Self-Care for Your Job Search

By: Jen Fleming, Education, Nonprofit & Government Career Community Advisor

The job search can be stressful. The transition process and vulnerability can bring out anxiety. Here are 5 tips for practicing self-care during the job search to ensure you don’t burn out.

1. Find a Mentor

You will have a lot of decisions to make! Mentors can help you pinpoint job opportunities and evaluate offers. They may point out things that are not even on your radar (e.g. one job offer includes great health care coverage but your other offer pays a slightly higher salary with no health coverage). Mentors can also assist with career advice and share industry specific information regarding trends or potential interview questions to impress a hiring manager. Don’t have a mentor yet? The ASK Network is a great place to find one!

2. Have Fun

Make sure you’re having fun with the experience! An upbeat attitude will help hiring managers notice your talents, passion, and drive. Get involved in volunteering or attending professional development events related to your career interests. Not only is it a great way to meet people and network within your industry but it also gives you unique topics to discuss in an interview.

3. Limit Your Time Spent Applying

Rather than spending hours on end applying to every single job you can, be strategic. Consider the types of roles you’re most interested in and qualified for and keep your focus there. The best piece of advice I ever received about the job search was a mentor telling me to limit it to 2 hours a day. This advice gave me permission to focus on other aspects of my life and stop feeling guilty about taking breaks from my search. Too much time spent on the job search can quickly lead to burn out and frustration. Set goals and boundaries on how much time you’ll focus on your job search each day.

4. Be Intentional

Self-care looks different for everyone but, it should be something that rejuvenates you (for some people it may be reading a book, listening to music, walking your dog, getting dinner with friends etc.). It’s truly individual; take some time to think about healthy self-care strategies you may already do but haven’t necessarily identified as such. If you don’t think you have any, start a list of things to try and keep track of your feelings after doing each. Choose something that you enjoy and gives you energy to keep moving forward.

5. Celebrate the Good

There will be ups and downs. Doing self-reflection after each experience can help you keep track of what you’re doing well and identify areas for improvement. Make sure to celebrate each of your wins – big and small. Maybe you made it to a final round interview and did your absolute best but didn’t end up getting the offer—celebrate your accomplishments, learn from whatever you can, and keep going!

 

The Career Center will support you in a variety of ways including connecting you with employers through networking events and job fairs as well as providing individual career advising. Many students visit us for mock interview practice, feedback on resume and cover letter writing, and to ask questions about navigating the job search process. We can also help you explore how your interests, values, skills, and personality fit into different careers.

Schedule a career advising appointment on Handshake today!

New Year, New Focus: 5 Career Resolutions to Make This Year

By: Gracie Covarrubias, DePaul University organizational and multicultural communication major ’18 and Career Center communications assistant

The New Year brings the promise of a fresh start—a new landscape to grow and develop as a person. It’s no secret that every year we all make resolutions that we end up losing track of about a month into the year. Here at the Career Center, we believe that the best resolutions are those related to career development. Don’t want to set unrealistic goals this year? We’ve got you covered.

Check out our top five New Year’s resolutions, and start building a more career-ready you.

Come to the Career Center at least once a quarter

The Career Center is a hub for good vibes, motivation and career support. As a general rule of thumb, you should make the effort to expose yourself to the people, advisors and ideas circulating within this office. This year, we’re challenging you to come in just once a quarter to get your resume reviewed, chat with peer career advisors (PCAPs) or check in with your advisor. A visit to the Career Center usually takes up no more than an hour of your day.

Network with your professors

It’s important that each quarter you take the time to reach out to your professors. Give a basic intro of yourself and ask them if they’d be open to meeting with you to share insights beyond what is discussed in class. Professors are people, too; they’re successful in their field and they’ve got a backpack full of knowledge they’d be happy to share with you if you simply ask. Connecting with professors is important not only for networking purposes, but also for attaining letters of recommendation and—if you’re lucky—you could even gain a mentor.

