Keeping Your Career in Permanent Beta

We most likely think the ‘beta test phase’ may aptly apply to a new apple product, but Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha in “The Startup of You” coined the term ‘permanent beta’ in relation to career development. How does that apply to one’s career we may think, but what Reid and Ben are trying to acknowledge is that everyone has bugs, and there’s always opportunity for new development within yourself.  Just like modern technology, we must also adapt and evolve.  Permanent beta is a lifelong commitment to continuous personal and professional growth.  Sounds easy, right?

Maybe not as simple as they describe it.  Change is hard and uncomfortable sometimes, so how do we apply this mindset of permanent beta to our careers?

  • Be flexible.

In case you haven’t noticed, the world is constantly evolving and changing and with that, so are you.  To succeed professionally in today’s world, you need to be ready to shift course based on the changing demands of the job market or economic landscape.  “You need to draw up plans, but be nimble enough to stray from those plans when appropriate” says Reid and Ben.  Make a plan to develop skills and experiences that are broadly useful to other jobs, because you never know when they may of use to you in the future.

  • Connect.

Network, network, network!  I’m already losing your attention, right?  Networking can many times be thought of as a dirty word that immediately makes us cringe, but I want you to replace the word networking with building strategic connections.  According to US News, 70% of people land jobs through strategic connections (remember, we swapped out networking), so how do we go about finding these strategic connections?  That’s easy: tap into your alumni associations (ASK), LinkedIn, DePaul events, professional associations, professors, classmates, friends, and the list goes on.  Still not sure?  Contact the CMC, they know people.

  • Do.

Reid and Ben admit: “Any entrepreneur will tell you that practical knowledge is best developed by doing, not just thinking or planning”.   Get out there and do.  As an MBA student or alumni you have a plethora of resources at your disposal – reach out to a current or past professor to get involved with a project that interests you and challenges your current knowledge and skill set, volunteer for a nonprofit organization that could use some help with their finances/brand marketing/etc., or talk to your boss about taking on a new assignment that may challenge your status quo.  Don’t focus all of your time and energy contemplating what’s next, make it happen now.

When we put it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad.  Continue to challenge yourself and seek professional growth in any of the means I described above, and don’t forget to seek help when you need it (that’s what the CMC is for).  Just always try to keep this in mind, “Winning careers, like winning start-ups, are in permanent beta: always a work in progress”.

Source: “Permanent beta: Why your career is a work in progress” by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, Special to CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/09/opinion/career-permanent-beta-hoffman-casnocha/

Hello, how are you?

Writing a generic LinkedIn invitation is the equivalent of replying “K” to a text message. It has become common practice for people to want to grow their LinkedIn connections when seeking a new opportunity but it doesn’t do you any favors by sending generic or default invite messages.

This article highlights the different angles you can use to customize your message for people you might have never met to those who are already in your personal network.

Employer feedback has been persistent that they won’t accept “generic” invitations and prefer a more targeted approach signaling that you have put some effort in reaching out to them. LinkedIn serves another tool to reach out to someone if you haven’t received a response from an email or phone call. It’s another avenue to make the connection and to showcase your interest in connecting.

If you have more questions on tailoring your message please contact the cmc@depaul.edu and set up an appointment with a career specialist.

Career Management Tips for the Holiday Season

holiday

Whether you are a DePaul alumnus or your classes just ended for the quarter, career development is an ongoing process. Here are some helpful tips for you to stay in tune with your career goals over the holiday season:

  • Create a Networking Action Plan – Research contacts of interest in your target markets and utilize DePaul’s resources to grow your network.
  • Personal Branding – Update your LinkedIn, Twitter, or other professional networking sites.
  • Share Your Network with Others – This is the time for giving, so align your friends and family with existing connections that may be helpful to their own network. For Kellstadt Alumni, become a mentor and share your expertise by joining DePaul’s Alumni Sharing Knowledge Mentor Program (ASK).
  • Catch up on Twitter Chats that occurred throughout the Fall quarter (Search #KGSBcareerchat)

As I’m sure the holiday season will keep everyone plenty busy, here is a sneak peek of what to look forward to from the CMC in 2016:

  • Career Education Workshops
  • Meet and Greets with companies representing a multitude of industries and Kellstadt exclusive Career Fairs
  • International Student Focused: Career Strategy walk-in hours, International Student Forum and weekly career newsletter

This is just a glimpse into the many opportunities CMC will be offering, so make sure to continue to regularly check the calendar of events on Handshake (https://depaul.joinhandshake.com) and follow us on twitter (@DePaulMBACareer) so you don’t miss out!

Jellyvision

“Jellyvision talks people through big life decisions, like selecting a health insurance plan, saving for retirement, managing finances, and navigating a career. Our recipe: behavioral science, cutting-edge tech, great writing, purposeful humor, original animation, and oregano.” That’s the pitch Jellyvision makes to customers who are interested in hiring them as clients. As students, how can you contribute to their mission?

