How to Stay Sane During the Summer Job Search

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

Summertime is arguably the best time of the year—longer days, plenty of free time, exciting opportunities for growth; the list of ways to fill your summer is endless. One item that never seems to escape our summer to-do lists, however, is landing that perfect job. Let’s face it, with the stress, spreadsheets and never-ending interviews, sometimes the summer job search can feel like a full-time job itself. But who says the job search can’t be fun? Check out these four tips that’ll help keep you sane during your summer job search.

Network, network, network

Check out Meetup to find fun networking events near you, specific to your industry and interests. No matter where you’re spending the summer, it’s important to dedicate some of your time to meeting people and making quality connections—remember, people hire people!

Informational interviews

Informational interviews are an exceptional way to get your foot in the door with a company you want to work for. Check out DePaul’s Alumni Sharing Knowledge network to learn more about connecting with alumni, or ASK mentors, that share similar career aspirations or have connections to companies you’re looking to seek employment with. ASK mentors can provide informational interviews, which can give you a better sense of the work they do and the company or field they work in. If you aren’t finding a connection through ASK, head on over to LinkedIn and search through DePaul alumni in your intended field.

Leverage the Career Center

Whether you’re at DePaul for another year (or two…or three) or a recent grad, the Career Center can be a key player in helping you during your summer job or internship search. Come in and chat with a peer career advisor to get your resume reviewed or schedule a meeting with your career advisor to talk strategies for the job search. Recent graduates, don’t forget, you have access to Career Center resources for one year after graduation. The Career Center is open throughout the summer from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is bustling with people excited to help you land that dream job!

Make this summer the summer that you land that job you’ve been dreaming of. Don’t forget, you’ve got a network of Blue Demons excited to support you in your journey beyond DePaul.

Connect with professors

It sounds simple enough, but we often forget that professors, especially at DePaul, aren’t solely educators—they are skilled professionals who spent years establishing themselves in their respective industries. Your favorite professor has a wide breadth of knowledge on your field and a network of professionals they are more than willing to connect you with. Summer is a great time to reconnect and touch base with professors who have made an impact on you in your collegiate career. Use this time to not only solidify these connections, but to also catch up with them and see if they have any colleagues that would be willing to help you with the job hunt.

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.

Handshake Hacks: Connecting with Mentors

By: Leslie Chamberlain, associate director of DePaul’s Alumni Career Services & Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK)

Connecting with a mentor allows you to explore college and professional transitions, life challenges, and university and career questions.

As you connect on Handshake with DePaul mentors or alumni in the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network, follow this guide on how to maximize your mentoring experience.

1. Be clear on your purpose: What are the top two or three reasons you want to connect? What are your expectations for this connection? Be prepared to address these topics, and make sure the questions you have are clear. Base your mentor search on who might be able to answer your industry, career, college or life questions.

2. Use appropriate search terms: You can browse through the mentor directory on Handshake by clicking Mentoring in the left menu, and then visiting the Find Mentors tab in the top right corner. From there, utilize the search bar by typing in specific keywords that correlate with your career and life interests or goals; choose strong keywords that communicate your reasons for connecting with a mentor. You can also use the Industry, Major, Job Function, Employer, Organization, Skill, and additional search criteria for an excellent, more advanced search.

3. Reach out to a variety of mentors: Your mentor search results may have multiple pages. Check the full list before making requests. The best fit for you might be listed on the last page, so make sure to take your time and browse a variety of profiles. The value of speaking with several professionals is that you can compare their experiences.

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Consider requesting at least five mentors. For example, you may reach out to three within your major or field of choice and two that share an interest with you (ex. running, art, movies, etc.). You never know what a mentor has to share until you meet!

4. Write a great introduction letter: Make your introduction letter stand out, and personalize your request based on the mentor’s bio. A short three-line message is best that includes the following:

  1. Explain what interested you about the mentor
  2. Share some background information
  3. Request a specific time range to meet (ex. 15-minute chat in the next two weeks)

In addition to reading the mentor’s Handshake profile, see if the mentor has a LinkedIn page, as you may be able to find more information.

5. Follow up and stay connected: When a mentor accepts your request, you will receive an email notification. Here are a few steps to take once you receive that notification:

  1. Send the mentor a follow-up message thanking them
  2. Schedule a time to speak in person or over the phone
  3. Schedule an “update” meeting after you meet
  4. Give the mentor updates about discussed goals

To send and read your messages, click, View Mentorship Details, on your list of mentorships.

[Please note: Handshake has a built-in direct messaging function, so your email address will not be displayed or public.]

6. Be remembered for your strengths and interests, not for your needs: Share your values, goals, strengths, and interests with your mentor. For example, instead of being known as an English major who needs a job, be known as an English major who enjoys understanding the needs of the community and making a difference through writing. Go beyond job discussions and share with your mentor what motivates and inspires you. This will help you build a stronger connection with your mentors – you never know what door that conversation may open.

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7. Show appreciation and gratitude: Show your appreciation by thanking your mentors whenever they set aside time to meet. Honor their generosity by making your meetings more convenient for them. For instance, offer to meet them at or near their office rather than asking them to meet you at DePaul. Try to be more flexible with your availability so you can accommodate their schedule. If you tried something they suggested, tell them what happened. If they assisted you in selecting a career path, preparing for an interview or a job application, or simply building your courage and confidence to pursue the next step, share with them your progress and acknowledge how they helped. The best way to thank someone is to express how his or her support has helped you.

The ASK team is here to help! At any step of the way, please do not hesitate to contact the team by email at or phone at 312-362-8281, if you need assistance connecting with ASK mentors on Handshake.