Connect with an ASK mentor

Since we are on the topic of mentorship, you can never have too many mentors. DePaul’s mentorship program, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK), is the perfect way to connect with alumni in your field of interest. In a matter of minutes, you can connect with alumni right on Handshake whose work interests you. Once you’ve found an alumnus you’re interested in chatting with, you can send them a message requesting a time to talk, and then you can begin building a relationship with them.

Seek out informational interviews

An informational interview is essentially a meeting in which you chat with someone whose job interests you; it’s a way for you to gather a better understanding of their day-to-day responsibilities, the culture of their place of employment and their professional background. Informational interviews are a great way to get your toes wet and begin exploring different jobs that may be of interest to you. If you aren’t specifically looking for a mentorship relationship, but still want to gain insight from alumni, you can set up informational interviews with alumni through ASK as well. This year, make it your goal to set up at least one informational interview each quarter!

Go to at least one job fair, networking event or workshop each quarter

The Career Center hosts a myriad of career events each quarter that cater to all majors, interests and experience levels. These events exist to help you hone in and further develop your career and personal development skills, and to connect you with employers. You can kick off this resolution by attending our Winter Job and Internship Fair on Friday, February 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Can’t make the fair? Check out a complete list of our events on Handshake!

The 2017-year is full of endless possibilities, and these five resolutions are a sure-fire way to help you develop your career journey. If you need any help with accomplishing resolutions, be sure to stop by the Career Center!

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.

Don’t Attend a Job Fair Without Reading These Tips

By: Jennifer Delay James, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) mentor with an MBA from DePaul University

Standing out among many job seekers can be challenging at job fairs. In this article, Jennifer Delay James, DePaul alumna and mentor, and program manager at Pearson, shares how you can prepare and excel at your next job fair.


Target Specific Employers 

Review the list of companies attending and the positions they are looking to fill before the career fair. Identify the five employers you definitely want to meet, and then create a separate list of the other employers that you will visit if time allows. This will help you prioritize your time, and if you finish early you can still meet with employers that are not on either of your high priority lists.

Prepare in Advance

You will only have a few minutes to meet with an employer’s representative; be prepared so you can make the most of this time. Practice a short 15-30 second introduction to use when meeting with employers. Also, be ready to share why you are interested in working for each employer, highlighting your relevant skills and experiences, and asking thoughtful questions about the organization or position.

Bring Hard Copies of Resume

Even if you submitted your resume online prior to a career fair, bring plenty of hard copies so the employers can refer to it during your discussions. Employers may also ask you to submit your cover letter and resume online through the company website.

Keep Track of Conversations

When meeting with multiple employers in a short amount of time, it can be easy to lose track of who shared what information. Take notes on the back of the business cards you collect or in a separate notebook. Your notes will be helpful when following up with each employer.

Follow Up

Collect business cards from the individuals you speak with so you have their contact information. Take the time to follow up with a short, personalized thank you note to each representative you met.


The Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network connects DePaul students and graduates with alumni to explore college and professional transitions, life challenges, and university and career questions. To connect with Jennifer and other ASK mentors like her, visit HandshakeQuestions? Contact ASK at ask@depaul.edu.

Behavioral Questions: What Employers Really Want to Hear

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

Have you ever wondered what the hiring manager is really looking for in your answers? In this article, Lynn Gibson, DePaul alumna and mentor, decodes the underlying meanings of job interview questions and shares what hiring managers are really listening for. 


During interviews, the hiring manager has one primary goal: Choose the candidate with the highest success potential for the role. While the necessary skills are certainly a part of that, candidates who don’t have the skills usually do not get an interview. So, the decision comes down to behavior. Since it is believed that past behavior predicts future behavior, most interviews are heavily weighted toward discovering your behavioral strengths.

Now, let’s discuss how to frame your strengths in response to behavioral questions to make sure you highlight your success potential.

