could think of were part and parcel of EB’s plan for American foreign policy. This was a direct outgrowth of the fact that during John Kerry’s tenure as Secretary of State, he made the bold claim that “Foreign policy is economic policy” and that economic policy, short of war, is the way in which the United States will make its mark on the world. The second thing that surprised me was the quantitative nature of the metrics being utilized in the planning document and the number of indicators that existed. In deciding foreign policy, the State Department has begun moving away from seemingly wishy-washy ideas of success to a more measured and measurable methodology. This approach has its benefits and its costs, but on the whole, it appeared to be a commendable attempt at ensuring accountability in government.

Another major issue that I worked on during my time at EPPD was working with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Although I had been aware of the OECD prior to this internship due to their ubiquity as a statistics database on all things in the global economy, I was not aware of the wider role that they play and their attempts to escape the image that they hold as a “rich man’s club.” These efforts include doing things like having Latin American countries accede to the OECD and utilizing a “key partners” framework to engage emerging economies like those of Brazil, India, China, Indonesia, and South Africa. Another key issue in which I was not aware of the OECD’s importance was in tax reform and the issue of Base Erosion and Profit Sharing (BEPS) and the tax planning strategies of multinational corporations. Through my work at EPPD, I got a chance firsthand to see the power the OECD has in determining international tax policy and how jealously it guards it. For example, at the Addis Ababa conference on financing international development, developed nations (like those of the OECD) fought back an attempt by developing countries to create an international tax agency that would be under the United Nations and would remove the OECD’s role in international tax reform.

The amazing nature of my internship was further supplemented by the fact that Washington D.C. is such an amazing city. I had the opportunity to explore the many cultural and wonderful touristy sights that Washington has to offer. During my 10 weeks there, I saw everything from an outdoor French cultural festival to dancing construction cranes (courtesy of Capital Fringe) to the world’s largest Paella Festival! In addition, I got to take a picture with Secretary Kerry along with other State Department Interns and made a bunch of friends both from Penn and outside of it. I wouldn’t trade this summer for anything else in the world and want to thank both the mentors I met and Career Services for making this possible. I hopefully will return to DC in the near future as a Foreign Service Officer, something that my time in DC has confirmed will be my career in the future.


“Are you sure there isn’t anything else you’d rather do?”

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 Kevin Sweeney, COL ’16

The entertainment industry is a fickle beast, and the music industry is no exception. It’s the wild west, where there are no rules and the money follows the gunslingers with the strongest allies. It’s in an accelerating tailspin in the midst of a tech revolution with little hope for the future.

Talk to any manager, agent, or label rep and you’re likely to get some variation of these sentiments. A few will probably ask, “Are you sure there isn’t anything else you’d rather do?” And while youthful optimism will prompt an almost rhetorical “No way,” there’s plenty of truth to these prevailing themes.

And also plenty of untruth, as I learned this summer. Working as an intern in music management, I sat at the crossroads of the cogs of the industry. My firm, Mick Artists Management, represents a wide array of established acts including Childish Gambino, Leon Bridges, Passion Pit, WALK THE MOON, Frank Ocean and others. Watching these careers play out from behind the proverbial curtain, I got to test the advice I had received.

Fickle? Yes. Clients’ career arcs can be about as predictable as the weather. But more often, they follow carefully planned cycles, monitored through an endless stream of consumer data, and nurtured with a healthy dose of tactful pavement pounding.

While the relationship management with radio execs, label execs, and agents was left to the professionals, I had the pleasure of playing my own part. For WALK THE MOON, I assembled weekly reports detailing trends in album sales, radio spins, song streams, and social media engagement. I got to watch the rise and gentle decline of one of the summer’s hottest songs and provide some insights as we helped a client gracefully ride the wave of their success.

As for the “wild west” depiction, it’d be more accurate to say that the rules exist but they’re constantly changing. An artists’ union exists, as well as a whole number of fluid standards in copyright law, song royalties, and recording contracts. In reality, the business of a profitable recording artist is much less of a hectic money grab and more of a carefully divided pie. For my part, I did things as mundane as train uptown to retrieve royalties checks from ASCAP to more interesting projects like assembling archives and album metadata as an artist made a transition to full ownership over their recording catalog.

Last, the idea that the music industry is in irreversible decline is simply untrue. Live performance continues to enjoy some of the best revenue figures in music history, and the larger fish in the pond are frequently making strategic investments in music tech startups that seek to change the way we listen to, discover, and experience music.

I watched as a partner in my firm grew his own tech-influenced project – a rental marketplace for touring equipment – while others met with emerging tastemakers on services like Spotify and Soundcloud. I tried to help where I could, interfacing with various music tech companies that were looking to bring Mick on as a client, from concert streaming services to ticketing apps.

More than anything, this summer has taught me that the trenches of the music industry can be a confusing mess – one that entails talent reps from labels, agencies, and management firms, each with their own share of relatively unglamorous legwork to do. But together they deliver a profoundly unique product – one that can be as thrilling to sell as it is to experience. While it’s difficult to tell whether management is the right fit for me and my career, I can scarcely envision a future for myself without music business as a central component.