Welcome Home!

With the Spring 2017 semester drawing to a close, it won’t be long before many of you who have been away at school will return to the City of Brotherly Love! During the week of May 22nd, we’re pleased to offer a variety of programs at the Philadelphia Futures office to welcome you back home and help you make the most of your summer break. Please plan to attend one or more of the programs below. We can’t wait to see you!

Monday, May 22nd 1:00pm-3:00pm
Resume Workshop
The period just after the end of the academic year is a great time to update your resume to reflect all of your recent accomplishments. Volunteer professionals will be on hand to review your resume and provide suggestions for improvement. Please arrive with both a printed hard copy and an editable electronic version of your resume. Additionally, if you would like to have your resume reviewed prior to the workshop, you must email a copy to Shari Cumberbatch (sharicumberbatch@philadelphiafutures.org) no later than Monday, May 15th. However, please note that ALL students are welcome,
even if you have not submitted your resume for review.
Please RSVP* for this event by Monday, May 15th.
Tuesday, May 23rd 9:30am-1:30pm
Career Futures Internship Orientation
Maximize your internship experience! This mandatory program for students who have been placed in a summer internship through Career Futures is designed to orient students to professional workplace culture and expectations.
Please RSVPfor this event by Thursday, May 18th.
Wednesday, May 24th 9:30am-11:30am
Thursday, May 25th 5:00pm-7:00pm
Financial Literacy Workshop with Santander Bank
Philadelphia Futures collegians and parents are invited to join us for this informative personal finance workshop hosted by Santander Bank. We are offering two sessions of this program in order to accommodate a variety of schedules.
Please RSVP* for this event by Wednesday, May 17th.
Thursday, May 25th 10:00am-12:00noon
Study Abroad Panel
Are you interested in studying abroad? Learn about opportunities and funding options from a panel of Philadelphia Futures collegians who have lived it!
Please RSVP* for this event by Wednesday, May 17th.
Please RSVP* for each event by its indicated deadline by contacting 
Kelly Crodian at 215-790-1666 ext. 420 or kellycrodian@philadelphiafutures.org.
*Please remember that by requesting an RSVP we are asking that you respond
whether you will or will NOT be attending.

Etiquette 101: Emailing Your Professors

While we’ve previously discussed the value of reaching out to your professors, keep in mind that when you contact a professor by email, it’s important to not only carefully consider what you say, but also how you say it. In the age of texting and Twitter, it’s understandable that many students have become a bit lax in their approaches to written communication. In this context, however, you are expected to present yourself professionally and in a manner which conveys respect.  In this post, we’ll show you how (and why!) to craft a thoughtful and polished email to your professor.

First, consider what NOT to do.

Put yourself in your professor’s shoes: you’ve spent the entire break creating the syllabus, selecting readings, and crafting exams and assignments. Then, you receive an email from a student that makes it seem as though they haven’t reciprocated any of your effort. How would you react? Probably something like this:

In the example above, the professor’s irritation is more than reasonable. Conversely, consider the following example, which features all of the elements of a professional, respectful email. Which would you prefer?

Follow these pointers to ensure that you’re presenting your best self in your emails:

  • Choose your subject header carefully

The subject of your email should be a few words which briefly sum up the purpose of your email. Don’t use a greeting (“hey professor”) or a very broad term (“test”) as your subject. Something like “Requesting an Appointment During Thursdays Office Hours” would work well.

  • Greet your professor with a professional salutation, and the correct honorific and last name

Use a professional salutation such as “Dear,” or “Hello,” followed by an honorific and your professor’s last name. An honorific is a title used to communicate respect for a person’s position. In this instance, “Professor” is your safest bet. If you know that your professor holds a PhD, “Dr.” is also appropriate. Next, refer to your syllabus for the correct spelling of your professor’s name. The resulting greeting will be something like “Dear Professor Johnson [,].”

