DePaul University Career Center's Blog

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Career Preparation for the New Academic Year

by Sabah Nanlawala

As the Fall Quarter approaches, it’s a great time to check in with yourself and start reflecting on your career goals. No matter where you are in your career journey, the start of a new school year is a great time for you to prepare and make new plans. Here are five tips and suggestions on what to do to get a head start on your career goals: 

Reflect On Your Network and Make Goals to Expand It

 Check in with yourself and make a note of who you can reach out to for help and guidance. Perhaps you have professors or employers you want to receive recommendation letters or references from. Or you know professionals or alumni that you would like to have an informational interview with. It’s always great to tap into your network and the start of the school year is a great time to make plans to expand your network

Conduct a Preliminary Job Search

Whether you’re a first year student or about to graduate, it’s always a good idea to do an initial search of potential jobs to get an idea of common job titles, keywords, requirements, and skills within your field of interest. Not only will this aid you in narrowing your research, but you can also learn about companies and organizations that are hiring, potential salaries and benefits, and plan next steps to ensure you are prepared to be a competitive candidate. Maybe you want to add an additional minor or learn a new skill. Knowing what employers are seeking early on can ensure you have ample amount of time to prepare for when you apply for these jobs. Be sure to check out the Campus Job Board, as well, for on-campus opportunities to begin gaining professional experience.

Work on your Master Resume

Whether you’re a freshman writing a resume for the first time or you’re editing an old draft, it’s good to have an updated master resume ready at the start of the school year that includes your full professional history. This way, when you’re applying for a new job or internship, you can utilize your master resume to create a new draft that is tailored to the specific opportunity and their requirements. Regardless of what your goals are, there are several resources available through the Career Library to reference as you work on your resume. 

Draft a Cover Letter

The cover letter is an opportunity for you to synthesize your resume and make an argument as to why you’re a strong candidate for a position. Be sure to include your brand statement and a summary of your skills, experience, education, and passion. Even though your cover letters will be specific to each opportunity you apply for, drafting a general cover letter will save you time when you tailor multiple drafts for multiple opportunities.

Make an Appointment with the Career Center

If you haven’t already, schedule an appointment with the Career Center through Handshake to meet with an advisor or peer ambassador for any career-related inquiries. Also, consider making an appointment with a specific career community to gain more industry specific career advising in your field of interest. The career journey can be very daunting, and we are here to answer any of your questions. 

It’s easy to get caught up and busy with new classes, assignments, and other responsibilities that come with the school year. This is why it’s especially important to prepare in advance and set goals early on, to reduce your stress and mental load to make your goals seem less overwhelming. Following these suggestions will get you started on the right foot on your professional career. 


Need guidance on setting goals for the start of the new school? Need support, feedback on your materials, or additional tips. That’s exactly where we come in. Whether you’re a freshman or an alumnus, it’s never too early (or too late) to utilize our services.

Book an appointment with Sabah or another member of the advising community through Handshake, or by calling the front desk at (773) 325-7431. 

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