Monthly Archives: October 2015

New To LinkedIn? Don’t Make These Rookie Mistakes!

LinkedIn is a wonderful resource for anyone who is looking to expand their professional network. Because it is easy to set up and reflects a resume, many of our students find it to be user-friendly and a helpful tool. But just as there are ways to look like a rookie on any social media platform, there are ways to look like a rookie on LinkedIn.  In his article on Careerealism, Don Goodman outlines 4 mistakes that will need to be avoided in order to really make your LinkedIn account shine.

  1. You connect with everyone – When establishing a LinkedIn account, it’s easy to go crazy and want to connect with anyone you can think of.  But remember LinkedIn is for networking purposes, so make sure the people you connect with are going to be a positive reflection of you – and that you are a positive reflection for them!
  2. Your profile picture isn’t great (or nonexistent!) – Your picture is many times the first impression a fellow LinkedIn user may have of you, so make sure it is clear, professional, and shows how approachable you are. Also keep in mind that many times, if a profile doesn’t have a picture, people will be less likely to accept the connection.
  3. Your sub-header doesn’t reflect how awesome you are – Your sub-header shows up in search results, along with your name and picture. Why have something bland, like “Marketing Specialist” when you could be “Marketing Specialist for Non-Profit Organizations With 5 Years Experience”? This conveys much more detail!
  4. You didn’t establish how private you want to be – This is especially important for anyone who may be job searching. Tweaking some of your privacy settings can limit how much of your information is shared with others (or not shared with your current employer!)

You can read the full article here:


Alyssa Reimenschneider, Study Abroad – London, England


As a child, my intimations of England were all kings and queens, fairies and dragons, castles and moats. As an adolescent, fueled with the romantic vestiges of Austen, Hardy, Dickens and the Brontës, those imaginings shifted to visions of moors and manor houses, poets and playwrights, country lanes and cottages, gowns and balls.

In twenty-first-century London, I have been unable to find any remnants of the idealized England of my literary fantasies, admittedly because those fantasies have sprung from either long-past history or plain fiction. Obviously, I didn’t really expect my experience here to be like a fairy tale or a Jane Austen novel. Still, I can’t help looking around every now and then and trying to force myself to reconcile my surroundings with my imagination, to realize that this is what it’s really like – this is the real England. And because I’ve pictured it for so long, in so many different ways, sometimes I also can’t help but feel a little disappointed if things here don’t turn out to be exactly what I thought they were. But all I needed to remedy that was a little trip to the countryside.


Last Sunday, CAPA set out on an excursion to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and Kenilworth Castle, the home of Robert Dudley, First Earl of Leicester and suitor of Queen Elizabeth I. With my love of literature, drama and history, this was the perfect outing to stir my imagination, bolster my spirits and rekindle my excitement for being in this country. A breather from the city can be a welcome respite, and a glimpse of the beauty of the countryside and the rich history of the nation were just what I needed.

The green fields of the midlands are hedged, rolling and dotted with the soft forms of hundreds of black and white sheep, and from the window of the coach bus they looked like the England of my imagination. As we made our way down a tree-dappled lane and pulled into the small village of Stratford-Upon-Avon, the enchantment continued.


I found myself weaving down cobbled streets between refurbished Tudor houses that saw Shakespeare and John Harvard through their school days. I stood in the graveyard of the little church where Shakespeare was buried, where his final words read “cursed be he that moves my bones,” and I stepped upon the creaky floors and narrow stairs in the house where he was born and raised. In the gardens outside, impromptu Shakespeare reciters shouted well-known verses to a semicircle of tourists. Cakes, baguettes and cashmere scarves lined the windows of the colorful shops on Henley Street. It couldn’t have been more picturesque.


Half an hour north, over more rugged country, Kenilworth Castle was even more striking. The autumn afternoon had grown brisk and blustery, and the craggy ruins of the once-magnificent castle peered over the tips of slowly-changing trees from its lonely perch on the hill. Although it had been battered and partially destroyed in the War of the Roses, its proud remnants stood strong and tall, and its surroundings were unspoiled by man or modernization – all that could be seen from its decaying turrets were miles of wild, stormy forests and fields and interspersed herds of cattle. It was the first castle I’ve ever seen in person, and I felt like I’d been waiting my whole life to stand in awe of its mysterious beauty.


