As a business major, you’ll hear this question at every interview in some capacity; “How comfortable are you with Excel?” At this point, nearly everyone majoring in business should be knowledgeable in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to the point where mentioning it on a resume is almost useless. Yet, there are many hidden techniques, functions, and formatting options that go undiscovered in Excel.
I do not believe that DePaul has a course with a name that indicates it will be Excel-based, but the closest thing to that would be FIN 202 Quantitative Reasoning. This is a two-credit class where you will spend every moment working in Excel. The course revolves around building an investment simulation for retirement from scratch. Along the way, you will acquaint yourself will vlookups, and even gain exposure to macro-functions.
Still, once your short ten weeks in FIN 202 go by it is essential to keep practicing and learning. I found time over the summer to take Excel courses for free. How? LinkedIn has a feature for premium users called LinkedIn Learning. This area has video lectures, learning modules, and certification exam prep, including Microsoft Excel. This is a valuable resource that covers broad areas of topic including communication skills, programming, accounting, finance, Excel, Word, and so on. You can access it for free through a LinkedIn account and activate the free trial for LinkedIn premium. The trial lasts 30 days and you can cancel so that you will not be charged once it expires. I forgot about this until the last day where I was about to get charged $300 had I not canceled. Take some Excel MOS Exam prep courses and you will surely surprise employers with your skills.
In prior years I was not even invited to first-round interviews. This year, I was fortunate enough to get my foot in the door with each of the Big 4. I am honored to say that I have accepted an offer from PwC for a full-time internship next summer. Granted, that this is still only an internship and not a full-time job offer, I am beyond ecstatic for this opportunity. After years of challenging myself with three honors programs, working jobs - like refereeing, it does eventually pay off if you put in the work.
I came to college in the Strobel Honors with the assumption that employers would come to me. I carried this sense of entitlement for years until I realized that no one owes me anything. DePaul students are hard workers. We have opportunities in Chicago that many students attending state schools in college towns do not have. If you listen to the stories of successful DePaul alumni they will tell you of their work ethic that calls for commitment in and outside the classroom. Working with the community, balancing an internship while going to school full-time may sound tough, but no one said college would be easy. It shouldn’t be easy. If you start to feel that you could have done more looking back, you may also think that you could have gone further in life. As a senior who began to rethink his work ethic during junior year, I can say it is not too late to turn things around. Just remember, these are the last years of learning and proving yourself worthy to employers, and it will only get more difficult once you graduate.
If you find your way to the Jobs tab you will be given a subset of tabs labeled Job Search, Applications, Employers, and On-Campus Interviews. If you click on the Applications tab you will see a list of all positions in which you applied to. Under each application you will see the status of each that is titled Primary, Declined, Reviewed, or Pending. To be declined is obviously the worst, and under review is a good indication that you are being considered. If your status is still pending that does not necessarily mean it never got to someone’s desk. I have an interview lined up that was arranged through email and my application has still never left the initial Pending status.
The most important status is Primary. This means you have been selected for the first round of interviews. Usually, the interview time slots will be selected manually through Handshake. It would be wise to set email notifications or download the Handshake app to be notified of new developments regarding your applications. The interview selection will usually open up the same day you are selected for primary interviews. Once you know the date and time these slots open, mark your calendar, set a phone reminder, do whatever it takes. If they open at midnight, stay up to schedule your interview the second it is available and do not wait until the next morning. If you do, you risk the chance of not having an open time slot for yourself and will then be on a waitlist hoping for the chance that someone backs out. You do not want to remove yourself from the application process.
With that being said, happy hunting! Do not forget that there are practice interviews available with the Career Center. If you are a senior like me, then you have no room for error in these interviews and all the practice can make a difference in getting THE job you want.
There are multiple ways to have an external perspective review your resume. It can simply be a roommate or friend, or your advisor – who will be able to tell what employers are looking for. As I have noted in previous blogs, the Career Center takes appointments and walk-ins for this very subject. Yet, none of these will indicate what a recruiter is thinking about as much as hearing from a recruiter face-to-face. Clubs like Beta Alpha Psi, Midwest Association for Hispanic Accountants, and Accounting Club offer quick resume reviews with large firms like KPMG. Here you will spend around 15 minutes one-on-one with a recruiter to just talk in a casual setting. Not only will it be beneficial for your resume, but your attendance will also put your name out there and display your interest.
