Face Time: Students connect with leaders and employers at SPARK:Philly

Man, what a night at SPARK! The rain didn’t deter motivated students and recent grads from gaining real insight into launching a successful career in Philadelphia straight from employers who’ve thrived here.

Wait, what’s SPARK:Philly? It’s Campus Philly’s newest event, which was built on the premise that real connections should always be at the center of every career search.

The event format was divided into two parts. The first half of the event was very intimate with leaders from Philadelphia-area companies and students sitting in a circle. This personal set-up encouraged small group discussions where leaders drew upon their own experiences and answered any questions students had.

The second half was all about making connections! 28 employers from across the Philadelphia region gathered in a room to meet students who were ready to start the conversation about THE next step– landing that first job. You can check out the full list of leaders and employers below.

With all those meaningful convos happening in one place, we overheard a lot of great things. Here are a few so you can get the vibe of the event:

“I learned that you should network within a company once you get hired. I never thought about that. Stephon from IBC told me that and described how he does it. ”

“I didn’t know there would be so many other schools here.  I thought it would just be the big ones but I met students from Bryn Mawr College and Chestnut Hill College in my discussion group and that was cool.”

“I learned that before you go in for an interview, read the job description and really study it and then use the words they use in the job description when you’re talking to the interviewer.”

“I rushed over after class because I never pass up an opportunity to get a job that’s not me working at a grocery store.” We asked him how the evening was turning out for him and he said, “‘Great. I have an interview tomorrow at Republic Bank.’”

We realized we couldn’t fit all of Philadelphia’s greatness and coolness into one event so we’re having another one! Join us at Pipeline Philly on Thursday, October 13 for Create-adelphiaIt will be your chance to learn the ins and outs of all sectors of the local creative industry. Hear about the range of local opportunities available in Philadelphia’s thriving creative and cultural sector and learn how to get started from a panel of local professionals working at companies and arts institutions across the Philadelphia region. Afterwards, stay for a networking reception to meet the panelists and other students interested in building a creative career. Register here.

Employers included:
GSK, Bentley Systems, Vanguard, SEPTA, SEER Interactive, Saxbys, Philly Pretzel Factory, URBN, Bancroft, Campbell Soup Company, Comcast, CubeSmart, Deloitte, DiD, First Financial Group, Frontline Education, IKEA, Independence Blue Cross, Inspire Energy, New Penn Financial, Publicis Health, Republic Bank, TD Bank, TherapyNotes, Verizon Wireless and Villa.

Discussion leaders included:
Jeffrey Bierman | Bentley Systems, Kenny Kim | Brownstein Group, Courtneay Friday | Campbell Soup Company, Maulan Byron | Comcast, Keim Calafiore | CubeSmart, Khoa Huynh | Deloitte, Kate Concannon | DiD, Logan Axelson | DVRC, Robert Johnson | Einstein Healthcare Network, Melissa Alam | Femme & Fortune, Drew An Brubaker | Frontline Education, Michael Koetting | GSK, Brian Drozd | IKEA, Stephon Singleton | Independence Blue Cross, Casey Plasket | Inspire Energy, Emma Fried-Cassorla | J2 Design Partnership, Adam Brunner | New Penn Financial, Laurie Mellon | Publicis Health, Ali Freezman | SEER Interactive, Micah Sulaiman | SEPTA, Nicole Gill | Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, Aaron Horton | Temple University, STHM, Anthony Wisniewski | TherapyNotes, Gavin Grant | Vanguard, and Dion Ringgold | Villa.

O is for outdoors AND opera

This Saturday, pack like you’re going on a picnic and make your way down to the first Open Arts College Night of the semester– Opera Philadelphia’s Opera on the Mall, a FREE, big-screen broadcast of Puccini’s classic, Turandot, in the shadow of Independence Hall!

Gates open at 6:00pm and the broadcast will begin at 7:00pm. Come early for the best seat spot of grass. When you’re settled, stop by our Open Arts table to say “hi.”

It’s always a good idea to do your research before you head to the opera, so we’ll set the stage for what to expect on Saturday:

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Text by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni
Performed in Italian with English supertitles

Imperial ultimatum

In an imagined ancient China, the beautiful Princess Turandot reigns with an iron fist and an ice-cold heart. To her wooers, she has issued a decree: he who can answer her riddles will win her hand—all others will face beheading. When a mysterious man passes her test, will she finally open her heart to love? Puccini’s final work is one of his grandest, featuring forbidden romance and gorgeous melodies, including the rousing anthem “Nessun dorma.” This kaleidoscopic co-production, called “miraculous” by Opera News, features stunning sets, costumes, and choreography.

Not an Open Arts member yet? Sign up here using the code “1617.”

Your 1st First Friday in Old City

If you’re an art nerd at heart, a curious Philly local who’s been meaning to explore Old City, or just looking for something new to do, we’ve got a very Old City night planned for you! On Friday a.k.a. “First Friday,” October 7, we will be hosting an Open Arts gathering in the Arden Theatre lobby.  Come by to check-in, receive an art crawl map as well as a discount card for local restaurants and business, like National Mechanics and The Victoria Freehouse, for the night.

Haven’t been to Old City? It looks like it is straight out of a movie, especially with Penn’s Landing in walking distance over looking the water. This section of Philadelphia is sprinkled with cute cafes, cobblestone roads, and city parks and gardens that are to die for. Personally, it’s one of my favorite parts of the city, especially walking around Penn’s Landing with ice cream from The Franklin Fountain. If it’s a little on the chillier side like it is now, I recommend hitting up one of the many quaint coffee shops in the area, my personal favorite being Customs Coffee House (Double Shots) on Chestnut Street.

The best way to really get a feel for First Friday is to just go exploring! Check out the places highlighted in the Old City Art Crawl Map and after you see those, keep walking around and you’ll find all the art nooks and culture crannies that are all over Old City.

I always find something new that I love about this section of the city and First Friday may be your way to finding your new favorite piece of Philadelphia. Mark your calendar for October 7th, 5 to 9 p.m. and get ready for some art, culture and beauty in one of Philly’s most historic neighborhoods! Happy adventuring!

P.S. After your First Friday stroll, catch “Stupid F**king Bird” at the Arden Theatre at 8 p.m. Use promotion code CAMPUS16 to receive your discounted $20 tickets. Not an Open Arts member? Sign up here using the code “1617.”

Philly’s got that SPARK

As we’re gearing up for Campus Philly’s newest event, SPARK:Philly, we joined program manager, Debora Charmelus, to get some insight on the event. SPARK is a networking event where students can get a grasp on how to start their careers in Philadelphia from professionals who have thrived here. 

ZD: Can you introduce yourself to us?

DC: My name is Debora Charmelus! I’m the program manager at Campus Philly. I help to lead the professional development initiatives.

ZD: Where did you get the inspiration for SPARK:Philly?

DC: When we were deciding our fall career events, we were really looking at the feedback that we got from students and a lot of students said that they wanted to hear more stories and talk to people who had been in their position. We decided that SPARK would be an opportunity for us to get together with some leaders in Philadelphia and get them to talk about where they started and give authentic advice about where they started in Philadelphia.  

ZD: Which companies will be in attendance?

DC: We’re going to have dozens of employers in attendance, some notable ones include our sponsors GSK, Vanguard and Bentley Systems. 

ZD: What important details should we know for certain companies? (as in, what kind of things should we research?)

DC: You should set aside an hour before you go to a networking event to do research. You should definitely look through their website, find their mission statement, but I definitely think it’s also helpful to look at their social media. You want to be a culture fit, as well as someone who can bring new skills in.

ZD: You say we should dress to impress while staying true to ourselves, is there anything you recommend we shouldn’t wear?

DC: You want to dress as professional as possible, maybe stay away from t-shirts. I love my chucks and sneakers but you know, choose some sensible dress shoes. You will be standing up, so maybe something comfortable but professional. You want to show off your personality.

ZD: Do you have any networking tips for someone who’s never done it before?

DC: My number one tip is to be yourself. We always think of networking as a chance to sell yourself, and that’s true, but when you’re authentic that’s when you make a true connection with a person. Think of networking as meeting up with a classmate who you’ve never met before. What do you guys talk about? Do you guys talk about your job? Yeah, maybe a little bit but you also talk about your skills, what you like, your hobbies, what’s fun for you to do.

ZD: What kinds of questions would you ask prospective employers?

DC: A lot of the time student’s get wrapped up in the logistics of things like what should I have on my resume or what should my cover letter be like. Those are important, but you want to know what it’s actually like to work there. They’re interviewing you, but you’re also interviewing them! So talk about the day to day, what values are important to them, you should ask them.

ZD: What kind of things should you say when following up with an employer?

DC: You definitely want to thank them for their time, show that you appreciate the time that you spoke to them. Definitely what’s helpful is bringing up something you talked about in the conversation, so if you talked about the employer’s red shoes, definitely bring that up. If you talked about dogs, bring that up as well and of course, asking them a question doesn’t hurt.

ZD: Do you think thank you notes via email are less memorable?

DC: Sending a note is memorable whether it’s via email or a handwritten note! But sending a handwritten note is definitely more impactful, think about the last time you’ve gotten a handwritten note.

ZD: Why do you think it’s important for students to go to these kinds of networking events?

DC: I look at networking events as a chance to connect with other people. But also a way to connect in word and connect to yourself. I think that after a networking event you should do the thank you notes and the follow-ups but also reflect and think back, ‘why didn’t I speak to this organization or why did this particular organization in general draw to me?”

ZD: What steps do you think students need to take in order to improve their professionalism?

DC: Every student is different so their are no particular steps. I think always asking someone who is sort of an authority figure how to do better, they’ll be honest with you, they’ll be 100%.

ZD: What are you most excited for with this event?

DC: Just meeting new students and connecting them! It’s just always a lot of fun and I love connecting people, that’s why I’m in the industry that I’m in, to see students connect with employers and seeing that Spark come to be is what I’m most excited for.

ZD: What’s your biggest piece of advice for students attending this event?

DC: Do your research and be yourself! Don’t feel like you have to portray this person who isn’t real. At these networking events they are looking for someone who they can have a conversation with at the water cooler so definitely be yourself 100% and the perfect job will find you.

Don’t forget to do your research and come out Thursday September 29th and 5:30 for SPARK:Philly!

Look No Further: Internship Help

As a senior in college, I completely understand the pain of looking for an internship. I’ve searched since my sophomore year, applied, reapplied, fixed my resume then applied again and sometimes it seems as if nothing works. So here’s my advice to all the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and even seniors who need a little extra help snagging that dream internship.

P.S. Once your resume is spruced up, head over to this Thursday’s career event — SPARK: Philly— at WHYY Studios.  SPARK will give you the opportunity to gain real insight into launching a successful career in Philadelphia straight from employers who have thrived here. Leaders from Philadelphia-area companies will encourage small group discussions by drawing upon their own experiences and answer any questions that you may have. The event will conclude will networking to connect with hiring companies and other college students.

Fix your resume.
Don’t have a resume? Make one. Seriously. You’re trying to sell yourself to an employer, so you want to highlight your accomplishments and everything that shows them you’re a good candidate. Don’t forget to include your school information.  Philadelphia schools in general are very impressive, whether the big ones or small– don’t sell yourself short.

Know where to look.
There are so many different sites to use to start your search. Being that you are a student in or near Philadelphia, I suggest starting with Campus Philly’s career page. It has a whole list of internships in the city and in surrounding areas, and outlines exactly what the job entails. 

Go into this with an open mind
When I first started looking for internships I only wanted to work with huge companies, but those are highly competitive. I’m not saying you can’t do it, but don’t let those big companies be the only ones you apply to. Start off small and work with what you’re experience is. You can find some real gems out there, especially in Philadelphia where there’s so much going on all the time.

Don’t forget to use your school’s resources
Most schools, if not all of them have some type of career education services. They are there to help you and even have their own search engines to help you find internships. These people are there to help you, so let them!

Apply. Apply. Apply.
Going along with keeping an open mind, you want to apply for a lot of internships at one time. Take advantage of how many internships are available, just because it isn’t 100% what you were looking for, you may end up loving your internship. A great place to find job postings? Campus Philly’s career site.  They have a special Online Job & Internship Fair (OJIF) happening October 24-28!  

Know your deadlines!
Landing that internship is a priority to you, so put it at the top of  your to-do list. You don’t want to miss out on an internship you really want because you submitted everything a day late.

Keep track of EVERYTHING.
Especially if you apply for many internships. You don’t want to get a response from a company and have to scramble around to find out which one it was. Make sure you keep a note of which internship is which.

Go to networking events. (Like SPARK!)
Your school holds or informs you about networking events that go on throughout the year. Go to them! This is a great way to meet possible employers and connect with them. Also, Campus Philly holds great networking events as well, such as SPARK: Philly, that help you meet employers throughout Philadelphia.

If there’s contact info, contact them.
Everyone is busy, so sometimes you have to take that initiative and contact an employer. It’s ok to follow up on the status of your application– it shows you’re really interested and determined.

Don’t give up!
It feels like it’s all for nothing, but trust me, if you’re persistent and determined, it’ll all work out and you’ll land that awesome internship in one of the greatest cities in the U.S.

So there you have it, my advice to you on how to land that internship. Just take your time, sort everything out and you’ll land that job in no time. Good luck and happy searching!

Dress to impress at our fall career events

Written by: Debora Charmelus, Campus Philly Program Manager 

First impressions are important at career events, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice style for professionalism. With our fall career events— SPARK:Philly and Create-adelphia–right around the corner, we asked our friends at Publicis Health to join us and show off how they balance business wear with fun attire! Check out their style below:










The SPARK that ignites and inspires

Written by: Debora Charmelus, Campus Philly Program Manager 

is only days away. Now’s the time for you start prepping for the evening. We wouldn’t be Campus Philly if we didn’t recommend some great spots for you to check out. Here are our tips for making the most of SPARK:

Do your research on the participating companies

Before you attend SPARK:Philly, you should take an hour to do your research on the organizations that will be in attendance. Our favorite settings to buckle down and take advantage of free Wi-Fi include Ultimo, a tiny coffee shop in Graduate Hospital where you’ll find students and young professionals alike with their heads in their laptops, and Dilworth Park, where –in between google searches- you can people watch and grab gelato from the nearby Capogiro cart. Yum!

Get a professional outfit that shows your personality

You’ve heard the adage a million time- first impressions are important. At SPARK, you’ll want to wear something that shows that you can get the job done while being true to yourself. There’s no need to break the bank when looking for fresh threads- Philly’s abundance of thrift stores has got you covered- literally! Buffalo Exchange always has the most up to date styles, Philly Aids Thrift has an entire room dedicated to clothing items that only cost a dollar, and for a range of fashion finds we love The Attic on the historic Main Street in Manayunk. Need ideas on how to dress? Check out our guide on stylish professional wear!

Fuel up for a great impression

We’ll have some Philly themed snacks for you at SPARK, but you should plan to come with a full stomach so you can focus on being your best. Luckily, SPARK:Philly is located in Historic Philadelphia, close to some great bites. National Mechanics features great Americana fare with an Olde City feel. Need a caffeine fix? La Colombe, creators of the Draft Latte, is right around the corner.

Grab thank you cards to continue the connection

It’s an absolute must to send a follow up to employers that you’ve connected to after the event, but if you really want to make an impression, we’d recommend sending a handwritten note through good ol’ fashion snail mail. Paper Source has some great cards and stationary that you can even customize. Want to buy cards in bulk? You should check out the newest Target, located right in Center City Philadelphia.

If you haven’t registered for SPARK, what are you waiting for?! SPARK is your chance to meet dozens of employers and gain authentic advice on how to get ahead in Philadelphia.

Register today! 

CollegeFest: Where Students Meet Philly

What’s the best way to explore the city you live in and beat the heat? CollegeFest!

On Saturday, September 10th was Campus Philly’s CollegeFest; a great way for students, new and returning, to get around Philadelphia and explore all the city has to offer (for free or a very low price, I might add). As a senior in college, CollegeFest is definitely one of my favorite events to kick off the fall semester, see a bunch of my friends from all over the city as well as other schools, and check out museums. Whether alone or with a group of friends, there’s no better way than to get a feel of what Philly has to offer than this.

Dilworth Park was packed with students when I’d arrived with my roommates, even though it was still relatively early. Students from all over the Philadelphia area– Arcadia, Temple, Villanova, Drexel and more.  Music was blasting, people were dancing, playing games and generally really enjoying themselves, despite the heat. With City Hall in the background, the entire event looked picture perfect, like it was out of a movie. Coming from a smaller school like Arcadia, it was awesome to get to see all the other students who share the city and were just as excited for all of the day’s events.

Being CollegeFest veterans, my friends and I immediately hit up the exhibitor booths spread across Dilworth Park. We weaved in and out of the booths, signing up for various things like Lyft, registering to vote on our campuses and even offering up our most athletic friend to try the Army ROTC challenge of seeing how long she could hold herself up (spoiler alert, she only lasted five seconds). 

After that, we headed to the closest Philly PHLASH Downtown Bus Loop stop to head off to a few of the participating museums. It was my first time riding the PHLASH, and I thought it was really convenient way to get around especially with so many students who may not know their way around just yet. Our first stop was Eastern State Penitentiary, which also happened to be holding a flea market that day. Everything at the market was fairly priced and a lot of it was really cool. I even picked up a few things to hang in my apartment. Next, we headed inside Eastern State, taking a quick tour of the inside. Being a history nerd, I definitely got a lot out of the museum, learning a lot of its history and more about Al Capone’s time at E.S.P. and how the prison as a whole operated.

After the tour, we headed on a journey to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), stopping first for something to eat at The Bishop’s Collar, a small pub on Fairmount Ave. Philly tip: If you’re just strolling around, I definitely recommend checking out any restaurant you can because you’ll find little gems at every corner like we did.

Fueled up and ready to go, we headed to the PMA.  For anyone who didn’t get to visit this past CollegeFest, I highly recommend heading there when you have the chance. Not only will you get to walk up the (admittedly long) iconic Rocky Steps, and see some amazing art, but you’ll also get a view of Philadelphia that is unreal. The inside of the museum itself is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and  definitely something everyone should see.  I even ran into a couple of friends from campus in various rooms. Along with being a history nerd, I’m also an art nerd, so being able to see some of my favorite artists like Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet was exciting for me. Even artists I’d never heard of had some of the most beautiful art I’d ever seen.

By the time we finished, we were hot, sweaty and ready to head home, so we took the Philly PHLASH one last time to head to Suburban Station. Throughout the station were more college students, just as tired as us, all carrying their free things or leftover food from various restaurants they’d eaten at. I think the general consensus was that CollegeFest 2016 was a success. So to all the Philly students who didn’t get to make it out this year, or even the ones who didn’t make it to all CollegeFest had to offer, I definitely recommend heading out across the city whenever you have a free day. CollegeFest was only a fraction, a sample bite, of what Philadelphia has to offer to students. Whether you’re heading to the museums you missed or just exploring, it will definitely be worth the trip!

The Real Deal: Careers

Written by Debora Charmelus, Campus Philly Program Manager 

Let’s face it– figuring your life out is scary. At one point, you were lost on campus searching for your math class. Now you’re at the tail end of your college career staring head on at the always looming question: “What’s next?” 

Maybe you’ve known what you wanted to do since you were 6. Maybe you don’t even know what you’re doing in an hour. The fact is no one knows for sure what’s going to happen next, especially when planning a career. As nerve-wracking as it can be, leaving room for uncertainty means opportunity for growth. And the best way to figure out what the next step is by learning what other people have done when faced with the same questions that you have.

That’s where Campus Philly comes in.  

We’re bringing in leaders from across the Philadelphia region to talk about how they got their career started. They’re going to be keeping it real: talking about the moments that were pivotal to their growth and the mistakes they made. This is an opportunity to ask all the questions that are on your mind about starting your future in Philadelphia. Instead of being talked to, you’ll get a chance to have your voice heard and get real, honest, raw career advice.

We have three great events this semester, two in person and one online. SPARK:Philly will be a chance for any college students of all majors to talk to young professionals about their career was started. Create-adelphia will feature a panel of creative leaders who will speak on how to navigate the Philly’s thriving creative sector. An added bonus? All in person events will with a meet and greet with employers who are looking for future. At the end of October, we’ll host our annual Online Job and Internship Fair, where you can connect hundreds of local employers at our career site, campusphilly.org/careers.