As I stepped through the arbors and down the paths of its Elizabethan gardens, climbed the spiraling stairs of its crumbling towers and stood in the remains of chambers and halls that had once felt the footfalls of the Virgin Queen, I felt an invisible tie to the distant past and the whispers of the fictions I loved so well. They didn’t seem so impossible here, the kingdoms and dragons, the magic and battles, the carriages and stormy romances and long walks across moors. The wind seemed to carry echoes of things real and imaginary, and I could see them all from the battlements, dancing across the untamed fields.

This was the England I imagined, after all.


Alyssa Reimenschneider, Study Abroad – London, England


In the center of the whirlwind city of London, there is a 350-acre patch of semi-tamed wilderness, and its name is Hyde Park.CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Fall2015_From_Alyssa_Reimenschneider_-_Hyde_Park

At home in rural Pennsylvania, I’m used to miles of green, open fields and lush forests, the seasonal scents of cut grass and burning leaves, and moments of intense peace and quiet when I can hear the trees gently rustling and the flutter of birds’ wings in my backyard. I didn’t think I’d be able to find that here, where I am constantly surrounded by people and movement – dodging traffic and hurrying crowds of pedestrians on the street, pressed up against stranger’s backs in the tube, looking out the windows at cyclists and overground trains running between buildings, and drifting to sleep to the distant sound of high-pitched sirens. I’m not used to the heat and restlessness of urban living, and as invigorating as it can be, sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating in the throngs of bodies and vehicles and closely-packed buildings. Sometimes, over the noise of a million other lives in action, I can’t hear myself think.


So when last weekend came, after a very busy week in a very busy city, I decided to search for inner quietude in the one place I know I can always find it – nature.

I’ve never been to Central Park in New York City, and while I wasn’t entirely new to the concept of large parks within metropolises, I had some doubts as I waited to get off the tube at the Hyde Park Corner station. I had seen a fraction of the park in my first week in London, as I stumbled around dazed and overwhelmed, and it had seemed just as busy and crowded as the city. Hordes of people swarmed up and down the Broad Walk and flocked to Kensington Palace, and I didn’t see much opportunity for relaxation or reflection. Could I really get away from the city in a park surrounded by the city?


But this time, I entered the park from a different side. Wandering out off the tube, I wasn’t quite sure what I would find. I spotted the nearest wrought-iron gate, complete with a little sign labeled “push,” and, passing through it, I stumbled into a fairy world of Grecian statues, pastel flowers and delicate fountains. There were little circular walkways with picturesque benches tucked behind sprays of budding roses, brightly colored birds flitting between hedges and arched walkways greenly shadowed by a canopy of twisting vines. It was called the Rose Garden, and I was enchanted.


With my curiosity peaked, I delved further into the green Neverland of Hyde Park, leaving the city farther and farther behind me. Roaming through the heart of the park, I discovered that it contained wonder after wonder, and it was just as complex and surprising as London itself.


I passed the Serpentine, a sparkling, winding body of water lined with reeds and scattered with swans and geese, beside which people lounged and picnicked as if posing for a Seurat painting. I sat on the edge of the Diana memorial fountain and dipped my hand in the water while children laughed around me. I trekked through wide expanses of long grass where people lay secluded beneath trees or out in the sun, reading or sleeping or talking quietly. I followed footpaths through closely wooded areas where the trunks were mottled and ancient and the fingers of thin branches swept the ground with their burdens of leaves. I stood beneath the golden, towering Albert Memorial and strolled down the sleepy path of the Flower Walk. I watched a couple at target practice beside Kensington Palace and stood less than a foot from a swan near the Round Pond.


I circled and wove through and wandered aimlessly about Hyde Park for hours, passing waffle stands and Roman architecture, playgrounds and galleries, sculptures and parties on horseback and circles of stones. And everywhere I went, I felt the magic and quiet and diverse energy of an independent microcosm, a world from which the surrounding city was invisible.

I felt the invigoration of a budding romance and the comfort of a gentle sense of belonging. I had found a place that seemed like mine, a place that I could explore endlessly and return to again and again, where I could catch my breath and watch the seasons change. And I know that if ever again I feel lost in London, I can regain my balance by losing myself in Hyde Park.


Professionalism Starts with “You Guys”

One comment we frequently hear from employers is that recent graduates don’t seem as polished in the professionalism department as they could be. Texting instead of calling, using emojis in emails, and answering the phone with a “Hey, what’s up?” instead of a “hello” are all signs of a lack of professional communication skills. In some workplaces, this may be ok, but as the Culture and Manners Institute points out, it’s always better to “err on the side of formality.” Here’s some wonderful advice from their Tip of the Week:

“Hey guys! It’s time to talk about informal language.

