Networking Anxiety—How to Overcome It

By: Alejandra Ruiz, DePaul University honors marketing major ‘16

If you’re like me, when you walk into a large conference room packed with career professionals pacing and waiting for students to approach, anxiety starts to creep in. Then, as you glance around you realize that for the next two hours your only mission in life is to make a positive, long-lasting impression on those professionals, who are also strangers. Tell me, are you also getting nauseated?

We’ve heard that networking is a fundamental tool for career exploration and growth, but unfortunately it doesn’t come naturally to many of us. That’s why the following tips will help you move past the anxiety and make your networking experience the best.

Embrace a positive mindset: The first thing you have to do is get into a positive mindset and embrace it. Remember, no matter how old you are or how much experience is under your belt, you have valuable contributions and insight to share. Be confident, and most importantly, be yourself. Take it all in, and if a conversation doesn’t go as planned, look at it as a learning experience.

Don’t judge a book by its cover: Remember, you’re going to meet people, and with that, you need to keep an open mind. Don’t assume anything about a person; you never know, that person might be the one who helps you the most.

Show your pearly whites: You’re not going to a funeral, but a networking event. Remember to smile; it will help make you look more approachable.

Know what’s in the news: The morning of, make sure you are up-to-date on major world events or even sports. Knowing what’s going on in the world and what’s currently being discussed will allow you to contribute to meaningful conversations and spark some of your own. This will help with the anxiety since you’ll be prepared with talking points.

Your pen is your best friend: After you chat with a professional, ask for his or her business card. Once you walk away from the conversation, take notes on the back of the card! This will help you remember the conversations you had with each person, which will come in handy when you follow up.

See someone you know, ignore them: Okay, don’t actually ignore them, but challenge yourself to meet fresh faces and expand your networking pool. You won’t be able to overcome the anxiety and nervousness of networking if you run up to the people you already know. Introduce yourself to new faces. Trust me, the experience will be more rewarding and you will learn to manage your fear with practice.

These tips have helped me get through many networking events. Remember, networking is a skill that is developed. With practice, you will get better at conversing with professionals and feel more relaxed during the process.

So You Scored Your First Internship? 10 Tips for Success

By: Chloe Leuthaeuser, DePaul University Communications and Media Major ‘17

Are you feeling a little uncertain about starting a new internship? Heed these 10 student and supervisor-approved tips to get the most out of your internship and wow your coworkers.

1. Go in open-minded and be willing to do something new. Internships can turn into some of the most formative and worthwhile experiences. They allow you to dive into tasks, roles or projects you never expected to attempt; but, if you keep an open mind, you can learn something from these new or unfamiliar experiences. Supervisors will appreciate your willing attitude! Internships can also lead you to new cities or industries. Embrace every aspect and don’t be afraid to welcome the unknown.

2. Even if you initially don’t love an industry, give it a second chance. There is so much to learn from every industry—from technology, consumer goods, healthcare or fashion—and it’s extremely advantageous for you to have a diverse list of experiences under your belt, especially as you continue to explore career avenues.

3. Set specific goals for yourself and communicate them with your supervisor early on. Although this may just seem like a class assignment, do it! If you set measurable goals for yourself, you can track progress and better understand the importance of target dates and staying on track. Creating goals and measuring your success will come in handy during future job interviews as well; you will be able to communicate to employers exactly what you achieved and how you got there. Plus, creating your own goals is also a great way to make sure you’re getting what you want out of the internship.

4. Say yes to everything you can. Doing an extra research project? Lending a hand to a new team? Helping plan a new event? Getting drinks with coworkers? Yes, yes, yes and yes. The connections and experiences that form during your internship may come when you least expect it, so get in the habit of saying yes—but make sure you can follow through, of course!

5. Ask, “How can I help?” Offer a helping hand before coworkers even ask. Even if they don’t need help at that moment, they will surely remember your eagerness to get your hands dirty and help out. This shows you are willing to take initiative and are proactively seeking projects.

6. Timing really is everything. Internships are designed to teach you how to deal with managers, stress, multiple projects, and deadlines. Get in the habit of asking your supervisor when a deadline is and approximately how long that project will take. Then, check your list of other projects and deadlines, and appropriately respond. It’s OK to say no if you have too much on your plate! Quality is better than quantity in these situations.