General Meetings & Panels
Anytime a firm is willing to come in and take the time to talk with students through a club is a strong indicator that they are looking to hire DePaul students. Whether you know it or not, firms take into account of who is attending and actively ask which students have RSVP’d. Take caution though, if you RSVP and do not attend or cancel, it will look unprofessional on your part and thus creates a negative first impression.
Social & Volunteer Events
A good way to put your name out there in a casual and comfortable environment is by attending social and volunteer outings. These events focus less on the professional operations of the firm and allow you to be yourself. Yes, you should do community service for the intention of purely serving others, but a volunteer outing through a firm indicates your interest in the firm and shows your presence in the community.
If there was one last tip of advice I can propose, regardless of the formality of the event, just be yourself.
An obvious location to buy formal wear for cheap prices is at a second-hand store such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. However, this idea is not appealing to some (me) because of the thought of not being the first owner. So, I recommend taking it a step above to the department outlet store, Nordstrom Rack. On average, the prices are well below retail, but you definitely get your money’s worth whenever there is the “Clear the Rack” clearance sale, which is usually 25% to 30% off already markdown prices. I bought Florsheim dress shoes from here, as well as True Religion jeans for only forty dollars.
The next tip is one I obsessively follow, and that is online shopping. All I have to say is do not underestimate the promo codes. These are relatively easy to find, but there are some stores where if you sign up for their email list you’ll receive a promo code. For example, Calvin Klein’s site offers 15% off for signing up your email. Now, I am a little extra, but what I do is make a temporary email account, sign up for the promo code, use the code, delete the email account, and then repeat. That way, no matter what sales are occurring I will always have an extra 15% off. Aside from signing up for email promo codes, make an account through the supplier’s website and their reward programs, for some, will offer exclusive promotions or birthday rewards. I remember Ralph Lauren gave me a fifty-dollar gift card for my birthday and Calvin Klein gave me a 20% birthday reward. I prefer shopping Calvin Klein’s site because you are able to apply one promo code, but multiple rewards on one purchase. For example, there was a suit jacket for $425 with matching pants for $175. The sale occurring was 60% off these two, but I applied the 15% off email promo code, the 20% off birthday reward, a 10% off reward for completing a survey, and then a $20 off loyalty reward. Thus, I took a $600 suit and bought it for around $150. I use this same method for Calvin Klein dress socks, ties, and so on.
On the other hand, choosing to attend DePaul, or stay for that matter, solely based on the premise it is located in Chicago does not by any means constitute a valid reason to study here. Truth be told, I think it is the field experience - in terms of jobs and internships - that separates DePaul from most universities. I see firsthand the dedication of studying in honors programs, declaring multiple majors, working a job as a full-time student (whether it be on or off campus) and attaining internships before graduation; all to which typical DePaul students will have the luxury of accomplishing as opposed to those of a state school. I see old high school classmates in their state universities partying and tailgating, to which I must admit seems so fun, you know that stereotypical college experience. But, it is no wonder as to why parties are the dominant theme; they don’t have some of the world’s most renowned cultural institutions, corporate employers, and recreational parks in their backyard. There is a reason why Chicago is the first destination they flock to when summer break comes around.
As I mentioned before, I have an intermittent job as a brand ambassador that I do on the side. Recently, I was offered to do a quick, one-day job for American Express x Uber at the United Center
during a Bulls game. With a high wage (not disclosing) for a short duration of six hours, I saw this as an easy way of earning extra money.
The gist of the duties were simple; greet the Platinum rewards members who won the contest at the gates of the arena, walk them through the entrance along with the free amenities being provided to them, and gather them all up after the game for an exclusive meet and greet with a legendary Bulls player. My assignment was to man the gate, and guide the members through to their next step of receiving a complimentary snack box to enjoy during the game. I could not have been assigned an easier task. The interesting part of the job was the behind-the-scene access I was granted towards the United Center’s new atrium that now houses the Jordan statue. I was briefed on my responsibilities in the atrium’s office in a room called the Scottie Pippen office (hint for later on). After three hours of manning the gate, we brand ambassadors were given a short break where we were actually given some of the extra snack boxes, so a free lunch on top of my pay is always a plus.
