Breath of Clarity

Notes from Career Center videos

Career Center Videos

Scheduling your calendar early in the quarter is the best way to navigate time management. One thing I would definitely recommend is writing down all assignment due dates in a calendar as soon as you get access to the syllabus, and revisiting that calendar often.

This is why it will be important to stay active in the discussion boards, and connect with your instructors via Canvas inbox early and often! Take advantage of scheduling a time to speak with your instructors and harness those relationships (most of the time, office hours are available upon request) – connections with faculty as well as peers will be very beneficial as you endeavor on a new career path!

Have a strategy. How am I thinking about the way I am spending my time? Schedule in bricks of time. Wellness practices in place to be in a good place when starting the job. Frame it as a gap year, a step towards a job you want. Thinking that I should be taking care of myself a certain way can be destructive. Different types of self-care. What do I have access to during COVID? Empowering sense of hope. Walking around the park/neighborhoods I have never been to before. Getting enough sleep. Not in a rigid way- a way that feels supportive. Be intentional about moving around. Self care can evolve. Maybe something that used to work does not anymore and is shifting. Drink water. How do you create your environment? What do I first see when I wake up in the morning? Statements that help me feel focused. Rearrange furniture I already have. It’s about identity in the workplace. It is not necessarily financial. Do not focus on rejection itself- focus on the feedback from the experience. Talk to a peer about the process in a way that supports one another instead of increasing anxiety. Reach out within a week after turning in the application so there’s more investment in responding.

Career Advisors: create career programs and help with processing decisions as well as LinkedIn and interview practice (Megan Pritchett), Employer Connections: connect with employers to generate opportunities, Alumni Engagement: maintain alumni networks and create events (, Operations: data outcomes in terms of learning where people from my program work, has a DU jobs and internship database and tools, profile includes desired city

What would your ideal job opportunity be post-graduation? Find 3-5 current job postings. What skills and experience are they looking for? How can you fill your skill gaps intentionally? Example- class research projects, online classes. Think about creative ways to fill the gap. Connect with professionals in the field to ask specific questions. Keep tracking courses, syllabi, skills, experiences, accomplishments, quantify.

Build your network now. Faculty- build relationships. Send thank you emails. Join a professional association: learn about a new industry and meet other professionals, focus on learning about the field and networking, subscribe to newsletters and get involved in workshops as well as potentially volunteering. Job boards.

Say yes to new experiences. Ask for new experiences. Ask to shadow people. Don’t wait until you are qualified.

Keep your resume updated. —> ways to connect —> regional offices —> director of regional engagement. Can assist with reaching out to someone who I reached out to and did not get a response from. Reaching out to alumni is just connecting to them and asking for general advice rather than only asking for a transactional dynamic regarding job openings. Use pioneer connect through University of Denver’s website. Pioneer careers is the primary job board. Pioneer Connect is more word of mouth.

Translate your classes into experience to have years of experience in a field. Also include volunteer experience. If you have 70% of the requirements a job is asking for, you should still apply for it. Have an idea of what the job market is looking for. How can I make myself unique and have a niche skillset?

Build momentum by harnessing what is in my control. How can I change my strategy to be more effective? I know I am qualified but something in my strategy is not working. What is the best possible outcome? What small action can I take today? Am I willing to persevere if this takes a while? What’s next to explore and learn about? Action creates momentum.

What is my personal brand and reputation? A way of expressing oneself in emails etc. Be professional.

How well do I know this industry? What are expectations for resumes and applications? What is the language?

Get involved in professional associations: Committees, write articles, sign up for email newsletters, contact other members, conferences or webinars. People who join professional associations are there to learn and connect. So, chances of making connections significantly increase. Where do people in the professional field I want to get into gather? Volunteering is also a way to gain experience. Create your own experiences. Do not wait for people to post or give you an assignment. At least 50% of job search energy is talking to people I know and building connection points instead of all my time on job boards. A successful outreach includes researching the person, industry, their history etc. Then the request of them needs to be small, easy to answer and specific. For example- I am interested in this or that, which would you recommend? For example- What is the most common technology that you use in your projects to manage your day to day projects? Or, ask them for twenty minutes to talk about their company, the culture and how people get there. Network before you need a job! Connect people in your network together. Maintain the network of people you know. Ask people if they could introduce you to their network. May need to have a stepping stone type of progress from past experience roles to the new role I want. Do you have suggestions of ways I can gain experience in X, Y and Z? Instead of making a big jump, you just have to get closer in proximity to where you want to be. 2-page resume. Use keywords in resumes and cover letters.

I am editing my resume and starting to network as I prepare to graduate in August 2021. Can you send me back feedback on my resume? I attached it to this email.

Also, I will be moving from California to Asheville, North Carolina next month and will be looking for opportunities to get my foot in the door as I complete the MSc degree. Can you connect me with the University of Denver career services expert for the region Ashveille, North Carolina falls into? I am looking for job boards, alumni connections, and recommended organizations in the environmental sector specific to that region.

Have an excel spreadsheet or some system for organizing the job search. Example- application deadlines and follow up dates. Save a copy of the job description.

Have a clear understanding of purpose, working conditions, knowledge, geography, salary and benefits, transferrable skills, people, timeline. Do I want to be outside or in an office or what?

What is the level and function? Search by skill instead of job title if you are getting stuck.

Try Glassdoor and LinkedIn for job boards. Set a time limit for the time limit strategy.

Put search terms in quotations to lock the words together.

Snag a Job.

Google Maps is a strategy to learn about organizations in my area. Related to my interests, right around me.