7. Take time to talk to your coworkers and supervisors. Sometimes the most rewarding parts of an internship are the lasting connections you make. Consider this:

  • Ask supervisors and higher-ups for informational interviews over lunch or coffee
  • Sit and chat with coworkers close to your age
  • Pick everyone’s brain about everything—from their career path, insights on the industry or company, or tips for someone in your shoes

8. Put in the extra effort. Put your best effort into every assignment. Your hard work will not go unnoticed. Even if you don’t see the point of an assignment, it was assigned for a reason. If you demonstrate your capabilities early on with easy tasks it is almost guaranteed that you will be given more substantial projects later on.

9. Have a good attitude. Millennials sometimes get a bad rap for acting entitled and having a bad attitude, but prove that image wrong! Plus, a little positivity will significantly improve your experience (even if you’re not doing something you love).

10. Make some time for yourself. Take advantage of your situation! Don’t burn yourself out within the first few weeks by working on weekends and nights if you don’t have to. You can still put in hard work and get noticed without working overtime. You’re allowed to have a little fun, too!

Now, go out there and wow your new coworkers!

 

 

DePaul Diaries: Life as a Media & Photography Intern

By: Renee Radzom, DePaul University graduate, former University Internship Program (UIP) assistant

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.


Gianna Vitallo, a senior interested in the television industry, challenged herself by taking on three different internships throughout the school year. Gianna had a TV internship with Violet Media where she gained transferable skills. She was then able to use these new skills at her other two internships, which were at CBS’s B96 Morning Radio Show and Gerber + Scarpelli Photography.

“I learned how to make a production go smoothly and also how to appeal to an audience,” Gianna said. “For example, at B96, I always had to end each social media post with a question. They wanted their fans to be able to respond to a post with their own personal experiences.”

All three internships challenged Gianna with hands-on responsibilities. At B96 and Gerber + Scarpelli, she regularly updated the companies’ social media accounts. At B96, she also operated the “Vox Pro” to monitor sound levels and made edits to the show. At Gerber + Scarpelli, Gianna was given the opportunity to assist with wedding shoots.

Additionally, at Violet Media, Gianna participated in mock pitch sessions and presented ideas for television shows, which is a standard practice in the industry. Afterwards, she received feedback on her creativity and presentation skills from an executive producer.

“My favorite part is getting into a rhythm of what I need to do. The start of each internship was hard, but once I knew what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to do it, I was much more excited,” Gianna explained.

Gianna didn’t just work at her internships – she received credit for all of them. “The first class I took was the UIP: 250 course called You, Your Work, and the World. I would definitely recommend this course. The professor was amazing and I made a great portfolio in that class,” Gianna said. “As a digital cinema major, I am almost always asked for a reel when applying for jobs or internships. This website [portfolio] had them all in one place and it looked very professional.”

After taking the UIP class, Gianna took independent study courses to earn elective credit for the other two internships.

All three of Gianna’s internships were unpaid, but her last internship at Gerber + Scarpelli catapulted into an opportunity to work on a contract basis taking pictures for weddings over the summer. As a result of this year, Gianna has become an internship pro. She’s gained more knowledge on how to search for and apply to jobs, how to impress colleagues through her work ethic, punctuality and creativity, and how to make the most of her experiences. She even learned how to better manage her time by balancing her internship with school, friends, and her job as a desk receptionist at DePaul Housing Services.

When it comes to advice for handling all these responsibilities, Gianna said, “Don’t be afraid to mess up. Learning from your failures is extremely important.”


Want to learn more about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.

Tricks for Rocking Your Video Interview

Hiring managers may still meet applicants for face-to-face interviews, but there’s been a significant increase in companies opting to conduct video interviews, particularly in place of a phone screen. Video interviews—unlike phone interviews—give applicants the opportunity to demonstrate their enthusiasm and passion for a role and exude their personality through nonverbal communication or mannerisms. For example, nodding along or smiling in agreement with employers are behaviors that would be impossible to gauge over the phone.

Never experienced the thrill of a Skype interview? Here is a breakdown of the differences and similarities of video interviews and face-to-face interactions, as well as some tips on how to be successful.

What’s so different between face-to-face & video interviews?

The most obvious difference between video and face-to-face interviews is the use of a webcam. But, preparing for video interviews means more than just making sure your computer has a strong connection. You need to be aware of your surroundings and ensure that you remain the focus of the interview while keeping potential distractions to a minimum.

