DePaul University Career Center's Blog

Still Exploring Career Paths? Start with What You Love

By: Ed Childs, Assistant Director for Career Exploration

Having worked at DePaul for almost 20 years, I’ve noticed some patterns in student career interests, and especially their nonverbal reactions to my suggestions. It’s like watching the facial expressions of someone trying a new food for the first time. Nonverbal communication is multifaceted. Not only does it include facial reactions, but it also applies to body position, timing, and vocal upticks. One of the reactions that always makes me pause (literally, I stop the conversation), is when students say they “love” something.

“I would love to have a job traveling.”

“I love jigsaw puzzles.”

“I love documentary films.”

Almost every time a student says this, I watch their facial nonverbals correlate – their eyebrows raise and they usually smile. I pause the conversation at this point. I remove my glasses and say to the student, “You just used the L word.” They usually look back and say “what?” I explain that when students talk about something they love, it’s worth looking in to.

What do you LOVE? Think about it and ask yourself these questions:

  • “Could what you love be related to your career?”
  • “Is this something you could study, minor in, or research/write about in class?”

What happens if we mix your chosen industry with the topic that you love? I recently did this with a student studying geography who said she loved jigsaw puzzles. We added “jigsaw” to “maps” and discovered that there are companies who make education toys to help students learn Geography.

At a minimum, the L word is something that could be added to LinkedIn, as it allows for information regarding passion and interests where extra space on a resume is limited. This will allow employers to see how well rounded you are, and you never know, they might just bring your passion up in an interview, and that can help take the edge off of the anxiety for everyone. Think about what you love, and consider even looking that topic up on LinkedIn using the alumni search tool to help give you ideas about possible career paths, and to find others who share your same interests as a career motivating tool.

Next Steps:

  1. Consider scheduling an appointment with an exploratory advisor.
  2. Complete some online assessments using Focus 2.
  3. Search alumni with similar passions on the DePaul ASK Network and using the LinkedIn Alumni search tool.
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