That means not starting an email salutation with “Hey” or using “guys” to refer to everyone.

If someone says, “Thank you,” our response should be, “You’re (or You are) welcome” and not “No problem” or “No worries.”

Why should we care? Because other people care about this… a lot (or a great deal.) They tell me about it all the time.

Don’t freak out. That doesn’t mean they are old fashioned, uncaring, unfeeling stiffs. You might be surprised to learn they are people who are pulling for you, professionally and personally. (If you argue that you don’t want to be judged because of your informality, that train track runs both ways, Honey Bun.)

The whole idea of etiquette is to make the people around us more comfortable. Some think being informal makes people more comfortable. But sometimes, informality creates discomfort.

Err on the side of formality – in emails, snail mails and the spoken word, especially with people who are new to us. And even with people familiar to us with whom we have a businesslike relationship.

Instead of “Yeah” and “Nope,” kick it up a notch to “Yes” and “No.”

Not to say we should look unkindly upon the informals, if their intentions were honorable. Personally, it doesn’t bother me when people say, “No worries,” because I know they meant well. I have been known to let slip a “Yeah” or a “No problem” myself. Chillax! I’m working on it.

But I never say, “My bad” in place of “Excuse me,” or “I’m sorry.” That’s really irritating.

Err on the side of formality.

Glad we could have this talk. Love ya’ gobs.”

To find out more about professionalism, etiquette, and manners, we recommend checking out the Culture and Manners Institute at

That Awkward Moment When…

When preparing for an interview, it’s a common practice to psych yourself up: “Everything is going to be great! I’m going to answer every question perfectly!” It’s a wonderful way to build confidence, but it is also good practice to prepare for when things don’t go as well as hoped. Alyse Kalish from The Muse wrote an excellent piece on potentially awkward moments during an interview, and how to recover if they happen to you.  You can read the full article here:

Awkward Moment 1: You say something mean or rude about your previous employer
Recovery: More often than not, this happens because words come out wrong. Simply apologize and clarify “Oh, I’m so sorry, that didn’t come out right. What I meant to say is…”

Awkward Moment 2: You forget the word for something
Recovery: Don’t make something up! Just work around it and shift the focus to what is important- the topic is more significant than the name of a class or piece of lab equipment.

Awkward Moment 3: You swear
Recovery: Apologize and redirect! “I am so sorry, when I talk about XYZ I tend to get excited.  Essentially, …” For the rest of the interview, remember to breathe before you answer to prevent your excitement- and word choice- from getting ahead of you.

Awkward Moment 4: A question from out of the blue
Recovery: Reassure yourself (internally) that it happens to everyone. Ask the interviewer to give you a moment to think through your response.

Awkward Moment 5: There’s a lull in the conversation
Recovery: Don’t feel compelled to keep talking. Many times employers need a moment to take notes, physically or mentally. Take this opportunity to breathe and psych yourself up for the next question.

Awkward Moment 6: Your phone beeps, bings, or rings
Recovery: Resist the urge to answer it or type a response! Apologize, turn the volume- or better yet, your whole phone- off, and put it back in your bag or pocket.

Awkward Moment 7: Wardrobe Malfunction
Recovery: Clean up or fix the issues as best as you can, and make a joke to the interviewer. “Looks like my coffee would rather join the interview than stay in the cup!” Then, don’t focus on it again. Bonus points if you have a stain remover stick or an extra pin at the ready in case this happens to you!

Casey Ayers- Internship at Carpenter Technology


After working at this internship for about a month, I am learning a lot. I am learning what goes into acquiring raw materials and other materials to make products. I am learning what each order entails and what standards each vendor has to abide by. The internship so far has exceeded my expectations. I have been so busy and have had very little down time. I also feel like my work is very important to our purchasing team and not just somebody to copy and file papers. This is way different from Merrill Lynch where I had so much down time and sometimes did not have anything to do for a few days there. Being constantly busy and feeling like a part of the team is making for an awesome experience. The only real surprise that I have had is how much they want me to work. I thought around 20 hours a week would be my limit, but they want me there as much as possible. I have been working 27 hours a week, but that will be cut back a little once basketball practice starts up in two weeks. There are not any other interns in my building, so I have not had a chance to meet them to learn about their experiences.

Want Something Great?

It can be terrifying to network. It can be awkward to connect with someone on LinkedIn. It can be really scary to hit to “submit” button on an online job application. Have courage! Something great will happen!20 secs of courage