Distractions can take a variety of forms, from a roommate or pet walking around in the background to unprofessional or inappropriate wall art. Many of these distractions can be easily avoided (such as asking a roommate for privacy, keeping a pet in another room, or removing posters from the wall) while others may be out of your control (such as a car alarm that goes off in the street). If you aren’t comfortable conducting a video interview at home, identify friends or family who may have a more private space that you can borrow for the duration of your interview. Better yet, you can utilize one of the interview suites near the Loop Career Center, which provides a private office with minimal distractions. We’ll even set you up with a webcam if you don’t have one available to you. Just contact our Employer Relations department at recruitstudents@depaul.edu to check on space and webcam availability prior to your interview.

On the day of your interview, give yourself time beforehand to get your computer settings just right. This should include positioning the webcam at eye-level, and with enough space between you and the camera so that you aren’t too close or too far away from the screen. You should also find a setting that allows for picture-in-picture support, meaning that you can both see the employer who is interviewing you as well as keep an eye on how you are appearing to the employer. Finally, remember to look directly into the camera when answering interview questions; this will give the impression that you are making direct eye contact with the hiring manager.

What are the similarities?

Many tips that apply to face-to-face interviews are still important for video interviews. A big one is how you’re dressed; some people think they can dress more casually if they’re Skyping from home, or that they only need to wear professional attire from the waist up. In the case of the latter, imagine standing up at the end of the interview, forgetting the other half of you is sporting Star Wars pajama bottoms. You don’t want to nail the interview and have your—although very comfy—pajamas ruin it for you. Dressing professionally from head-to-toe will highlight your professionalism and can impact how you present yourself to employers; if you’re dressed more casually, you may revert to a more casual demeanor in the interview.

Similarly, many behaviors that would be considered inappropriate during a face-to-face interview should also be avoided during video interviews. While this may sound like common sense, the majority of stories we hear about applicants who are unsuccessful during video interviews tend to fall in this category. For example, an employer was put-off by an applicant who was chewing gum during her video interview. Another employer noted that the applicant was drinking coffee from a large mug, something that would be perfectly fine when Skyping with friends and family, but can seem too casual for formal interviews. To put it simply, if it’s something you wouldn’t do in a face-to-face interview, you shouldn’t be doing it in a video interview.

When it comes to the types of questions you will be asked, the good news is that this will be exactly the same as face-to-face interviews. Traditional, behavioral, and situational questions are the most common ones you’ll encounter regardless of how you’re being interviewed.

How can DePaul students prepare?

The best way to prepare for a video interview is to practice. InterviewStream is a resource that allows you to practice answering common interview questions via a webcam. It’s free to create an account, and there are thousands of questions to choose from pertaining to different industries and experience levels. Once you’ve completed your video interview, you can watch it or send it to your career advisor to receive feedback. Your career advisor can provide comments on your responses and body language, two things that employers will be assessing during an actual video interview.

Pave Your Own Career Path, Discover Your Interests with the Help of These Tips

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

Recently, I learned what a “desire path” is from a faculty colleague who is well versed in exploring the art of walking. A desire path refers to a natural path made by a walker or bicyclist as opposed to a path that already exists, like a sidewalk. It occurred to me that perhaps a desire path is the kind of path a College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (LAS) student is looking for in order to respond to some internal sleuthing of an “I know it when I see it” type of career. To pave your own desire path, you need to jump into exploratory resources that help you lay the foundation of what makes up your professional identity as well as explore sites of inspiration that help you investigate fit.

Here are a few exploratory resources and inspirational sites to help you discover your professional identity and interests, and to help you pave your own desire path.

What is your Primer? Developing your Professional Identity

Exploring elements of your professional identity can help you connect what you want to learn and do (interests), what motivates you (values), your strengths (skills), and your characteristics (personality), which will in turn uncover paths.

After you have identified terms that describe your interests, values, and skills, think about the following:

  • What themes can you identify in your reflection?
  • Can you start to see how these areas can be applied to different settings and professional roles?
  • Try to think of different career titles/settings that complement your interests
  • Can you identify action steps that would help you test out “fit” in the interests you identified?

Finding Your Buckets, Gathering More Language

ONET is a rock star, career exploration site that can help you uncover more connections between your professional identity and which occupations interest you the most.

Explore ONET through some of the following searches to discover occupations that link to a mash up of your interests:

  • Job Families
  • Interests (your top three)
  • Values Clusters
  • Skills Search

Food for Thought: Stories Sparking…More Stories

The following sites can help you find topics or stories that resonate with your professional self, and allow you to further uncover interest paths. You may also find stories from others who have likeminded interests.