Then, we were directed to the United Center’s Stadium Club where we would set up for the post-game event. Since I was not chosen to gather up the members, I was able to just relax even more in the Stadium Club and watch the Bulls overcome the Atlanta Hawks in the last remaining minutes of the game. All I had to now was to greet members into the meet-and-greet and check IDs. During that time, the Bulls legend Scottie Pippen
walked by. I admit a little excitement came over me but I had to keep composure while on the job. After everyone was inside, my responsibilities pretty much ceased. I was given the option to leave, but I stayed around longer hoping I could get a picture with Scottie or snag an extra complimentary jersey of his that were being handed. Unfortunately, I was not able to do either of the two, but nevertheless I enjoyed this one-day job, as I usually do with the other brand ambassador events.
As a part-time job I serve as a brand ambassador for different companies when given the opportunity. The most memorable event I worked was the Mountain Dew and NBA three-on-three basketball tournament that took place last summer. This was a nationwide tour, but it had a stop in Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom. For three days I worked on the courts facilitating events such as skills challenges, three-point contests for the fans, and distributing prizes. Every now and then I would promote involvement and work alongside with NBA stars such as Gary Payton
and Frank Kaminsky
Given that the contests would only occur intermittently between basketball games, I was pretty much being paid to stand around and watch good basketball games while receiving some free Mountain Dew
along the way. I had a great time working with the NBA and Mountain Dew brand and look forward to working, or even just attending, any more Chicago promotions that are to come.
As a writer for Deblogs, this is officially my first job through DePaul University. However, this does not necessarily mean this is the first on-campus job I have applied to. There were plenty of opportunities which I attempted to take advantage of, but unfortunately I was not qualified enough. Or perhaps, maybe it was that I was not prepared enough when it came time to show my capabilities in the job interviews. If you feel as if you are not ready for a job or simply want to improve your employability, there are plenty of resources available through DePaul that enable you to make yourself stand out in an interview when the time comes.EDGE Program
EDGE stands for Education and Development Grant for Employability, and by all means it does serve as a tool to gain experience and develop self-knowledge about jobs and careers by participating in projects that also contribute to DePaul. This is a yearlong program and only first-year students are eligible to participate. At the beginning of the year, I attended an information fair to see the various departments that students are able to choose from within EDGE. After submitting my top five, I was placed within my top choice of the Career Center. Each department will have their own certain goal or focus, thus, my experience in the Career Center was different from that of my roommate’s with the Green Team. Just to give a sample of what kind of activities there are in EDGE, I had to go around and talk to companies at the job and internship fairs, then work the fairs by directing guests or facilitating the coatroom, I attended workshops regarding to topics such as budgeting or finding apartments, practiced elevator pitches and mock interviews, and conducted a survey to help improve the interface of Handshake. If you are able to get into this program, regardless of the department you choose, I highly recommend doing so. The time commitment is not overwhelming at all.Career Center
Going off of the Career Center
team with EDGE, there are plenty of ways to improve your professionalism with the Career Center that do not require you to be a part of EDGE. Located at the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses, I have been to the Career Center many times for help. Primarily, I go to their offices for advising and review of my resume. As an assignment for EDGE, I was required to go in for resume advising, however, I have been back a few more times on my own accord. Additionally, there are other advising sessions available to students whether it’d be cover letters, conducting mock interviews, or simple career advising for any concerns with your major, career path, and interview preparation. Scheduling these sessions are simple, many times I have just simply walked in and got started right away. However, if walk-ins are not available, scheduling appointments are as easy as calling or walking into the office to schedule an appointment. If there are questions about the process or about any of the services available, look here
for further information.Job Board
Looking to the campus job board may sound obvious, but most people overlook all the fine details within job postings that can otherwise be used as strengths within the resume and cover letter. As burdensome as tailoring your resume and cover letter to each individual job posting seems, doing so will make you appear more qualified and dedicated to the job from the perspective of the employer. Within most given job postings, each will have a section dedicated to a summary, duties and responsibilities, requirements, and transferrable skills. It is essential to look over all these and find a common or repeated theme across them. By identifying what qualities and skills the employer is seeking and then taking out keywords from the job posting and incorporating them into your resume and cover letter, it will surely grab the recruiter’s eye. Personally, I will often take some words directly from the job posting and paste them into my cover letter and then display how I have that skill or trait through a prior job or experience. From these techniques, I have always been able to get to the interviewing step in the process of getting an on-campus job, however, I never executed the interviews as well as my resume and cover letter. That is why with taking advantage of all that I proposed the chances of getting the on-campus job you desire will substantially increase, there is no such thing as being too prepared.