By: Rachel Chessky, DePaul University marketing and economics major ’16
Preparing for an interview can be a stressful time in any student’s life. You find yourself constantly going over the position description and refreshing your memory on the talking points you want to hit. Essentially, what you are doing is trying to express your skills and past experience in a way that appeals to employers.
There are many organizations and companies in Chicago that are interested in recruiting DePaul students. For example, the Chicago Innocence Center, an organization that investigates cases in which prisoners may have been convicted of crimes they did not commit, is an employer that has hired multiple DePaul students due to a particular skill set they possess. Pamela Cytrynbaum, Executive Director of the Chicago Innocence Center, works with more than 40 interns per year from universities around Illinois and knows exactly what she is looking for in a potential intern.
“The interns I choose are passionate, dedicated and are able to carve enough time in their schedules to be deeply committed to our work,” says Cytrynbaum. “Interns must be able to work well in teams, to follow through on multiple weekly tasks, to be reliable and accurate.” These skills are valuable to any employer in any industry. Moreover, dependability and being able to work in teams are traits that are greatly sought after. Being able to articulate these qualities through examples from past experiences can set an applicant far apart from other candidates.
When preparing for an interview, Cytrynbaum notes the importance of doing your homework: interviewees should study the company, check out their website, and learn what it is they do. This will make it easier to ask questions and demonstrate that not only have they researched the organization, but they have absorbed the information. Doing this extra step to prepare, will allow you to distinguish yourself in the eyes of an employer. Your passion for the company and position and your eagerness to learn more will not go unnoticed.
According to Cytrynbaum, The Chicago Innocence Center has had times where 50% of their intern class was from DePaul. DePaul students are socially active, smart, energetic, diverse, well-read, curious and deeply engaged in the work. They display a level of commitment, passion and work ethic that employers are drawn to, increasing their chances of landing that dream internship.
The Chicago Innocence Center has had times where 50% of their intern class was from DePaul.
Cytrynbaum goes on to say that “more than anything [she] wants a student to be themselves.” Interviews can be so daunting that students forget to bring out their personality and show their enthusiasm for the position. Being yourself while maintaining one’s professionalism greatly resonates with the interviewer and will ultimately make you more appealing to any employer.