ASK Experience Series: Emotional Intelligence

The ASK Experience series is a new HireDePaul Blog series featuring unique insights and career advice from interviews with DePaul alumni. In the next installment, we spoke with Marie Wohler (‘91) about her career, emotional intelligence in the workplace, and the value of mentorship in professional development. 

Emotional Intelligence

After a career in talent management and leadership development, it is clear that Marie Wohler is passionate about helping people improve their professional skills, the most salient of which being emotional intelligence. So what is emotional intelligence? As Marie explains, “emotional intelligence — or EI — is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of the people around you.”

Marie’s Characteristics of Professional Emotional Intelligence:

  • “Changers”
    • Professionals displaying emotional intelligence are open to change and are adaptable. Being willing to change and take risks as needed supports an organization’s ability to improve itself. 
  • Self-Awareness
    • Acknowledging professional or personal weaknesses helps emotionally intelligent professionals to work with teams that complement their skills.  
  • Empathy & Relation
    • By relating to coworkers and putting their behavior in the context of any situation that may arise, professionals can more effectively resolve conflicts, overcome obstacles, and form connections with colleagues. 
  • Self-Care
    • Self-care looks different for everyone, but practicing it can make or break a professional’s ability to interact with colleagues. 

“Getting great people and retaining them takes emotional intelligence, and leaders who don’t have it risk losing talent that could be a competitive advantage for an organization.”

Feedback

As a convenient follow-up to our previous article (ASK Experience Series: Communication), one aspect of professional emotional intelligence is the ability to take and receive feedback constructively. To expand on the previous discussion, Marie shared some insights on how to ask for good feedback:

  • Ask what you should stop, start, and continue doing. This opens up the floor for the other person to provide you with specific feedback that you can take with you and follow up on after an agreed upon period of time. 
  • Consider branching out to other colleagues for feedback instead of relying exclusively on your direct supervisor. This can help avoid interpersonal conflict in the workplace before it begins! 
  • Follow up with the person you asked. Set a period of time after which you will report back. 

Mentorship

Mentors are always a valuable resource in anyone’s career development. Marie cited two mentors throughout her career who had a significant impact on her growth as a professional. Mentors can share experience and advice, give feedback, and support any person regardless of their experience level. Here at DePaul, all students have access to resources designed to help connect them with potential mentors! 

On the DePaul ASK Network, there is a vast database of alumni volunteers prepared to coach students in their careers. For more information on the ASK Network, check out our website or email us at ask@depaul.edu!  

ASK Experience Series: Communication

In the newest HireDePaul Blog series, the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Program will be hosting interviews with alumni designed to bring DePaul students access to unique career advice and professional insight. In the first installment, we spoke with Margaret Batkiewicz (‘74) about her career and the importance of good communication in the workplace. 

Margaret spent most of her career in global employee communications, creating internal messaging to keep employees informed and up-to-date. When asked about the importance of effective internal communications, Margaret told us that “a company that communicates well with its employees is going to do better, [improve] morale, and have less turnover.”

This messaging came in many forms, one of which being a regular newsletter sent out to an international audience of employees. With such a diverse audience, it was important that she communicated consciously, ensuring awareness of cultural and linguistic differences. By consulting with company leaders from the various geographic regions she was communicating with and sending out surveys to employees, she was able to successfully navigate this unique challenge throughout her career. With that, however, comes the joy of communicating globally. 

“I met so many wonderful people and learned so much about their cultures,” Margaret said. 

From there, Margaret went on to discuss communication as a whole and how it can make or break a company. 

“Communication is essential to the success of a company,” she said, “whether it does business locally or globally.” 

But what is good workplace communication? Good communication skills vary by industry, position, and workplace culture. However, there are some good practices that can be applied to any professional environment:

Tone and Volume

Be conscious of the tone and volume of your voice when communicating with colleagues. There is some truth to the old saying “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Pay attention to your tone, watching out for any unintentionally negative, unenthusiastic, or accusatory intonations. As you get more comfortable in a workplace, continue to practice respectful and sincere communication. 

Be Concise and Definite

Avoid any superfluous information. Communicate with definition, avoiding language that may unnecessarily extend or worsen periods of uncertainty like “maybe” and “probably.” In some instances, informing your coworker that you are unsure of an answer is equally appropriate to providing that answer, as long as you come back to them with that answer once you have it.

Practice Good Listening Skills

Listen closely and attentively while showing interest in the topic and respecting the speaker. Ask questions to clarify information you may have missed. Paraphrase what you have heard and repeat it back to the speaker to ensure understanding. 

