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Podcast Helps Recent Grads Navigate World of Work

Ashley Osmecki and Maria Scott sit in front of podcast microphones
Co-hosts of the Cheat Sheet Podcast Ashley Osmecki ‘23 and Dr. Maria Scott, assistant professor in Communication Studies.

Should you go out for a drink with your coworkers? Where’s the line between networking and stalking?

Those are just two of the questions Dr. Maria Scott discusses on the Post Grad Cheat Sheet podcast that debuted in March 2023.

“I’ve said that if I ever get to create my own podcast it would be about all the questions students have emailed and texted me the last 15 years,” said Scott, assistant professor in Communication Studies.

Colleague Mark Brodie, affiliated faculty member in Communication Studies, suggested putting the commonly asked questions into categories: professionalism; relationship advice (not dating) in the office; career advice; life lessons in managing stress; how to manage hot button issues; and things people should know.

From there, Scott teamed up with two former Public Relations major students she knows through classes, and through being an advisor to both the student org Common Collective, and Public Relations Student Society of America.

Scott is the creator/executive producer/co-host of the podcast. Basia Stachurska ‘24 is a content creator/assistant producer/marketing and social media manager/PR. Ashley Osmecki ‘23 is co-host/co-producer.

“Dr. Scott came to us with this idea, and we wanted to take it and run with it,” said Osmecki. “I think we saw it as a great resource for students. We thought it would be great to have a student perspective on the podcast to have those conversations. We aim to answer those un-talked about questions.”

Working with Scott made a lot of sense, because as Stachurska points out, both students felt Scott’s classes were some of the most impactful ones they’ve attended.

“I think it’s more than what you learn in school. The podcast covers more than just applying for jobs,” said Stachurska. “It’s also about what to do when you have that job. It’s more like an inside of the industry from someone who’s been in the PR industry for a long time.”

Check out the Post Grad Cheat Sheet Linktree to find links to the podcast’s social media accounts, website and all episodes. 

Personally, Osmecki said she was interested in discussing office relationships.

“How do you maneuver those relationships? Do you become friends with co-workers? What are the lines not to cross? What about cracking a joke or sending a silly email. There’s no college class for that,” said Osmecki. “A lot of it boils down to yourself and how to learn about yourself to act correctly and appropriate.”

Starchurcska said that as an international student, she wanted to know more about navigating the U.S. job market and industry culture. She said small things, such as formatting cover letters and resumes and asking for a promotion, are different in the U.S., and networking is a lot more important stateside than back home in Poland.

“The first episode was about networking. What do you say in messages so it doesn’t feel weird or creepy?” said Starchurska. “’I need to network, but how do I do it?’”

Scott said they have also discussed the difference between networking and stalking.

“There are lots of stories from former students and professionals where someone will see where someone is going from social media and then hunt them down,” said Scott. “You have to go through the process of finding a job. You need to find people correctly. We talk about networking correctly.”

The realities of LinkedIn is a topic that Scott is asked about often. She makes it clear that just because you’re LinkedIn with someone doesn’t mean you actually know them.

“If someone says they’re excited about a job promotion, offer more than just congratulations. Say something more meaningful,” said Scott. “It’s hard when you don’t know people all the time. It’s important to know the difference between digital friends and human friends. A digital friend is not a human friend, it’s someone who has never met you and will not recommend you.”

Ashley Osmecki and Maria Scott working on the podcast
Ashley Osmecki has taken classes with Dr. Maria Scott, and they connected for the podcast through the student org Common Collective.

Another commonly asked-about topic on the podcast is socializing with coworkers, said Scott. People ask Scott whether they should go out to happy hour, or should they drink or not drink, and will someone be regarded as antisocial if they don’t attend.

“Ashley made a good example that if you want to be your true self, let it out in small increments so people get to know you,” said Scott. “She’s a big soccer fan, and if she saw someone at the office was a Manchester United fan, you can walk up to them at happy hour and say, ‘I saw you have a Man U hat on your desk,’ and then talk about it with that person, and it’s more likely to feel connected that way.”

And what do you do if you need to come up with a name for a podcast?

“We went through 40 different names. It’s not just career advice. It’s nitpicky things,” said Scott. “A cheat sheet gives answers in advance. I hope they listen to this before they get asked to happy hour. Now they know what to do and have a cheat sheet in their pocket and have answers.”

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