Virtual Career Fairs: What You Need to Know

If you are seeking a new job or internship, check out a Virtual Career Fair! Virtual Career Fairs such as the upcoming DePaul Spring Career Fair provide an opportunity for students and employers to connect in an online environment about job and internship opportunities through video and text chat.

How Do I Prepare?


Research the Companies

Treat a Virtual Career Fair the same way as you would an in-person one, by researching the companies that will be in attendance beforehand. Pay attention to the work that they do, the opportunities available, and the mission statement of the organization. Develop questions for the recruiters based on your research in advance. 

Find a Quiet Space

Log in to a Virtual Career Fair from a quiet place where you’ll be able to stage a professional background. Don’t forget to tell your family and/or roommates that you’re attending a virtual fair, so they don’t accidentally interrupt you. This will help ensure that employers have their attention on you rather than your surroundings.

Tech Double Check

Make sure to test your internet connection prior to attending a Virtual Career Fair by opening up Handshake and CareerEco. We’d recommend using your laptop or computer rather than your phone to avoid tech issues. 

  • Pro-tip: Don’t forget to check the Browser you are using, ensuring that you have Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox installed on your computer. These are the ONLY browsers that will support the chat functions in CareerEco. 

Make (Virtual) Eye Contact

When your focus is elsewhere on the screen during a virtual career fair, it can be seen as unprofessional. Make sure that you keep your eyes on the employer to show your interest and excitement.

FAQs for the DePaul Virtual Spring Career Fair



When is the DePaul Virtual Spring Career Fair
?

Wednesday, May 13th 2020, 3:00pm –  6:00pm CDT
Register at: careereco.com/events/depaul
*please use the same email address you used to register for Handshake*

What steps should I take to prepare?

  1. Create your CareerEco Account. Visit careereco.com/events/depaul to create and confirm your account. Then, complete your profile and sign up for the fair. 
  2. Prepare your documents. Career Advisors are available to help you with your resume. Click here to Schedule an appointment to have yours reviewed before the fair. 
  3. Check your Browser. Ensure you have Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox installed on your computer. These are the ONLY browsers that will support the chat functions in CareerEco. *Use a desktop or laptop for this event* 
  4. Review how CareerEco works: We encourage you to watch the entire CareerEco tutorial to best understand how the career fair will work.

    • Employer Messages: Employers can send you messages in the system, so be sure to check in frequently to make sure you aren’t missing anything. 
    • Review Chat Hours: Employers will have different schedules of availability during the virtual career fair. Know when the employers you are interested in will be available so you don’t miss the opportunity to chat with them.
  5. Dress Professionally: Although this is a virtual fair, employers can request a video chat, so dress just like you would if you were going for an in-person interview. Looking professional helps you get in the right frame of mind to talk with employers and exude confidence in the process.

How do I find job postings?

Once you are registered, log into CareerEco and click the Job Board tab. Job postings will be available from each company with instructions on how to apply. 

How do the chat rooms work?

The virtual fair will be a series of chat rooms.  Each employer will have a chat room (just as each employer has a booth/table at an in-person career fair).  View job postings and general company information in each chat room, and chat with employers in a group.  You can also chat 1:1 with employers via text, audio or video.  

What is a private chat?

Recruiters can invite individuals to a private chat room. There will be a notification next to the recruiters name, participants will be able to accept the chat once opened. Only the recruiter will be able to initiate the private chat room. 

How can I make the most of this virtual fair?

Prepare, research, and be resume ready! Research the companies either on Handshake or CareerEco to see available job postings, express interest before the fair on CareerEco by clicking the blue checkmark next to the company’s name. Prepare to talk about your skills and work experiences. 

How do I stand out at a virtual career fair?

Upload your resume to CareerEco when you set up your account. Companies may begin screening resumes prior to the event and also invite you to visit their specific chat sessions and/or schedule video interviews before, during, or after the event hours.

