Spotify: A Favorite Career Development Tool That No One is Talking About

Author name
Catherine Allen, Assistant Director, Duke Career Center
Spotify. Music for everyone.

If you are a fan of music then you are also (probably) a fan of a music streaming service. While there are many, and many strong opinions about them, I will share from the start (it’s in the title) that I’m a fan of Spotify. This isn’t an ad and, while they’ve hired Duke Alum, it also isn’t a post on how to work for them. This post, is how to use Spotify (or your favorite music streaming tool) to work for you as a career development tool.


First stop: playlists. They are the staple for a great music streaming service. Algorithms make great ones and also you can make your own.

When you sit down to research your career, learn more about your major, write your resume, edit your cover letter, or even update your LinkedIn profile, what are you listening to? Here are a few playlist suggestions that might help you establish the focus or the hype you need for your career development task. And yes, your playlists will look different from someone else’s but, that’s part of the fun. You’ll be jamming out to songs that Spotify already knows you like.


Deep Focus is an awesome, no lyrics playlist that will make you realize halfway through your work that it helped you focus! This is great for digging into the career development component you know you need to do and just need to get started.


Mellow Morning is a great way to start any task before 1 p.m. If you want to hear some of your favorite tunes without being totally distracted by the lyrics then this is definitely for you.


Good Vibes brings everything up a couple of levels so you can take a break between tasks, get re-energized, or just full-on enjoy some fun, light songs before getting back to it. Post a focus playlist and some hard work researching companies or editing your personal documents and you’ll be ready to move on to whatever is next.


There’s definitely hype-specific playlists and those that may help boost your confidence but, perhaps the best hype playlist pre-interview is the one you make for yourself. As cheesy as it sounds, even the best algorithm doesn’t always get it right.

Songs can inspire, they can help express your emotion, and they can change your mood.

What songs do you listen to . . .

          …while editing your resume?

          …while updating your LinkedIn profile?

          …for Interview hype?

          …as you research a major/career/company? 


Let us not forgot the world of podcasts! While some people are all in on podcasts, I recognize that others are not. Either way, it’s okay. But, if you’re in, let’s talk career related podcasts. Here are a few that inspire, share stories, and provide information related to career development or navigating the world of work.

  • Gear Up (Duke)
  • Zoom Out (Duke)
  • How I Built This with Guy Raz
  • Weird Work
  • Ask a Manager
  • Work Life with Adam Grant
  • HBR Women at Work

And let’s not forget industry-specific podcasts that share daily news, updates and regular conversation on trends and challenges. If you are curious about a potential industry or, want to learn more about your industry of choice, give these subject and content specific podcasts a try. You’ll learn terms/phrases used within the industry, along with hot topics and solutions to major challenges. You may even hear about companies who you want to work for. Consider it career development research. Here’s just a few (of many) industry specific podcasts.


WSJ Tech News Briefing

Women in Tech Podcast hosted by Espree Devora

Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP)



WSJ What’s News

Business Casual (Morning Brew podcast)

HBR Masters in Business

HBR Cold Call: Inside a Case Study


The Pitch

How I Built This with Guy Raz

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman


Creative Pep Talk

The Rewind with Guy Raz

The Business of Fashion (BOF)

With all the playlist options, algorithm or custom, and the podcast options, get ready to look at your favorite music streaming service in a whole new light.  And if you ever want to talk playlists, podcasts or careers, make an appointment through CareerConnections. Until then, jam on.