by Kyra Buenaventura
As a wide-eyed, excited freshman, I entered DePaul with two years of work experience and the mindset to conquer the world. One of the most formative experiences of my career path was participating in the EDGE program at DePaul. EDGE, or Education and Development Grant for Employability, is a program that is designed to combine career development and job skill development for first-year students. Through this program, I designed my first resume and completed projects where I learned many transferable skills.
During this time, I was also applying to many on-campus jobs. I wanted to be able to have a sustainable job by the time my sophomore year came around. I received interview invitations, but I was never able to secure a job acceptance. After multiple rejections, I had to reflect on why I was not getting job offers when I received an interview.
Through this reflection period, I realized that my interview skills were lacking. I was not making myself and my skills appealing to other employers. Luckily, EDGE was conducting mock interviews where I was able to receive feedback firsthand. Through this mock interview, I built upon my previous knowledge and worked on making myself a more appealing candidate. I asked my friends and the Career Center to review my resume and cover letters, and I took all of their advice and feedback and applied it to my resume.
At the beginning of sophomore year, I was hired to be a Crew member at the Student Center. Through this experience, I learned about teamwork and time management. I was now juggling classes, homework, a social life, and my new job. My job as a part of the Crew is an experience that was formative to who I am today. I learned more about who I was as a student and employee, and it felt like my first real job in two years. Unfortunately, that job was interrupted by the pandemic, so my experience as a Crew member was cut short.
During the pandemic, I applied to become an Orientation Leader at DePaul. Becoming an Orientation Leader was a dream job that I had ever since I entered DePaul. It combined all of my experiences at the university, and I was able to guide incoming freshmen into their first year at DePaul. It has been my favorite experience at DePaul thus far. I gained interpersonal skills and was part of a community of like-minded individuals, and I had freedom to create projects and outreach to students.
As of the start of my senior year, I am currently working as the Health Care & Science Career Community Ambassador at the DePaul Career Center. This opportunity has been the culmination of all of the work I have done at DePaul. I advise students on improvements they can make to their resumes and cover letters, conduct mock interviews to help students feel more comfortable when applying to jobs, internships, and graduate school, and more.
Throughout my career journey, I have learned to never give up even in the face of adversity. Now, I do not see rejection as a reflection of my character. Rejection motivates me to reflect on my actions and see if there are ways that I can improve whether that means reaching out and asking for help or taking advantage of the resources that are available.