Getting Your Ducks in a Row When it Comes to Job Searching

By: Gina Anselmo, former career advisor for the DePaul University College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

Job searching can feel a little daunting at times. Formatting resumes and cover letters, researching companies, making to-do lists, initiating handshakes and introductions, and interviewing all start to swirl together.

It’s important to take a step back and start from a place that allows you to center your interests, skills, work values, and personality all in one place so you can focus your search in a way that is intentional and makes sense to you. Before the job search, begin with a bit of reflection:

Your foundation

By answering these questions, you will be able to create a foundation that will ultimately help you approach your brand, resume and cover letter, and will act as an aid during your job search.

  • Interests: What areas are you naturally drawn to and how do they connect to career choices?
  • Work Values: What motivates you and supports job satisfaction?
  • Skills: What areas are you good at? What areas would you like to develop further? What skills do you enjoy using? What skills would you like to use every day?
  • Personality: What existing qualities influence how you approach decision-making and work style?

Consider settings and titles

In continuing the reflection process, it is important to give yourself a clean slate before you start your research to allow yourself to jot down gut thoughts that come to mind in these areas:

iStock_000081482779_LargeSettings: It is important to consider all the types of settings and environments that you would be comfortable working in. It could be a broad list such as non-profit, for-profit and government, or a specific list of companies and organizations. It’s important to consider how comfortable you are expanding to a range of settings and which work place settings are deal-breakers in order to streamline your search.

Titles: What job titles come to mind for your area of interest? Sometimes titles can range for a particular field (ex. Program Coordinator in Social services) and it helps to consider adaptations of that title paired with populations or areas of specialty (ex. Youth Development and Coordinator). This can sometimes yield a greater search to places and positions depending on how your key words align and are filtered in your search.

Dive into a search

A great way to get started is to browse sites, such as Indeed, using keywords based on your initial list of skills, settings, and occupations. Give yourself permission to see where the search takes you and pay attention to the titles, organizations, and areas of focus that tend to always catch your eye. Start to use your search to tighten your initial focus to a more specific list of positions, work settings, and areas of focus.

Develop job search materials

Now that you have taken time to reflect on how you want to articulate your brand and how you want to direct your search, it is time to develop or update your resume and cover letter. Make sure to always lead with your strengths and demonstrate evidence of success.

Prepare to network

Building a foundation to articulate what skills you have and want to develop, what motivates you in a career, and what specific interests you want to pursue can deepen the types of questions you ask in an informational interview or to jump start a laundry list of professionals to connect with. Make sure the questions you ask incorporate your skills, values, and interests so the professional can offer the most useful advice and resources to your specific case.

My advice to you when starting your job search?

Musings matter! Reflection is key and an important part of the job search process. Set time aside for exploring areas that make up your professional identity and brand in order to set the tone for your job search and to be more aligned with who you are and your short/long term goals.


Need additional help with your job search? Schedule an appointment with your career advisor! You can also participate in our Job Search Strategies workshop offered each quarter.

How to Land an Internship Freshman Year

By: Nina Pelsi, DePaul University health sciences major ’19

You’re probably wondering what you can do to ensure you have an impressive internship lined up for your first summer out of college. That’s right, these resume builders are not just for upperclassmen. In fact, some may say they’re even more important for first and second year students, as having one on your resume early on will help you stand out against the competition when it comes time to apply for your first real job. Fear not, freshmen! My work in the career center and attendance at several job and internship fairs during my first year has left me with a plethora of useful knowledge that I’m going to share with you. Read on for my top three tips for snagging yourself a dream internship this year.

Get familiar with your career services center

Remember that big office in the Schmitt Academic Center that you pass at least five times a day on your usual rush to class? Yeah. That’s one of DePaul’s Career Center offices, and it has more useful resources than you could ever imagine. If you want to stand out to employers, you need to come prepared. Luckily for you, the people of the Career Center are here specifically for this purpose!

Perfect your resume

I’m guessing you didn’t know that DePaul’s Career Center accepts walk-ins for a quick 15-minute resume critique service. That’s right, the hassle of checking your calendar and making an appointment weeks in advance is no more. Simply stop in when you have some time after class and bring your working resume. They’ll help you organize and add the most relevant and useful information possible for your purposes. After a little grit and time, employers will be banging on your door to hire you!

Show up prepared

One of the best and most impressive steps you can take before attending a career or internship fair is preparing yourself. Log onto Handshake, find your event, and take a look at which organizations attending are of interest to you. Read up on the details of the company, research the positions that you may qualify for, and prepare a cover letter that shapes your interests and capabilities around the job qualifications. Employers will be impressed that you took the time to look into their company, as it shows you are serious about joining their team and interested in the opportunities available. Pair your preparedness with a great resume, professional attire, and a strong elevator pitch, and you’re all set!


Finding an internship can sometimes seem like a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be! Click here for more internship tips and tricks. And, if you are ready to find your dream internship, visit depaul.joinhandshake.com.

Communicating the Right Skills to Employers

As a student you are learning a lot in the classroom. From technical knowledge related to your major, to transferable skills like problem solving and collaboration, your degree program is preparing you to enter the workforce. As you engage in internships, volunteering, and student leadership roles, you put these skills and knowledge to use in ways that are of interest to potential future employers. Being able to effectively communicate what you are able to offer will be key to your successful job search.