  • Identify yourself

State the name, section, and meeting time of the class. You don’t need to include your name in the body of your email, as you will include it in your signature. Something like “I’m in section 3 of your Foundations of Western Civilization Class, which meets at 2:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

  • Clearly state your question or need

Always refer to your syllabus, review your class notes, and reach out to a classmate first to make sure that your professor hasn’t already given the answer to your question. If you still need clarification, state your question clearly and directly in your email. So, instead of asking, “What’s our homework for tonight?” you’ll write, “I looked through the syllabus and asked a classmate for this weekend’s assigned homework, but unfortunately I am unable to locate it. Could you please direct me to the assignment?”

  • Proofread!

Just as you would with a written homework assignment, make sure to check for silly mistakes and correct spelling and grammar.

  • Say thank you

End your email by thanking your professor for their time and signing off with your full name.

Remember, the ability to compose a well-written email in which you present yourself respectfully is a valuable skill that you will be able to draw upon well beyond your college years, so approach corresponding with your professors as yet another collegiate learning experience!

Adapted from:




Etiquette 101: Asking for a Reference

It’s standard practice for a potential employer to ask for a list of references when you’re applying for a job or internship. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, your college years are a time to grow your professional network and cultivate relationships with supervisors and other professionals who could serve as references for future opportunities. However, making a positive impression is only a fraction of the process of securing a stellar reference! Make sure to follow these steps each and every time you list a contact as a reference:

  1. Ask first

Getting a contact’s consent to be listed as one of your references is absolutely essential. Failing to do so is presumptuous and disrespectful. In fact, it’s preferable to ask in person or over the phone, rather than via email. Remember, you are asking this person for a personal favor, so make the initial request as warm and personal as possible. Make sure you have all of their correct contact information and titles while you are at it!

  1. Give them the details

After you have received your reference’s verbal consent, send them a follow-up email within 24 hours. In the email, attach a copy of the job description (including the job title) and your resume. In your message, include a detailed explanation of why you believe you would be a good fit for the position (a good way to do this is to adapt the content from your cover letter).

  1. Keep them posted

The point during the interview process at which an employer will check references varies from organization to organization. If, however, the potential employer informs you that they intend to call your references soon, give your references a head’s up so that they can be as prepared as possible.

  1. Say thank you!

While not required, a thank you note sent to a reference is always appreciated, whether or not you were offered or accepted the position. The more care and professionalism you show to your references, the more inclined they will be to accept your future reference requests, and to speak of you favorably!

Adapted from:


Summer Opportunities for Professional Development – No Internship Required!

As a Philadelphia Futures collegian, you definitely know that summer internships are excellent opportunities to gain professional experience and build your resume. However, even if you didn’t land an internship this year, there are plenty of alternative ways to further your professional development over summer break! As the spring semester draws to a close, consider the options below:

  1. Get a Summer Job – Any Job!

All work experience is valuable experience. Even a job bussing tables or working as a cashier is a great opportunity to demonstrate that you are a reliable and dedicated employee. A glowing recommendation from a former supervisor (no matter their field!) can prove invaluable in opening doors for you in the future.

  1. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience doing meaningful work and build your professional network. Reach out to an organization you’re passionate about. Even if the work isn’t directly related to your chosen career field, you’ll still be building transferable skills.

  1. Shadow a Professional

Job shadowing, or following an experienced professional as they go about their workday, is an effective way to gain insight into career fields that interest you.  Find people to shadow through your professional network, or contact your school’s career services center to see if they have a job shadowing placement program. For more job shadowing tips, click here.

  1. Conduct Informational Interviews

Like job shadowing, informational interviews are opportunities to expand your network while gaining perspective on potential careers. See our guide to informational interviewing here.

Adapted from:



Building a Great Student Profile on LinkedIn

Are you on LinkedIn? In the age of social media, LinkedIn has become an essential part of professional networking, especially for college students looking to land a great job right after graduation! Follow these steps to maximize the effectiveness of your profile:

  1. Craft an informative profile headline

Your profile headline gives people a short, memorable way to understand who you are in a professional context. Think of the headline as the slogan for your professional brand, such as “Student, [Your School]” or “Soon-to-be honors grad seeking marketing position.” Check out the profiles of students and recent alums you admire for ideas and inspiration.

  1. Pick an appropriate photo

LinkedIn is not Facebook. Select a professional, high-quality headshot of you alone. That means no party photos, cartoon avatars, or cute pics of your puppy.