  • Medium, a community of readers offering unique perspectives
  • Exposure, adventures and stories through a photographic lens
  • Ted Talks and more Ted Talks that inspire college students

People, Places and Positions

Sometimes uncovering interests will stem from learning about other people’s paths and stories. By exploring alumni profiles, you can uncover the paths that alumni have taken with the same major:

  • Search away on LinkedIn and explore the studies and career paths of alumni
  • Connect with the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network to get assistance with finding alumni with the same major/minor or who are currently in a job or industry that interests you

Calling in Reinforcements – Work Place Culture

The vibe that an organization executes can set the tone for engagement, happiness, and satisfaction among professionals. It also goes hand-in-hand with identifying your work values. Here are two sites that can help you explore workplace settings and cultures and determine which environments you will thrive in.

Scavenger Hunt of Inspiration – Job Search Sites

The following sites might spark ideas of how your broad areas of interests could narrow to specialized areas, settings and professional roles:

  • Lumity npo.net, a job board of nonprofit and community service opportunities
  • Idealist, a platform where 118,600+ organizations post career opportunities
  • Chicago Artist Resource, a site providing artists with national and international resources
  • Back Door Jobs, a place to find summer jobs, internships, seasonal positions, volunteering opportunities and more
  • Indeed, a platform to discover fresh job listing

My Advice to You When Looking for Career Inspiration

Remember that many careers have more than one starting point. Every career can be unpacked to have many adaptations, which can lead to more career possibilities. Build on the foundation of what describes you and use a mash-up of your interests, values, and skills to continue to create the road you are looking for.


Are you interested in strengthening your understanding of professional interests? You can meet with a career advisor who specializes in supporting your college. You can also check out the Career Center’s online exploration resources and connect with the ASK network.

Is Your Resume Career Fair Ready? Let’s Find Out

By: Lynn Gibson, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) mentor and DePaul University marketing graduate

DePaul’s first major career fair of the season is days away—are you ready? Your time with each recruiter will be limited. So, using every moment strategically is a worthy goal. Making a great first impression will “condition” the recruiter to expect a good conversation; so, appropriate attire, good posture, eye contact, a firm handshake and a smile are your first steps toward achieving that goal.

After the introductions, it’s time to get down to business. This is where your resume takes center stage and provides the foundation for answering the one question in every recruiter’s mind: Why should we call you in for an interview?

When anyone looks at a written document, they start at the top. And, just like your “visual” first impression conditions a recruiter, so does what they read first. So, how does your resume create a positive impact that influences recruiters desire to know more? It starts with a compelling summary that highlights your strengths and values.

Here are two before and after summary sections. Can you see the transformations?

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screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-3-22-37-pm

While your summary is the key to getting recruiters’ attention, your bullet points are what reel them in, and what will get you the interview. These points should validate your brand and potential to add value in two ways:

  • They define the scope of responsibilities and the types of challenges you have faced in past experiences.
  • They identify specific accomplishments and achievements.

Here are examples that illustrate ways to make the most impact in the experience section of your resume.

Accounting Intern

Recorded and tracked financial transactions using QuickBooks Software. Wrote checks, made deposits, and prepared monthly bank reconciliations to prevent accounting errors. Helped prepare an annual financial report, enabling a firm to assess its financial status and compute tax obligations. Computed taxes owed and prepared a corporate tax return using Drake Tax Software.

  • Met all deadlines and expectations by accurately completing a wide variety of accounting functions (example of value added)

Staff Accountant (Entry level)

Completed bookkeeping, billing and monthly bank reconciliations for four high-value companies as well as monthly payroll and quarterly employment tax returns for 15 companies. Performed analytical reviews of financial statements to ensure accuracy and prepared tax returns including 1120, 1120S, 1065, 1040, and additional forms for 50+ clients

  • Generated a 10% increase in company revenue by cultivating strong client relationships through outstanding accounting service, professional demeanor and communication skills
  • Successfully won 10+ new clients by demonstrating ability to perform tests of internal controls, identify and resolve issues, and make recommendations to enhance business efficiency
  • Professional Skills: QuickBooks, Excel, individual and corporate tax returns, sales tax, payroll tax, bookkeeping

Allow these examples to guide you as you prepare for upcoming career fairs and fine-tune your resume. Although what is covered in this article is limited, your resources are not! Make sure to contact the Career Center and Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) for resume and interview help before and during your next job fair visit.


Reminder: To connect with Lynn and other ASK mentors like her, visit Handshake!