In a recent article series published in Eye on Psi Chi, an online magazine for members of the national honor society for psychology students, I wrote about the importance of being able to identify and put language around your skills. The Career Center offers a card sort activity, called SkillScan, in both one-on-one advising and workshop formats that focuses on transferable skills.

SkillScan, described at length in the first article, helps you prioritize the skills you would like to use in the future, separating them from those of less interest and those that you are certain you would not like to use. An activity like this is valuable as you work to identify the industry and career path you wish to target for yourself. From there, your career counselor or workshop facilitator will guide you in identifying strong examples of times when you have successfully employed the skills you wish to use in the future. He or she will also help you to think critically about those skills you need to develop further and/or exemplify through future coursework, volunteer activities, internships, and part-time work. To complete a SkillScan assessment, attend the “Identify Your Skills and Accomplishments” workshop on May 2, 2016 or contact the Career Center to schedule an appointment with your advisor.

Once you have identified the skills you wish to perform in the workplace, you must hone your ability to convey these to potential employers. The second article in the Eye on Psi Chi series addresses the art of communicating your skills through strategic resume writing. Crafting bulleted accomplishment statements that strike the right balance between offering sufficient detail and being concise enough to allow your reader to quickly grasp the skills you offer, can be a challenge. The Career Center’s Peer Career Advisor program offers walk-in resume development and critique sessions to help you ensure your resume will grab employers’ attention, and land you the interview you are after.

My advice to you when it comes to communicating your skills:

Emphasize the skills you wish to use and further develop in your next position when crafting your resume. Also, be concrete by offering examples of times when you’ve used those skills and be sure to note the positive outcomes that resulted from your efforts.

 


 

A future article in Eye on Psi Chi will feature tips for continuing your efforts to communicate skills to employers by providing tips and best practices for helping you to succeed in the interview process. Stay tuned for more details!

Creating Your First Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide

By: Courtney Redd, DePaul University PR and advertising major ‘16, and Jane Bradley, health sciences major ‘17

Creating your first resume can be an intimidating task. According to researchers from TheLadder, employers spend an average of six seconds looking at your resume. So, how do you impress an employer enough in six seconds to secure an interview? Follow this step-by-step guide to make sure your first resume is compelling and marketable.

Brainstorm

Think about past experiences that helped you gain useful skills. Focus on more than just paid work experiences; you can include volunteer work, internships, organizations, relevant coursework, class projects, and more.

Put it Together

Open a blank word document, avoid using a resume template, and begin to list all of your experiences by section. Some section headings might include education, work experience, activities, and skills. Make sure your resume is clean, consistent, and easy to read. Readability is everything when you’re working with a six-second window! To get more formatting ideas, check out the Entry Level Resume Guide.

Get Writing

Use bullet points to highlight your skills. A good bullet point starts with an action verb, is concise and specific, and addresses transferable skills relevant to the position you are applying for. View the Entry Level Resume Guide for more examples of bullet points.

Self-Critique of Best Practices

Use this check list to make sure your resume is application-ready!

ResumeCheckList

Get Help

Peer Advisors are available to review your resume and provide feedback before you send your resume to employers. Walk-in appointments are available Monday-Friday in both Lincoln Park and the Loop. You can also email your resume to peercareeradvisor@depaul.edu to receive feedback electronically.

While building your first resume can be a tricky and intimidating task, the Career Center is here to help! If you follow these five steps, you will be on your way to impress any employer in six seconds, and secure the interview you were hoping for!

 

Personal Branding & Standing Out

By: Mariah Cowan, DePaul University digital communications and media arts graduate student ’16

You know you’re awesome, but how will you let employers know that you’re awesome?

Go to college, get a degree and land your dream job. As simple as it may sound, there is so much more that goes into developing your career. You can’t walk into an interview with only your degree and expect to get the job on the spot. Employers are looking for people who stand out. You have to present yourself in a professional manner in order to impress employers. So, how can you get employers to think you’re simply stellar?

Brand yourself! Think about it. Why do you buy the brands you use? Because they stand out from the rest? They present themselves better than others? So how will you? You probably know the basics: Nice and clean resume, professional dress, etc. But have you considered building a portfolio? Or a personal website?

In an article I read titled, “Do you need to build a personal website to land a job,” there are three professional benefits of having a personal website. They include the following:

  1. Sharing your expertise – What can you do? Share your accomplishments.
  2. Building your personal brand – Create a professional presence online.
  3. Establishing yourself as a thought leader – Establish industry credibility.

I believe the same benefits apply for a portfolio. Portfolios allow you to showcase your skills and experiences. It shows that you not only can talk the talk, but you can walk the walk.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 3.04.28 PM

Here’s what our professionals, Sarah Highstone and Micheal Elias, had to say about the topic:

“Students who show employers, through digital portfolios, their work online have an advantage over students who do not.” – Sarah Highstone, former Career Specialist for Computing and Digital Media

“A digital portfolio allows applicants to expand on their brand beyond resume data, a business card, etc., by promoting concrete evidence of their work and school accomplishments. If employers can point to artifacts that support the content on a students’ resume, it can give them an advantage in the application process over applicants without concrete evidence.” – Michael Elias, Assistant Director, Career Specialist for College of Communication

But is this true for all students? What if employers do not require a portfolio? “I would think it can help an applicant stand out even in traditional fields where it’s typically not required, since it presents something new to the hiring manager,” says Micheal.

I agree with Michael. Whatever helps you stand out, I say go for it!