  1. Show off your education

Include information about all institutions you’ve attended. Include your major and minor if you have one, as well as highlights of your activities. Include study abroad programs and summer institutes as well. Don’t be shy—your LinkedIn profile is an appropriate place to show off your strong GPA and any honors or awards you’ve won.

  1. Develop a professional summary

Your summary statement should resemble the first paragraphs of your best-written cover letter. Be concise and confident about your goals and qualifications. Include relevant internships, volunteer work, and extra-curriculars. Present your summary statement in short blocks of text or bullet points for easy reading. For more tips on writing a stellar LinkedIn summary, click here.

  1. Update your status weekly

A great way to stay on other people’s radar screens and enhance your professional image is to update your status at least once a week. Tell people about events you’re attending, major projects you’ve completed, professional books you’re reading, or any other news you would tell someone at a networking reception or on a quick catch-up phone call.

  1. Collect diverse recommendations

The most impressive LinkedIn profiles have at least one recommendation associated with each position as person has held. Think about soliciting recommendations from professors, internship coordinators and colleagues, employers, and professional mentors.

  1. Claim your unique LinkedIn URL

To increase the professional results that appear when people type your name into a search engine, set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and claim a unique URL for your profile.

  1. Share your work

A final way to enhance your LinkedIn profile is to add examples of your writing, design work, or other accomplishments by adding projects and publications. This way, you can direct people to websites featuring your published work, or share a PowerPoint or Word document.

For an illustrated step-by-step guide to building your LinkedIn profile, click here. Also, stop by https://students.linkedin.com/ for more LinkedIn resources for college students.

Adapted from:


Getting Involved on Campus

As a Philadelphia Futures collegian, you probably remember what an important role that extracurricular involvement played in being a successful high school student. However, getting involved in activities outside of class is tremendously important for college students as well! Student organizations and clubs provide great opportunities to build your resume, gain leadership experience, and network with peers who share your interests and career goals. See below for a few of the different types of organizations that may be available on your campus. Which do you think would be the best fit for you?

  1. Clubs

Most colleges and universities have numerous student-run campus clubs. These typically include interest-based groups (from cooking to comics), activity-based groups (like hiking or dancing), or cultural/ethnic and identity-based groups (such as an Asian-American student association or LGBTQ interest group). Options range from running a weekly meeting to setting up a booth at a student fair to staging peaceful protests on campus. Not interested in any existing student clubs? Look into starting your own!

  1. Student Government

Not only can joining student government help you meet more people and get involved with important campus matters, it’s great for your resume. You’ll gain leadership skills, make connections with a diverse body of students and demonstrate that you participated in a central decision-making activity.

  1. Intramural Sports

Even if you’re not a varsity-level athlete, many schools have lots of team sports opportunities for all students. These activities do not involve regular practices, just opportunities to have fun playing a game you love! Look for a variety of games, such as ultimate Frisbee, archery, hockey, bowling or flag football, or join a regular student pick-up game. This is a great way to meet others with similar interests in addition to getting some exercise. Stop by your school’s athletic center or gym to learn more about intramural opportunities.

  1. Sororities or Fraternities

Many large colleges and universities offer ‘Greek life,’ or sororities and fraternities. Joining a sorority or fraternity can provide you with immediate access to some of the busiest and most influential social networks on campus. Getting into these organizations can be competitive, but they provide a lifelong network of social support and professional connections. Many Greek organizations also encourage members to get involved in volunteering, philanthropy and a variety of campus-based activities, which are all great additions to that developing resume! (NOTE: Philadelphia Futures discourages first year students from “pledging.” Talk to your OCRS advisor before you make this big commitment.)

  1. Community Service and Volunteering

Community service and volunteering can really help broaden your horizons. Consider looking for campus-based volunteer organizations that can help you give back to your community alongside your peers. Options may range from tutoring local children to helping build homes or cleaning up neighborhood streets. Providing valuable services to others while building your resume: it’s a win-win!

Thinking about getting involved? Start by looking on your school’s website for a directory of the student organizations at your school. You may also want to talk to your professors to see if there is an academic club related to your major. Additionally, most schools host a campus involvement fair at the beginning of each semester. Contact Student Affairs or your Campus Involvement Center to find out the date!