Informational Interviews with ASK

By: Emily Palmeri, DePaul University Honors Marketing Major ’18, Alumni Sharing Knowledge Marketing Intern

After scrolling through mentors on the ASK network, you come across a mentor who has it all: a great job, killer profile and the expertise and experiences you’re looking to emulate and learn from. An informational interview would be the perfect way to gain first-hand insight on the mentor’s career path. The tricky part, however, is knowing how to effectively initiate this interview.

Lucky for you, we’ve simplified the informational interview process into three easy steps:

1. The Invitation

With the new ASK platform, the invitation email template is already laid out for you! This structure below illustrates an effective and direct message that’ll help you receive a reply. This template can also be used via email or Linkedin when setting up informational interviews.

  1. All about them: Your message should be personalized to the recipient. They are potentially volunteering their time to work with you. Be sure to state how you found them and what drew you to their profile or network. Try complimenting their work, skills, and accomplishments.
  2. State your intentions: Be clear and concise with what you’re interested in achieving- career advice, long-term mentorship. This indicates that you are asking for help and anticipate a response back. A vague request decreases your chances of receiving a reply.
  3. Time Bound: It is important to set a reasonable deadline (two weeks recommended) when meeting with an alumni. This demonstrates that you value not only this connection but the mentor’s time. With the new platform, you can request and reschedule meeting times with a click of a button.

2. The Interview

Because everyone likes to talk about themselves, prepare a list of questions to ask to your interviewee. Questions pertaining to company culture, their career path, favorite & least favorite aspects of their job, etc., are great starting points. At the end of the interview, if all is going well, ask if the mentor would be willing to connect you with someone in their network. There may be someone they know that will become an even greater resource to you.

3. The Follow-Up

In your follow up email, it is important to not only thank the mentor for their time but state a plan of action to continue the relationship.

  1. Thank the interviewee for meeting with you.
  2. Highlight that you paid attention and valued the conversation by stating a fact or piece of advice that resonated with you during the interview.
  3. Don’t let that be the last of your communication and connection. Ask the mentor for resume review, opportunity to job shadow, additional meeting or new connections in their network. This not only helps take your relationship to the next level but also your career aspirations.

Informational interviews are extremely beneficial to helping you gain insight on different careers, organizations and industries. They can be a 20-minute coffee date or a one-hour phone call. Regardless of how or when you meet, these interviews are critical to building your network and shaping your career path. Have any questions about setting up practice interviews? Reach out to our ASK team at ask@depaul.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways Storytelling Can Enhance Your Interview

Whenever we meet someone new, we’re actively engaged in storytelling. We start by introducing ourselves and, depending on whom we’re meeting, cater our story to that particular audience. This can become tricky when we’re engaging with potential employers; what should we include in our stories, and what types of stories do employers want to hear?

Storytelling in interviews doesn’t simply mean providing a storybook narrative for all of your answers. Employers are looking for specific types of stories, and these can vary depending on the type of question being asked. Below we’ve identified three specific ways in which storytelling can enhance your interview, while highlighting the specific ways employers prefer these stories to be told.

Resume Questions

When an employer brings you in for an interview, it means you’ve submitted a strong resume. Since a resume is often what gets you through the door, the employer will most definitely have questions about the content in the document. Therefore, it’s essential that you can tell a story about everything on your resume, including those volunteer and extracurricular experiences you may have only been involved with for a few months (or days, or hours).

It’s essential that you can tell a story about everything on your resume, including those volunteer and extracurricular experiences…

This doesn’t mean that you have to prepare a story with a beginning, middle and end for everything on your resume. It means being prepared to justify the inclusion of everything on your resume, since we can’t anticipate what an employer will want to know more about. If you choose to include a list of relevant courses on your resume, you should be prepared to talk more about each of those courses in case an employer has a question about a specific one. For example, an employer may ask: “I see on your resume that you took a course called ‘Advertising & Society.’ What was that class about?” Take some time to review everything on your resume so that, if an employer asks a question about something, you can answer more thoughtfully than “I thought it would make me look good!”