First step: Cover Letter. Cover Letter. Cover Letter. I can not stress enough the importance of having a solid cover letter in your application. Head recruiter, Brian Glickman, shared with me that this was the first piece of information they review in an application before even glancing at the resume. They want you to show your passion and share why you want to work there and how you can contribute to their team.

Next step: Audition. They are looking for people who will be great cultural fits in their roles and demonstrate the skills that are needed to successfully do the job. You’ll be evaluated on this audition and then different team members all decide if you move forward in the process and get hired. This is time for you to shine!

The company’s strongest product, Alex is growing FAST and they’re always looking to expand their teams as more clients start to use Alex in their companies for financial guidance. They have internships and apprenticeships that run from May/June – November with the potential for full-time hiring. Full-time needs are diverse and include analyst positions along with consumer insights role. Opportunities can be found on the Jellyvision website. Last note, they will be at the Kellstadt Career fair on Thursday, October 22nd.

Jellyvision Front Desk

Common Cover Letter Mistakes

Fall is well underway, which means its recruiting season for the KGSB! In order to be prepared to apply for your dream job (and get an offer), it’s important to have a well written cover letter to support your application. To review, a cover letter can add value to your application by allowing one to connect the dots from previous experiences to the skills needed in the position.  To do so successfully, let’s review three common mistakes made by students when writing a cover letter:

  • Opening paragraph common mistake: Not addressing why you’re interested in the position. Too often do I review cover letters that neglect to explain why the student is interested in this position with said company. Think of it this way, if you’re an accounting student, you could apply for accounting positions at a Big Four firm, a small local business, a school, you name it. However, what is it that makes you want to be an accountant for this specific company/institution? By researching the employer and listing what it is that really drew you to this opportunity, you will sound more genuinely interested and appear more attractive. Remember, it’s about the employer. They want to know why you want to work for them, so give them your answer!
  • Middle paragraph common mistake: Re-writing your resume. In my opinion, this is one of the easiest mistakes to make when writing a cover letter for the first time. With that being said, it is also the worst ones to make! Don’t get me wrong, it is important to narrate your past accomplishments and transferrable skills. Employers will want to know what skills you bring to the table to better understand the value you could add to their team. However, this ‘value’ piece is usually what is missed. After explaining the skills you have, be sure to connect it back to the position.  Make is easy for employers to see that you have the skills they’re looking for!
  • Closing paragraph common mistake: Making the focus about you instead of the company. This can be a tough pill to swallow, but employers are looking for people that will make them better- not candidates that will become better professionals by working for them. For example, by using phrases such as, ‘this position will allow me to build my skill set’, or ‘this company would help me grow as a professional’, the focus is then on your own personal growth. These types of phrases can be re-worded to showcase the impact that you would bring to the company instead, which will make your cover letter much more powerful. Try and put yourself in the place of the employer. If you were hiring a candidate, which type of phrase would sound more appealing to you as the reader?

For more information on writing and constructing a cover letter, please check out the Kellstadt MBA/MS Career Strategy Guide on Handshake.

This blog post was written my Kathleen McDonald, graduate intern in the CMC who provides support to our International students.

Stand Out From the Crowd – Prepare for Career Fairs

Over this next month, there will be 180 employers recruiting DePaul talent across 5 days of career fairs (check handshake for dates/times and registered employers of fairs: https://depaul.joinhandshake.com).

As a career specialist, I often get asked “how do I differentiate myself from other students?”  There is no “simple” answer to this question.  Everyone is unique and offer different skillsets and talents.  However, I do recommend preparation PRIOR to attending the career fair.  You want to develop a strong elevator pitch and research companies/positions before you even set foot in the fair.  By researching the companies, you can develop great questions for the recruiters that will demonstrate your knowledge and passion to be part of their organization.  To expand on elevator pitch and research support provided from the Kellstadt CMC, please visit the MBA/MS Career Strategy Guide available on Handshake in the Resource Library.  One final recommendation, follow up with those that you meet at the fair.  Create a personalized email and send it to your fair contacts no later than 48 hours from the meeting.

The attached handout gives some quick tips on what to do before, during and after the career fair.  Good luck!

Tips for Working a Career Fair.2015

2016 City of Chicago Mayor’s Office Fellowship Program

The Mayor’s Office Fellowship Program is a wonderful opportunity for graduate students in any concentration who will be enrolled during the summer and are interested in local government and public policy. Fellows have the opportunity to learn about municipal government and participate in a unique, hands-on experience in the development of new policy and program initiatives. Participants research policies and evaluate their potential benefit to Chicago, draft memoranda for Mayor’s Office senior staff on upcoming issues and new initiatives, and participate in a variety of talks and tours that provide insight into how City government operates. More information is provided in the attached brochure and the posting is available on Handshake. It is a two step application process and deadline to apply is November, 4th.

2016 Brochure e-version Mayor’s Office