Adapted from: http://learn.org/articles/10_Ways_to_Get_Involved_in_Student_Campus_Life.html

Resume Tips and Resources

Every college student should have a great, up-to-date resume on hand. Not only will it save you the hassle of scrambling to represent four long years of academic, leadership, and work experience at the end of your senior year, but a polished and professional resume is key to landing an internship or part-time job that can greatly help you develop professional skills. In other words, you need a resume to build your resume! In this post, we’ll provide our top three tips for creating an A+ resume, as well as a collection of four great resources to help you through the process.

Resume Tip #1: Keep it to one page

Did you know that the average hiring manager looks at your resume for as few as five seconds before they decide whether or not to toss it? A college student’s or recent grad’s resume shouldn’t exceed one page in length, but make that page count! The goal should be to represent your skills, education, and experience as clearly and concisely as possible.

Resume Tip #2: Proofread!

Spelling and/or grammatical errors are one of the fastest ways to get your resume sent directly to the “no” pile. It’s also very important to make sure you’re consistent with tense throughout the entire document (if you’re describing a position you held in the past, use past tense. If it’s a position you currently hold, use present tense). The only way to safeguard yourself from these simple mistakes is to proofread your resume very carefully, and not just once! Next, pass it on to your friends, and then to a career services professional. The more eyes that pass over your document, the better!

Resume Tip #3: Watch your formatting

While there is no one “right” way to format your resume, coherence and legibility are paramount. This means: be consistent with your margins, font, and alignment. Make sure that the entire document is evenly spaced and that all of your bullet points line up. Also, be mindful of “white space.” Too much white, or blank, space can make a resume look sparse and unimpressive, while too little can be dense and hard to read. Again, reach out for a second opinion if you’re not sure how yours measures up.

Resume Resources

  1. The Resources page at shiftphiladelphia.com

The website of Philadelphia career coach Anna Papalia, SHIFT Philadelphia offers some great resume resources. See specifically 10 Ways to Write a Killer Resume, Action Words to Use on Your Resume, and the resume template. Be sure to come back to this page once your stellar resume lands you an interview, too!

  1. Princeton University’s Career Services Resume Page

Princeton’s Resumes 101 page features some great tips for your resume writing process, from start to finish. Also be sure to check out the sample resumes appropriate for students in their freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years.

  1. Your College’s Career Services Center

Once you’ve assembled a draft of your resume, take it to Career Services for review. They can be an invaluable resource for help with both content and formatting.

  1. Your OCRS Advisor

After you’ve implemented the suggestions from Career Services, show your draft to your OCRS advisor for further recommendations and fine-tuning. Remember, we are here to help!

Choosing Your College Major: Five Helpful Resources

Choosing your major is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a college student. After all, your major is one the main factors (though not the only one!) that will determine your career options after graduation. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed about declaring a major, don’t worry: you’re not alone! Read on for five resources that can guide you in your decision:

  1. Fill out this worksheet from QuintCareers.com. This tool allows you to chart your interests, abilities, and values to narrow down your search. It’s also a good way to compare notes based on your research of potential majors and careers.
  1. Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. The OOH states the education and training needed for hundreds of occupations. If you have an idea of what career you’d like to pursue, the OOH can help you determine the major and degree requirements for your chosen field.
  1. Know your Myers-Briggs personality type. If you still aren’t sure what field you’d like to enter, you can use your Myers-Briggs personality type to help identify potential careers. See last week’s post to learn about the Myers-Briggs personality indicator and determine your type. Also, check out this article for tips on choosing a major based on your Myers-Briggs type.
  1. Take the Strong Interest Inventory. Like the Myers-Briggs personality indicator, the Strong Interest Inventory can help you identify careers that suit your strengths and interests. With this knowledge in hand, you can choose your major based on your desired career. If you haven’t taken the Strong Interest Inventory yet, but would like to do so, contact your OCRS advisor.
  1. Visit your school’s Career Services office! One of the best resources for help with choosing a major is right at your fingertips! To learn more about what Career Services can offer you, plan to attend one of the Career Services Workshops offered by the Office of College Retention and Success next month. Choose from one of the following sessions, depending on your spring break schedule:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