Avoid the “I am open to anything” approach. Be focused so there are parameters. Say “I am still aiming to meet other people in the field, is there someone you can link me to?”

Add key words to LinkedIn profile.

Research the mentor’s specific career path. What similarities do you have? Write a concise message based on that.

Edit bullet points of resume to fit the job description. Be specific in cover letters. Do not be vague. Customize! Demonstrate knowledge of company vision and initiative.

Put a professional summary (optional) as a strong presentation of skills and experience on resume. Include expected graduation date. Have quantifiable details sprinkled throughout the resume. Include impact and results, not just duties. Remove vague adjectives/qualities. Have a skills section focused on technical skills instead of time management etc. Additional categories may include: research, academic projects, volunteering, certifications, professional associations etc.

Bullet points= actions verbs + details/skills + results/impacts


Expect the unexpected- length of time (is it over two days, four hours or thirty minutes?), number of interviewers (individual or panel?), tone of interview (formal or casual), time of day (is everyone in siesta or is it in the morning?), facial expressions (don’t be sensitive to it, hiring managers have to be very objective so even if they enjoy me they cannot show that bias or break character, make a positive assumption)

Dealing with anxiety- assume they want me to succeed, they are not trying to poke holes or find out what I don’t know, they want their search to be over and to succeed, focus on breathing, do not overestimate my mistakes because it is about how I deal with it, have notes ready, make sure my technology is working beforehand, have good posture, look at the camera instead of at the screen, good lighting

Know the company- mission/values, goals/priorities, culture, history, internal language, geography, awards/honors, research, leadership, challenges. Write down these things about the company ahead of time and study them. Then, before the interview just do breathing. Know how my position fits into the broader context. Read the job description closely, everything in there was included for a reason. What are the skill themes? How can the bullet points be sorted into different categories? Prepare examples to use in the interview based on the themes. Who are other key stakeholders? Talk with others who can help me prepare. Prepare examples of things mentioned in resume. Prepare small talk just as the way I prepare questions. Practice, mock interview!!

“Tell me about yourself”- it’s a way to set the tone and make a good first impression. Think strategically about it. Who you are professionally, Why you’re qualified, Why you’re here. Tie in interest for the position/company. Your company is part of my trajectory. You are on a great trajectory as a company and so am I. So, let’s join forces. Do not make it chronological. Sample- I am an experience HR executive who has managed all aspects of HR function from recruiting to benefits. Last November, I completed my Master’s degree in Strategic Human Resources from University of Denver and it deepened my knowledge of HR strategy. I spent the last six years developing my skills as a customer service manager for Megacompany where I won several awards and I’ve been promoted twice. I love managing teams and solving customer problems. Although I love my current role, I am not ready for a more challenging assignment and this position really excites me.

For questions saying “tell me about a time” or “described a situation when”- Describe the situation or task (10%). Action to handle/resolve the situation/problem with steps you took (60%). Explain results (30%). Prepare 7 stories. Prepare them based on the skill themes. Example- I had a team project at my last internship that required a proposal for a new event for parents. I started by suggesting that we figure out everyone’s interests and skills, and from there determine how we should move ahead with the proposal. For example, I took on contacting other centers to see what they had done. Someone else contacted parents for suggestions. Another team member estimated costs. Then, we all shared our ideas and put the most practical ones into the proposal along with our recommendations. This was an effective team project because we were all contributing and focused on completing the proposal. Our supervisor was impressed and agreed to fund one of our suggestions. Tell the story well instead of trying to remember the details.

When there are touch questions, prepare for how I am going to respond in the situation. First, buy myself time. Say, that’s a great question. Let me take a brief moment to gather my thoughts. Be honest about what you do not know. Share your thought process because it can be just as powerful as the correct answer. Have a wrap up statement that shows you’re moving it along.

Ideas for interview questions: organizations/team culture, industry trends, professional development/training, next steps. Make them specific and ones you cannot google. Prepare 5 questions. Say thank you and say it would be an honor to work with the team. Email a thank you note within 24 hours.

For dressing attire, go one degree up from whatever the company culture is.

Notes- short list of key words of skills I want to hit and stories I want to tell. And specific names of people/offices/organizations.

Learn about company and the company’s typical interview questions on Glassdoor.

When employer says let’s stay in touch after the interview then send them an email 1-2 months later and keep eye out on website because then if they’re still interviewing for other positions then you can say hey I’m checking in. I’m still interested in the company and wondering where you’re at in the process. Then, they may say other departments are now hiring.

How to reflect career gap: if the career gap is shorter side, you may not need to mention it. What sort of concern would possibly come up? How do I proactively address that? A simple explanation. You might have seen on my resume for this period I was doing this. Still, don’t draw a lot of attention to it.

How do I handle questions about being over-qualified for a job? Think about how you present yourself and your experience. Translate how past experience makes you a unique and strong candidate. Make sense to them why you’re taking this job. Be clear why this makes sense in your career trajectory.

Never talk badly about the prior employer.

Be honest in conflict management questions. For example, initially I got a little defensive and then I got self aware and here’s how I proceeded. Show how you have learned and grown. It’s not about telling them what they want to hear. Acknowledge where you’ve been weak and how you’ve moved through it.

Do not negotiate salary until after you have received the offer. Also, have a range of 5000 less than what you’re looking for and 10-15000 dollar more than what you’re looking for has blog posts and videos on resumes.

There is no reason to show that you’re paying attention by repeating content back to the speaker if you’re actually paying attention.