Give and Receive Feedback

Be descriptive and clear, while avoiding judgmental language. Be open to receiving feedback without defensiveness, allowing for the other person to address all of their points before responding. Remember: address modifiable, not unchangeable behavior. 

For more information on career readiness, make sure to explore the HireDePaul Blog. To connect with alumni like Margaret and practice your communication skills online, check out the DePaul ASK Network!

Job Search Tips for 2021 Graduates

Be Distinctive

Right now, the job market is the hottest it’s been in recent years as companies are hiring following the COVID-19 pandemic, but that also means the competition is fierce right now.

Because many 2020 graduates had to put off their job hunt while companies went through closures and lay-offs, there are even more of your peers applying for the same jobs you are right now. That means your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile need to be polished and stand out. 

However, for the same reason, the competition is stiff in the current job market; the popularity of remote jobs and internships also opens up the ability for you to apply to opportunities across the country—and the world!

Be Open-minded

While job postings on Handshake are at a high, not all sectors are hiring equally. The top industries looking to hire new graduates were the pandemic’s big winners: tech, financial services, education, and professional services, according to Handshake data. It’s essential to be flexible in your job search at a time like this and think about what skills you could bring to a role as well as what skills you could gain, even if the job isn’t exactly your dream role. 

Settling for what is available doesn’t have to be a bad thing either! While working in your not-dream-job, you can spend that time also taking classes and getting additional certifications, attending webinars and events, and upskilling.

Be Prepared

Having classes, meetings, and hangouts over video chat platforms like Zoom has become commonplace in the past year, but it’s still important to treat virtual interviews the same way you would an in-person one. Make sure to dress professionally, prepare for any questions they may ask, know how to work the features of the platform being used for the interview, and that your setup is well-lit without any distractions in the background.

Some workplaces have also started requesting pre-recorded video interviews in which you answer a list of questions they have provided. Though this type of interview is not live, there is still not much time between receiving the questions and the deadline for sending the video, so it’s still important to prepare in advance.

If you’re nervous, ask a friend or family member to take you through a mock interview, or schedule an advising appointment, or drop in with a peer coach!

Be Creative

You should also be ready to explain how you spent 2020, especially if your summer internship disappeared because of the pandemic and a gap in your resume. Did you do any freelance work? What about personal projects? Did you take any new classes in your free time? Did you volunteer anywhere? You can also highlight any new hobbies you picked up to show you’re willing to and capable of learning new things.

You may have skills you never even thought about that you can highlight, including soft skills!

And if you are still looking for ways to add to your resume, there are plenty of ways to gain experience outside of a traditional internship.

Be Authentic

While your network is a valuable resource in job hunting, it’s also a great space for building relationships with peers in your industry. Not every contact in your network will be in the position to give you a job when you need one, but it’s still essential to maintain and build relationships without expecting a transaction. Professionals in your industry — especially DePaul alumni — can give you helpful advice and share their experiences.

Consider setting up an informational interview with someone in your field or bringing up the possibility of job shadowing at a company you’re interested in or with someone whose role is appealing to you. Check out the ASK Network to connect with alumni.

And don’t forget to give back when you can and open yourself up to meeting with students as a professional in your field, or pass on opportunities you come across to your peers if it’s not something right for you!

More information:

Meet Juliann Krupa, Coordinator of Guest Engagement & Learning Programs Specialist at John G. Shedd Aquarium

The Health Care & Science (HCS) Career Community wants to introduce students to a wide range of careers. Students may be familiar with popular clinical roles (e.g., nurse, physician, veterinarian), but less familiar with jobs like healthcare data analytics, health administration, or biotech research.  

Juliann Krupa - Learning Programs Specialist - John G. Shedd Aquarium |  LinkedIn

Today, we want to highlight a science educator at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. In a virtual interview, Debbie Kaltman (HCS Employer Engagement Specialist) met with Juliann Krupa (DePaul ‘20, MS in Science Education) to share her educational and career journey, her current role as a Learning Programs Specialist, and advice for students interested in science education.

Juliann had many experiences in the museum industry to gain knowledge of animal care and conservation work. Through these opportunities, she discovered her passion for interacting with learners of all ages. As an informal educator, Juliann designs and implements different projects and programs for the aquarium and interacts with new guests of all ages and backgrounds.  She finds teaching and learning from museum guests to be very rewarding. 