Behavioral Interview Questions

One of the most common types of questions you’ll encounter in interviews are behavioral questions, which are designed to understand how you’ve handled a particular scenario in a previous role. These questions are popular with employers, as one of the strongest indicators of a candidate’s future performance in a position comes from understanding how they handled similar situations in the past. Behavioral questions require you to tell a specific story from a past job, class or extracurricular experience, but employers are looking for a specific structure to this story. Specifically, you should answer these questions by touching on four key areas: the situation, the task, the action, and the result. Together, these make up a formula best remembered as the acronym STAR. Let’s break this down with an example.

Behavioral Question: “Tell me about a time when you had to address an angry customer?”

  • Situation — Set the scene for the employer (e.g. Where were you working when you addressed this angry customer, and why was he/she upset?)
  • Task — The goal you set to accomplish in this situation (e.g. To diffuse the situation and ensure the customer leaves satisfied.)
  • Action — The transferable skills you implemented to achieve the task and address the situation. (e.g. Listening, communication and conflict resolution skills would make sense here.)
  • Result — The happy ending to your story! (e.g. “After implementing the above skills, the customer was pleased and left satisfied.”)

Following the STAR formula when answering behavioral interview questions will ensure that you are not only telling a complete story, but that you are telling a story that includes the key points an employer wants to hear.

Situational Interview Questions

There’s some confusion about what the difference is between behavioral and situational questions, and it can be best described as the following: while behavioral questions put a spotlight on how’ve handled scenarios in the past, situational questions are concerned with how you would hypothetically handle scenarios in the future, particularly those that pertain to the specific position you’re applying for. Examples of situational questions include “How would you sell our product to a resistant customer?” and “What strategies might you implement to increase our followers on Instagram?”

…behavioral questions put a spotlight on how you’ve handled scenarios in the past, situational questions are concerned with how you would hypothetically handle scenarios in the future…

In answering these questions, you don’t want to simply say you would do “x, y, and z.” It helps to provide some context for why you would respond in this particular way. Maybe you tried something similar in the past that proved successful (e.g. “In my previous job I would do x when I encountered resistant customers, and it was very successful. Here’s how I might implement something similar with your clients…”). Maybe you’ve conducted research about the industry that could influence your answer (e.g. “I read in Advertising Age that x strategy has been very effective in increasing social media followers. Here’s how I might implement something similar with your Instagram page…”). Ultimately, situational questions are great opportunities to share your ideas for how you would succeed in the role you’re applying for, and doing so by telling a story based on your own (or other’s) experiences will help drive these answers home.

Additional Resources for Interview Success

It can take practice to feel comfortable with storytelling in interviews, but the Career Center has a number of ways to help! You can meet with your career advisor to learn more about interviewing tips, or take part in a practice interview with an alumnus through our Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) program. We also have a terrific interview prep tool called InterviewStream where you can practice answering common behavioral and situational questions. Take advantage of one or all of the resources to ensure that you are telling the types of stories employers want to hear!

How to Negotiate Job Offers Like a Pro

So you’ve just had a successful job interview, and it looks like an offer will be forthcoming. You’re excited to finally have the opportunity to work in the field that you’ve been studying for the past four years. As you prepare to receive your first job offer, what are the types of things you should be considering?

Before You Walk in the Door

The first thing you should do prior to even walking in the door for an interview is to know what you’re worth. Do your research. Having access to as much information as possible will put you in a stronger position to negotiate. Sites like Salary, Payscale, Glassdoor, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics can give you a detailed breakdown of the average starting salary for the position you are interviewing for while taking into account a wide variety of other factors, including location, certifications, and education level.

Talk to the people you know who work at the company or in the industry. ASK is a great resource that can connect you with DePaul alumni working in your field of study. Have a firm idea of what you are worth before you even schedule your first interview.

Conduct a Self-Assessment

As a fresh grad, you may be wondering if you even have the right to negotiate a job offer. This is where a self-assessment can come in handy. Ask yourself: What can you offer this employer that other candidates cannot? Do you have any certifications? Are you intimately familiar with their products or services because you’ve worked for one of their customers in the past? Are the skills you obtained in school unique to the location of the employer? If you have a sense of your value in the marketplace you will have the confidence to negotiate successfully.

If you have a sense of your value in the marketplace you will have the confidence to negotiate successfully.