11:00 AM-12:00 PM


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

11:00 AM-12:00 PM

RSVP to Kelly Crodian at 215-790-1666 ext. 420


Get to Know Yourself with the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator

Do you know your Myers-Briggs personality type? The Myers-Briggs personality indicator can be a great tool for gaining insight into your inherent abilities, motivations, and desires. Knowing your Myers-Briggs personality type can be especially helpful to college students, because your type can indicate a lot about your learning style and career fit.

The Myers-Briggs personality indicator was developed between the late 1910s and mid-1940s by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, with the intention of making analytical psychologist C. G. Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in people’s lives. The Myers-Briggs indicator works by measuring your personal preferences in four different areas:

  1. Your favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I), respectively.
  1. Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
  1. Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
  1. Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

Your Myers-Briggs personality type is one of the 16 possible combinations of preferences. For example, an extraverted (E), sensing (S), thinking (T), perceiving (P) individual would be type ESTP.

See all 16 personality types with brief descriptions below:


Ready to learn your type? Take a simple inventory here!

Adapted from:


The Basics of Networking in College

Have you ever heard the old saying, “it isn’t always about what you know, but who you know?” While academics obviously play a critical role in preparing for success after college, making social connections that can help you advance your future career can be just as essential. That’s why networking, or cultivating productive relationships for employment or business purposes, is an important aspect of social wellness for college students. Now more than ever, it’s important to build a solid network in order to open yourself to a wide array of career opportunities – especially while you’re still in college. This week, we’ll discuss seven steps you can take now to build your professional network.

  1. Start with People You Already Know

Think of the contacts you have through family, friends, roommates, and of course, Philadelphia Futures, and begin to expand your network by asking them about people they know in certain careers. You will find that most people are very willing to share their knowledge with you.

  1. Get to Know Your Professors

Many of the professors you have right now can be invaluable sources of advice, guidance, and networking. Teachers and professors have associations and relationships in the business world as well as the campus community, and could even set up introductions that could lead to a job in the future. However, you have to take the first step and reach out to them. Don’t be shy! Most professors are happy to have the opportunity to share their knowledge with you.

  1. Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the most effective ways to build relationships with people. Your involvement with an organization bonds you to other members or volunteers within that organization. By working together to reach a common goal, you are automatically building relationships that can become valuable resources.

  1. Intern or Get a Part-Time Job in Your Field

This will provide you with an excellent opportunity to gain hands-on experience in your chosen field. Applications for our paid internship program, Career Futures, will be available before winter break for students who have sophomore standing and at least a 2.5 GPA. If you don’t meet those criteria, make it your goal to apply next year!

Futures collegians Kevin, Anita and Luis, built their networks this summer through Career Futures internships at Lincoln Financial.

Futures collegians Kevin, Anita and Luis, built their networks this summer through Career Futures internships at Lincoln Financial.

  1. Adopt a Mentor

No matter where you are in your career, it’s always good to have a mentor. This is especially important in college, when you’re at a critical point in your career development. By associating with someone already out in the field, you can learn all kinds of insights that you won’t get in the classroom. For Sponsor-A-Scholar students, be in good touch with your mentor, even if you are busy. For College Connection students, seek out caring adults at your school or in your community.

  1. Visit Your School’s Career Center – Often!

Your campus career or professional development center can be an invaluable resource in making professional connections. Visit often to find out about networking events and career fairs on or near campus. Remember, they are there to help you succeed!

  1. Always Be Prepared

Networking happens in unlikely places and in unlikely ways. Always be prepared for opportunities to make a connection. Craft your own “elevator pitch” – a thirty-second speech that sums up who you are, what you do, and what kind of career you hope to enter. For expert advice on crafting your elevator pitch, click here.

Remember, taking the time to cultivate valuable connections in college is an investment in your future. Don’t wait until after graduation to start building your network! Now is the time to let as many people as possible get to know you, and about your interests and goals. You never know when a good connection can turn into a great opportunity!

Adapted from: