January 8, 2024 | , ,

Prioritize Your Professional Development: Campus Philly’s Ultimate Career Guide for Young Professionals, by Young Professionals

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Presented by The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the Young Professionals Council (YPC)

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YPC is more than just a network. It’s an experience.

Campus Philly is thrilled to present our Ultimate Career Guide, created in partnership with The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the Young Professionals Council (YPC)! This Guide brings students, recent graduates, and young professionals a deeper insight—and an honest look—into today’s workforce. We are here to share all the reasons why now is the time to start prioritizing your professional development. 

The Young Professionals Council (YPC), a Council of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, connects young, ambitious, and visionary people with a strong, diverse network of peers, mentors, and regional business and civic leaders.

With over 1,500 young leaders working in diverse industries and environments throughout Greater Philadelphia, YPC is the resource for young professionals in our region to make meaningful connections. Through consistent programming, leadership, and service opportunities, members will ultimately become more experienced, community-oriented, and connected.

Learn more about joining this incredible community, and the benefits included with your membership, here!

Campus Philly got the chance to connect with the young professionals in YPC to hear their advice for college students, recent graduates, and emerging professionals in the Philly region. 

This Ultimate Career Guide is filled with stories, resources, and fun tidbits from folks in a variety of positions in the City of Philadelphia, who all have advice for YOU. Happy reading!

INTERVIEW ADVICE


Abby Stryker on
Interview Prep
Assistant Account Executive | Maven Communications

“I had prepared for my interview by looking over the company website and their clients, and determined how I would be a good fit for them. Remember: They’re interviewing you, but you’re also interviewing them to make sure it’s a right fit. Also, I prepared questions, as well! Think about their work, life, culture—things like that. I think what made the interview go so well was how prepared I was; so my biggest advice: prepare!”

 

Melissa McClure on Interview Experience
Global Tourism Sales Manager | Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

“I went into a group interview, which I had never done before. I unfortunately did not excel while in this group setting—as you not only need to set yourself apart from others, but you know you’re speaking to a much larger group of people. So I think it’s just a little nerve-racking.”

“However, one of the greatest assets within my career has been learning to be flexible and not be afraid to pivot to remain in-line with my passions. Remember that there is not just one path, and that while taking a less traditional road may be scary (i.e. less money, unsure what will be next, etc.), it can also be the most rewarding.”

Vanessa Stoltzfus on Interview Prep
Product Strategy Analyst | BlackRock

“I went to Drexel University and I studied finance and economics, and now I work in institutional liquidity and risk management. Now this [interview] was a role for a trading position. And they asked me in the interview, ‘What do you know about municipal bonds?’ And I looked them in the eye, and I said, ‘Not a lick. I can figure out what it is, logically, by those words, but I have no experience with that. But if you tell me what to do, I can promise you that I’ll give it my best.’

The only reason I brought that up is because, while the advice of ‘don’t say I don’t know’ is good advice—exercise discretion. And that got me the job. I’ve been here for four years now and I’ve been promoted. I work in recruiting now, in addition to investments. It is okay to not know!”

PROFESSIONAL ADVICE

Rennia Rodney on the Importance of Internship Experience
Coordinator, Talent Strategies | The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

“When I was in college I really agonized over my major. I didn’t want to take five years to finish my degree, because I was going to school out of state, and it was the source of so much stress. But in the summer, between my freshman and sophomore year, I spent that summer in New York. I started meeting up with some alumni from the nearby art school. I connected with the school’s music theater and dance departments, and realized that there were all sorts of different careers—so, maybe I didn’t have to double major and do all this other coursework. They found their way into those roles by way of their internship experience and their extracurriculars, and I could do the same.

Alex Schwartz on Tracking Your Progress
Senior Communications and Marketing Manager | Brownstein

“A boss of mine once told me, ‘if people don’t know what they’re paying you for, they’re not going to keep paying you for it.’

You need to be able to prove what you’re doing here—and that was really useful. And that’s kind of really been the most major turning point in my career to this point.”

Haley Hnatuk on LinkedIn Advice and Tracking Your Success
Senior Podcast Producer & Marketing Specialist | Fastmail

One of the best pieces of advice is tracking your successes. Track anything that you do and accomplish outside of your listed responsibilities!

In order to have a better system for keeping track of your successes, challenges, and obstacles you overcome, make yourself a Google Form, and every week on your calendar, put a time where you just go in, fill out your own Google Form and answer your own questions (ie, goals, accomplishments, projects, etc). That way, you can have just one document of everything together by week, with the date, so you know exactly when those items happened!

And, of course, some LinkedIn advice.

I’ve always loved Linkedin. I got my current job by sending a message to our COO on Linkedin because I saw her speaking on a panel. I just reached out to her. But I spent a lot of time curating my Linkedin when I was in college.

One piece of advice I got from one of my mentors that I think has been really helpful for me now is: don’t let your Linkedin die when you have a job. If you are accomplishing things, post about it on LinkedIn.

Like, if you wrote an article with Campus Philly about your current job, post about that on LinkedIn.

Add those things to your current role under files to make sure that you’re keeping it updated, so that when you’re looking for that next step it’s not like, ‘Oh, my gosh! I have to start from 0 and try to remember all of these things!’ But, instead, you’re starting from a place that has already been updated, has all of these great assets, and has the timelines built in— because you built them in—all when you were doing the things!”

 

Kiana Porter on Problem Solving
Talent Development Specialist | Drexel University

“I am in Talent Development at Drexel University. I’ve been here for about a year; prior to that, I was in learning and development at a consulting firm.

I think the best professional advice I’ve received was: you can ask Google, ask your mom, ask a friend, but do not ask your boss first. Exhaust all other options before you go to your boss with an issue—or go with an issue and a solution.”

Brian Balduzzi on Salary Negotiation
Private Client Attorney | Baker Drinker

“I work as a Private Client Attorney at Baker Drinker in Philadelphia.

One thing that I don’t think I’ve heard yet is negotiating a salary increase, which is really uncomfortable for folks. This is something that I did out of business school, actually, and something that I continue to mentor folks on thinking about when it’s appropriate to negotiate a salary.

I really encourage the folks that I mentor to talk with people that work in that industry and know, based on the level of the job description and on the company, where there might be an opportunity to negotiate.

What are the factors that you’re considering? Do you have another job offer for which is comparable and salary could be the tipping ground? Are you making a move such that they could perhaps give you a discretionary moving reallocation?

It’s really uncomfortable, I think, for our generation to ask for what we’re worth.

So the more that you can find a mentor that really can talk you through how you’re presenting yourself, how you’re talking about money, how you’re talking about the value you’re adding—I think the more comfortable we are in negotiating.”

 

Senzwa Ntshepe on Professional Goals
President | The Connect

Your job is to explore what’s out there until you find a role, industry, or company that’s in alignment with your goals. Don’t chase the job, chase the mission.”

 

NETWORKING & RECRUITING ADVICE

Sarah Cardwell on Working with a Recruiter
Major Guest Fundraising | Drexel University

“I work at Drexel University in major guest fundraising and [the hiring manager] found me through Linkedin. I think that’s how often recruiters find people now, at least in my industry. And she was great. She was really warm. Sometimes you’ll get on the phone with the recruiter, and it’s kind of like a machine. I talked to others, and she was really personable, wanted to get to know me personally, professionally, etc., and she was fantastic!”

 

Shaquierra Brown on Networking
Partnerships | Campus Philly

“I was introduced to an app called GroupMe in college, and later I was added to a group for people that are POC young professionals. Someone mentioned that they had a lot of professional connections and were just rattling off some people that they knew, just to try to help other people to get their first job. And someone mentioned that they had a connection at a local media company. And so, I DM’d them on GroupMe. Then they introduced me to someone who worked at the company over Zoom!

I did a coffee chat and they brought in someone else who was also in HR. It was kind of like a pre-interview, and the very next day they let me know that they were going to be hiring for something that they thought I might be a good fit for. I ended up applying and then two weeks later, I received an offer. So I think it’s interesting how you can network in order to find your way into opportunities!

Network, network, network!

Eboni Rhodes on Networking
Community Outreach Coordinator | PECO

Networking is key! It is tough—but put yourself out there and you will see the benefits.”

 

 

Ramune Bartuskaite on Networking
Associate | FIFTEEN Architecture + Design

Join professional organizations in your industry!  They’re a great way to gain mentors, build your knowledge, and feel connected to the city. 

Even if they feel intimidating at first, you’ll find that most organizations love to welcome student and recent graduates, and foster the next generation of talent!”

 

Brandon Cisneros on Networking
Freelance Marketing Specialist  | Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 

Network! If it wasn’t for the support from my current network, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” 

 

 

Ashley Carter on Networking
Senior PR Manager | Allen & Gerritsen

Perseverance helped me immensely on my career journey and networking.

Most people say your network is your net worth and while that can be very true you have to be self-motivated. A connection may help you get the job but your hard work and dedication alone will help you keep it.

 

POST-GRAD ADVICE

Jacquelyn Kirk on the Post-Grad Journey
Business Recruiting Manager | PwC

“The biggest piece of advice I can give to graduating seniors is to remember to differentiate yourself during the job search. Keep in the back of your mind that there are several applicants all vying for the same position and more than likely you all have a similar background (whether that be your major or courses you have taken).

Think outside the box and put yourself in the manager’s shoes who is looking at what may be dozens of resumes. What do they see on your resume that differentiates you? Perhaps you have some unique volunteering experience, or you worked some additional jobs to pay for school. If you don’t have any differentiating factors yet, don’t be discouraged. It’s never too late and sign up to volunteer in your community!”

Jessica Draves on Utilizing Your Career Center
Group Sales Manager | Club Quarters Rittenhouse Philadelphia

Lean on your Career Center, even after you graduate, to assist you with making sure your resume/cover letter/reference letter is set to send off into the world. They are always going to be a  valuable resource to you when you need it!”

Gabrielle Seay on Figuring out your Next Step
Judicial Law Clerk | First Judicial District 

It’s alright if you don’t have your career figured out. Sometimes, it’s easier to rule out what you don’t want to do.”

Rachel Schuchman on Opportunity
Data Analytics & AI Consultant | PwC

Be open to new opportunities and apply to jobs you hadn’t previously considered!”

LIVING & WORKING IN PHILLY:

Kelly Lauersen on Living Philly
Director, Alumni Relations, Professional Networks and Career Development | Drexel University

Explore different neighborhoods! I’ve lived in Fairmount, Center City, Northern Liberties, and Fishtown, and they all have their own charm and unique perks. And go to a sporting event! Sports are such a big part of Philly’s culture.”

Eric Evangelista on Working in Philly
Office of the General Counsel | The Wistar Institute

Philadelphia’s a very unique market, and it can be difficult to find opportunities in the city. Keep an open mind when looking for jobs, and don’t discount companies with offices in the suburbs, Delaware, or New Jersey. Also, don’t rush to move out if you don’t have to! Rent prices in the city keep rising, and it’s perfectly reasonable to save money by living at home—if you can.”

 

Bradley Joseph Sinkaus on Working in Philly
Associate | SteegeThomson

I spent eight years in Washington, D.C., after graduating from Penn. I’m thrilled to be back in Philly and did a recent job search after moving to attain my current role at SteegeThomson. Philadelphia has so much to offer graduating seniors, and it’s easy to get blinded by the flashier, more common destination cities. But I would give Philadelphia a thorough look before graduating because you may find opportunities you never thought possible.”

Kathryn Gentile on Living in Philly
Assistant Director, Events and Marketing | Villanova University

Take advantage of all that Philly has to offer! Museums, music, restaurants, festivals—there’s so much to explore.”

Speaking of! Let’s hear about YPC members’ favorite Philly spots…

Bradley Joseph Sinkaus
Associate | SteegeThomson
Favorite place in Philly: I love the walk down Pine Street from my apartment to the River Walk. I usually grab a coffee on the way from J’aime or Rowhome, and sometimes stop in Fitler Square as well.

Ashley Carter
Senior PR Manager | Allen & Gerritsen
Favorite place in Philly: Chinatown!

Alexis Furlong
Director of Marketing and Communications | Independence Seaport Museum
Favorite place in Philly: Right behind Carpenters’ Hall in Old City is the 18th Century Garden.  While not necessarily off the beaten path, it’s secluded and rarely visited; so you feel that you are in your own private garden.  It’s the perfect place to read, listen to a podcast, or to reflect! 

Eric Evangelista
Office of the General Counsel | The Wistar Institute
Favorite place in Philly: Butcher & Singer

Kelly Lauersen
Director, Alumni Relations, Professional Networks and Career Development | Drexel University
Favorite place in Philly: Fishtown’s Penn Treaty Park (especially the view of the Ben Franklin Bridge) and all of the amazing bars and restaurants (Laser Wolf, LMNO, Kalaya, etc.) in the neighborhood!

Byron Thompson
CEO | Deca Development Group
Favorite place in Philly: Rally Coffee Shop

Rachel Schuchman
Data Analytics & AI Consultant | PwC
Favorite place in Philly: Franklin Institute

@campusphilly

The Franklin Institute is a must-stop for ANY incoming or current college student in Philadelphia, with a variety of science exhibits and interactive activities! College students can get FREE access to the @franklininstitute when you sign up for CollegeFest, happening September 9 & 10, 2023. Get your ticket now at the link in our bio. 🔭 #campusphilly #franklininstitute #philadelphia #thingstodophilidelphia #phl #philly #collegefest #freeevent

♬ original sound – CampusPhilly

Rachel Kurlander
Associate Director, Office of Government and Community Affairs | University of Pennsylvania
Favorite place in Philly: Wissahickon Valley Park

Gabrielle Seay
Judicial Law Clerk | First Judicial District
Favorite place in Philly: FDR Park

Brandon Cisneros
Freelance Marketing Specialist  | Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Favorite place in Philly: The Reading Terminal Market is always my favorite. There’s so many different restaurants with foods from all kinds of cultures. My favorite restaurant is the Dutch Eating Place, they hands down have the best breakfast and it’s less than $10! 

Eboni Rhodes
Community Outreach Coordinator | PECO
Favorite place in Philly: Cira Green

@campusphilly

Which Philly park is your favorite? Comment 👇 below!

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Jessica Draves
Group Sales Manager | Club Quarters Rittenhouse Philadelphia
Favorite place in Philly: Barnes Foundation

Kathryn Gentile
Assistant Director, Events and Marketing | Villanova University
Favorite place in Philly: The Italian Market

Jacquelyn Kirk
Business Recruiting Manager | PwC
Favorite place in Philly: Eating brunch at Parc (the breadbasket is my favorite) and then walking through the Farmer’s Market at Rittenhouse Square afterwards!

Kiana Porter
Talent Development Specialist | Drexel University
Favorite place in Philly: The Art Museum area and Kelly Drive!

Melissa McClure
Global Tourism Sales Manager | Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
Favorite place in Philly: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

If you enjoyed learning about YPC’s favorite places in Philly, make sure to check out Campus Philly’s Guide to Philly for more places to explore in Philly, along with food recs, things to do, getting around, and MORE!

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We hope you enjoyed learning more about YPC and hearing all of this awesome advice.

If you are interested in developing your networking skills, exploring new industries, and getting involved in your community: sign up Campus Philly’s upcoming networking and career events!

And of course, learn more about becoming a YPC member here.

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