As a hiring manager, here are a few things I’m listening for when I ask behavioral questions:

  • Do you take responsibility for your actions in a challenging situation, or do you project the problems onto others?
  • Can you accurately and concisely identify the real problem or challenge, explain your actions, and describe the result of your actions? (CAR)
  • Does frustration/irritation show in your answers, or does a can-do attitude shine through?
  • Do you show empathy for and understanding of others in situations, or do you project a my way or victim attitude?
  • What did you REALLY do on that team project? Can you relate the situation/assignment, tasks you were assigned, actions you took, and results that you measured? (STAR)
  • How do you assess or explain your successes? Are they all “just about you,” or do you appropriately share credit?
  • Are you enthusiastic when you talk about helping others or going above and beyond on something, or do your answers show more obligation than eagerness?

Here are a few more things I’m listening for:

When I ask about failures/weaknesses/disappointments, etc., I really want to know if you “own” your behavior, know how to break down and solve problems, view obstacles as stumbling blocks or opportunities, have the motivation to push through and finally succeed, and grow from the experience.

When I ask about successes/achievements, I want to know how and what you actually contributed, how humble you are in terms of assessing your success, and whether you can clearly and concisely tell me about the process you used to gain the success. In other words, is your success repeatable because it is process driven or did you get lucky?

When I ask questions about your goals, I am looking to gain insight into your values and how you measure success or progress. Can you articulate why something is important and can you chart a reasonable course to try to achieve it? This also provides insight into your “core” motivation, which is what will drive you to reach your success potential.

When I ask about the types of environments that have brought out the best in you, it helps me to know whether you prefer a hands-on or hands-off approach, and if you are a self-starter or need someone to provide motivation.

Hopefully, after reading this, you will understand that the interviewer is using behavioral questions to try to gauge how you will react and respond to daily situations in their firm. They are listening for more than the “answers.” They are attempting to discern the traits/strengths behind those answers and measure your success potential based on how their other successful employees behave – or react/respond. And, that is a very good thing! A really great interviewer will never offer a job to someone who can’t be happy and successful in the role. As much as you think you want a particular job, always hope that the interviewer is very capable and will spare you much disappointment if it really isn’t a great fit for you.

With that said, you are responsible to make certain that you are responding in a way that best captures your success potential. Now that you have a little more insight into the real questions behind the questions, it may be time to give a little more thought to your answers.


The Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network connects DePaul students and graduates with alumni to explore college and professional transitions, life challenges, and university and career questions. To connect with Lynn and other ASK mentors like her, visit Handshake. Questions? Contact ASK at ask@depaul.edu.

Lessons Learned: Believe in the Company You Work For

By: Kenny Lapins, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) mentor and DePaul University graduate from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

In this article, Kenny Lapins, DePaul alumnus and mentor, and senior copywriter at Simple Truth, discusses the process of identifying your core competency and defining your career. And, finally, the power of believing in the company you work for.


Each of us has a core competency. In my case, it is writing. My core competency can be applied in many ways: technical writing, corporate communication, advertising, online copywriting, or journalism. Each type of writing has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Technical writing is challenging, but potentially dry.
  • Online copywriting allows for creativity within confines of strict word count.
  • Journalism provides freedom, but often comes with impossible deadlines.

Once you identify your core competency and narrow your focus on the applications that best suit your personality, you define your career. However, one aspect remains: where to apply your skills. You may have an industry that appeals to you, such as consumer-packaged goods, automotive, or finance. Then, within the industry you choose, identify the companies that appeal to you.

What might not be obvious during this process is that you really must believe in the company you work for. Whether it is morality, ethics, or simply a desire to work somewhere you can feel proud of, what your company does and what it stands for will become important the longer you work there. If you choose a consumer-packaged goods company, are the products ones you would use? Are the manufacturing processes harmful to the environment? If you choose advertising, is there a chance you are going to have as your client a company that you are morally opposed to?

The lesson learned from my career is that I will not last long at a company I do not believe in. After all, if career advancement is a long term goal, would I really want to become senior management at a company I do not believe in? Even if that company is giving me a great opportunity to ply my core competency in creative and satisfying ways, if I don’t believe in the result of my work, I will not thrive.


The Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network connects DePaul students and graduates with alumni to explore college and professional transitions, life challenges, and university and career questions. To connect with Kenny and other ASK mentors like him, visit Handshake. Questions? Contact ASK at ask@depaul.edu.