Find out what’s important to the company; ask the hiring manager what he or she considers the most urgent business needs. If you really want to impress your future employer, type up a plan for what you believe you can accomplish in the first 90 days and hand it to them. This can increase your value immensely and can be used as leverage if you decide to negotiate.

When to Start Negotiating

Remember to hold off the salary discussion for as long as possible. Your job is to make them fall in love with you throughout the interview process, so that when you do get to the offer stage, they’re already feeling like they can’t live without you.

When the employer does ask your salary requirements, you should first try to deflect and tell them that your larger concerns are things like job stability, growth opportunities, and culture fit. If they continue to press, avoid giving a specific number. Instead, give them a range and reference your source (i.e. one of the websites listed above) so they know you aren’t pulling those numbers from thin air. Be comfortable with an offer anywhere in that range, and make sure you have a bottom line number that you’re willing to accept. 

The Whole Package

There are many things to take into account when negotiating other than just your base salary. You want to look at the entire compensation package, which includes your benefits. Benefits can comprise insurance, vacation time, tuition reimbursement, stock options, relocation expenses, professional membership fees, gym memberships, flexible work options, and unpaid leave time.

Some or all of these things may be negotiable, but as a fresh grad, you may want to focus on things that will allow you to be a better performer. For example, it may not necessarily be wise to try to ask for more vacation time up front; you haven’t necessarily earned that yet. Instead, you may want to ask for a new laptop or smartphone if you know you’ll be working outside of the office. Remember, you want to backup whatever you ask for with a reason for why you think you need or deserve it.

Now, just because you can negotiate your job offer doesn’t mean that you necessarily should. Some industries are also more conducive to salary negotiation than others. For example, highly structured sectors like the government or military will not have negotiable salaries.

If you’ve received what you perceive to be a fair offer at a company that has a clear path for advancement and where you will be working on projects that excite you, it’s ok to accept the offer as is. However, even if you plan to do this, it’s always wise to give yourself at least 24 hours to review the offer and talk about it with a family member or trusted advisor. No legitimate company will force you to give your acceptance on the spot. You should take that time granted to you to really make sure this is an offer you’re happy with.

…it’s always wise to give yourself at least 24 hours to review the offer…

If you would like to speak in detail about how to negotiate your own job offer, be sure to schedule an appointment with your career advisor!

10 Tips for Job Search Success

By: Tara Golenberke, marketing professional in the education industry, and former digital media & marketing manager at the DePaul Career Center

In the midst of searching for a job or internship that feeds your passions and interests? Or, perhaps you’ve already found a killer opportunity and are now journeying through the interview process. No matter what stage you’re at in the job search, you’ll want to have these ten tips under your belt.

Honesty is the best policy

Be real with employers. This includes being honest on your online profile, resume and cover letter. Upholding integrity is integral during the interviewing and job offer process.

Adulting, and conducting yourself professionally

Be prompt for interviews, dress professionally and come prepared. Preparation is key, so research the organization in advance and prepare questions for the interviewer.

Where the magic happens vs. your comfort zone

Networking gets a bad rap. The truth is, people want to help you; professionals are ready to talk to you about their industry or job, and are willing to build a relationship with you and eventually allow you to tap into their connections, you just need to speak up and make a move. Step outside of your comfort zone, call a new contact, network, ask questions and for help—you’ll not only come out of it alive, you may just end up with a new career opportunity.

Give your oh-so-wonderful references a heads-up

Reach out to potential reference candidates, catch up and kindly ask them if they would be willing to attest to your qualifications and act as a reference during your job search. Never provide the contact information of your references—or potential referenceswithout chatting with those individuals first; Get a confirmation that they are willing to be a reference and update them on your job search and applications.

It’s the 21st century—Brush up on your video interview skills

You may find that employers will request an initial screening interview through Skype or a Google Hangout. Improve your knowledge of video tools and presentation techniques beforehand by visiting with your career advisor. And, if you’re wondering what not to do in a video interview, enjoy this clip.