Juliann shared her insights on informal education: “Being in informal education is a great way to test out if you would like to teach. If you’re not necessarily interested in teaching in the formal classroom, there are all kinds of opportunities at museums, forest preserves, and historical houses. There are a lot of opportunities in areas that are perhaps not ones you might think of right at the top of your head.”

Check out the full video below to learn more!

Resources:

Shedd Aquarium

Work at Shedd

Internships

How I Got This Job: Foreign Service Officer


Caroline Savage is a career Foreign Service Officer who served most recently as Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Press Center.

As a non-resident fellow at Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, her focus is diverse diplomacy leadership in foreign affairs, a project she began during her tenure as Virginia and Dean Rusk Fellow at ISD from 2018-2019.Prior to Georgetown, she served as Public Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassies Azerbaijan and Mozambique. In Washington assignments, she was Director for Russia and Central Asia on the National Security Council and Political-Military Officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Russian Affairs. She also served previously in Belarus and Luxembourg. A native of Wisconsin, she graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, then received master’s degrees in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her languages are French, Russian, Portuguese and Azerbaijani. She is currently in Kazakh language training for her next job as Consul General in Almaty, Kazakhstan, this summer.

Line of Work / Career Journey

The foreign service generalist track houses specialties in political, economic, public diplomacy management and consular cones. The traditional path is you sign up to be a Foreign Service Generalist, and you’re typically sent overseas to begin your career at one of the 270+ embassies or consulates around the world. The work you’ll be doing involves representing U.S. interests abroad, putting a human face on American interests and policy, and forging relationships with local people.

Savage spoke about her first two years on the job and the time she spent overseas in Luxembourg. She reflected on the large workload and political portfolio she managed, as well as the meetings and issues she tackled while there. Savage explained the series of tests one must take to get their foot in the door to do foreign service. After she passed her tests, there was still a long process to receive her health and security clearance, during which she completed her Master’s. As an undergrad, Savage studied abroad in Russia, taught, and secured as many internships as she could. Her main goal was to gain as much experience as she could in whatever form it was available to her.

Application and Hiring Process

The big components are the written exam and the qualitative evaluation panel to basically look at your resume and your written products and decide whether you’re invited to the oral exam. Therefore, the written and oral exam are the big components. If you pass those, then you have to go through the process of receiving your health and security clearance, which can take several years.

Skills / Experience / Advice

  • If you’re interested in joining the foreign service, take the written test sooner rather than later, because you may have a couple years, like I did, between taking the test and actually starting the career.
  • Be aware, engaged, and informed about what’s happening in the world.
  • Re-read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so you know which amendments are which.
  • Sharpen your oral and written communication skills – be concise, clear, and compelling in your writing.
  • Be able to distinguish yourself professionally and experientially from other applicants in the oral exam and group sessions (leadership and collaboration skills).
  • Take practice exams, gain experience with local organizations such as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, network with industry professionals in the Midwest.
  • If you don’t pass the Foreign Service Exam the first time, it’s no big deal. Savage knew several people who passed the 5th time or the 8th time

Websites and Resources

Meet Sadie Freedman, Product Manager at CancerIQ

The Health Care & Science (HCS) Career Community wants to introduce students to a wide range of careers. Students may be familiar with popular clinical roles (nurse, physician, veterinarian), but not with jobs like healthcare data analytics, health administration, or biotech research.  

CancerIQ is a digital health startup company that helps health care providers “use genetic information to predict, pre-empt, and prevent disease – starting with cancer.” In this interview, Debbie Kaltman (HCS Employer Engagement Specialist) met with Sadie Freedman, a Product Manager at CancerIQ, to discuss her education and career journey, current job responsibilities, future goals in the health technology field, and insights to students. 

Sadie’s background and passion for genetics and healthcare services allowed her to gain an internship with CancerIQ, which opened her to a world of new career opportunities in telehealth. In her full-time role as Project Manager, she works closely with CancerIQ’s sales, customer success, development, and marketing teams to oversee the products, take in and implement customer feedback, look into new product ideas, and improve current products. Inspired by CancerIQ’s software “pointing out patients that a provider never would have thought to do increased screenings on and catching cancers in earlier stages”, Sadie expressed that she has found a rewarding career that she plans to continue developing.

A valuable token of advice from Sadie for current students: “One thing I was missing as an undergraduate was awareness of potential career paths, so try to explore what is out there”.

Check out the full video below to learn more!

Don’t forget to visit CancerIQ’s Careers Page for their upcoming Summer Interships!