Don’t feel obligated to accept all interviews or second interviews

If you are not interested in accepting an interview or continuing on in the process, always inform the employer as soon as possible, thanking them for their time. On the other hand, continue on in the interview process if you want to learn more about an opportunity. If there are a number of aspects of the job that you like, continuing the process can help you make an informed decision.

Ask for more time to make a decision, you’re allowed

If you have reservations about an internship or job offer, or are actively interviewing with other companies, know that it is OK to contact an employer to see if you can be given more time to make a decision.

Red flag: Don’t apply for jobs once you have accepted an offer

If the employer sees that you are pursuing other opportunities after accepting his/her offer, you can risk your reputation and offer with that organization. If you have doubts about an offer, take more time to decide and weigh your options before accepting.

Consider the whole shebang

Evaluate all benefits including vacation time, retirement packages, tuition assistance and salary. Determine cost of living to help you make a decision about salary. Also, evaluate the type of work you will be doing, who your manager and co-workers will be and where the company is located.

Hot topic: To negotiate compensation packages, or not?

Lovin’ the compensation package that was just handed to you? Don’t feel obligated to negotiate the package with an employer. It is not necessary if you feel the employer is making you a fair offer based on your skills, experience and market value for the position.


Have more questions about the application, interview or job offer process? Get in touch with your career advisor! Career advisors can assist you during all steps of the internship and job search process. Find out which career advisor is working with your college by visiting the Career Center website.

 

Your Guide to Following Up After the Interview

Job interviews can be nerve-racking. Even if they go well, many people breathe a huge sigh of relief once they’re over. But before you celebrate too early, keep in mind that how you handle yourself after the interview is just as important as the interview itself. So, while it’s okay to treat yourself for a job well done, there are a few additional steps you want to take to maintain professionalism and good standing beyond the interview.

Send Personalized Thank You Letters

The most crucial step to take after an interview is to deliver a thank you letter to everyone you spoke with; these letters should ideally be sent out 24-48 hours after an interview when the information and discussions are still fresh in your mind. Doing so will also help demonstrate your enthusiasm for the potential employer.

In terms of format, email thank you letters are appropriate and may be easier to complete if you spoke with a number of people at one company. However, we consistently hear from employers that thank you letters received in the mail always stand out, as it shows the applicant went the extra mile to find a card, write a message by hand, and send it off. Since most employers rarely receive mail that isn’t directly tied to their role, personalized thank you letters can stand out in a significant way.

Keep Up with the Employer

Most employers will give you a timeline for when they intend to move forward in the interview process or make a hiring decision. It’s important to honor that timeline and not be too eager to find out where you stand. For example, if an employer says they intend to make a hiring decision by December 12th, don’t contact them about the status of the position until after that deadline has passed. Reaching out sooner won’t make you seem enthusiastic; rather, it may give the impression that you are impatient, or that you don’t know how to follow directions. Best to wait it out, and then follow-up via email. If an employer doesn’t give you a timeline for when they intend to make a decision, it’s best to wait 7-10 business days before following up.

When you do follow-up, send a brief email to let the employer know that you are still interested in the position and that you were just writing to check the status of the hiring process. This is a non-aggressive way to let them know you are still passionate about the role.

If another two weeks go by and you still haven’t heard from the employer, it’s okay to send one final email to check the status of the position.

Review Salary Expectations

If you’re applying to a full-time job, you may be faced with having to negotiate a salary and benefits package. Take some time after an interview to research the average salary for the position you applied for, both at the national and local level, and evaluate your financial obligations to determine a salary range you would be comfortable communicating in the negotiation stage.

Visit your career advisor to learn more about salary statistics pertaining to your major or career path, as well as to develop a negotiation strategy specific to the position. We can also help if you are juggling multiple offers and need assistance on how to communicate with employers professionally.

Next Steps

Need help crafting a thank you note or follow-up email? Check out our Job Search Letters packet on our website for thank you letter examples. And, if you’re emailing an employer to follow-up on the hiring process, you are welcome to send a rough draft of that email to your career advisor for suggestions and feedback. Finally, if you have questions regarding salary, reach out to your career advisor for additional tips so that you feel comfortable and confident during the negotiating process.