By DeVry University
No matter where you are in your job search, sometimes finding the right opportunity requires the right amount of patience and persistence – and a little expertise. This can be particularly true if you are a student or job-seeker trying to juggle multiple commitments such as school, family, current jobs or other expectations.
Rachelle Laguerre, a 2018 graduate of DeVry University, completely understands this perspective. As a single mother of three, Rachelle partnered with a career advisor throughout her five years at DeVry for job search motivation and advice, along with support on her education journey. Having a career advisor to consult for support proved especially helpful in 2014, when Rachelle relocated to Orlando for new opportunities. Life brimmed with changes and challenges at the time: adapting to a slower pace of life compared to her previous home in Brooklyn, moving into her new home, finding a job in a new city and caring for her children. Not to mention attending weekly classes online and grappling with an unexpected life event that rattled her world.
"During my time at DeVry, I was in a very bad car accident." Rachelle said. But that didn’t stop her from successfully completing her degree. Rachelle credits her faith – along with her ability to take advantage of the right resources, like career advising – for her resilient progress despite turbulent times. By the time she graduated from DeVry, Rachelle had landed her first internship at City Hall in Lake Mary, Florida and now works as a Human Resources Support Specialist for LEGOLAND Florida Resort.
Here are just a few ways she leveraged her career advisor to succeed in her job search:
1. Résumé preparation.
"My advisor helped make my résumé noticeable," Rachelle said. While many people attempt to write their résumé on their own, there is an art to crafting that coveted, one-page summary that can leave a big impression on employers. Working with a career advisor who understands her industry and specializes in designing eye-catching résumés offered Rachelle insights she couldn’t find on Google. "They are professionals," she said. "They've been doing this for years, so once my advisor saw my résumé, she automatically knew what changes to make. It was second nature for her."
2. Mock Interviews.
"This was major for me because whenever I walk into an interview, my nerves are normally at 100%," Rachelle said. "My advisor would send me questions based on the job I was interviewing for then she'd ask me to review the questions before our conversations. This practice helped a lot." While mock interviews didn't completely eliminate Rachelle's nervousness, discussing questions with a trusted advisor before a formal job interview helped Rachelle bolster her confidence and feel more at ease communicating her unique skills and background to employers.
3. Accountability and Organization.
Whether she needed assistance finding job leads, revising her résumé or simply prioritizing homework assignments, Rachelle knew she could rely on her career advisor to actively listen to her challenges and help her devise practical solutions. "She was really on top of things—even outside the job search. She worked closely with me for four years," Rachelle said. "She made sure I stayed on my Ps and Qs when it came to school work and grades. She'd set deadlines and monthly goals for me. She even designed a calendar to plan out my applications, assignments and other tasks. Those little things really make a difference."
4. Flexible Advising.
As a busy working parent, most of the courses Rachelle attended were online. This required her career advisor to adapt an equally flexible schedule for her appointments with Rachelle, which they implemented with ease. Rachelle and her advisor met at varying times online—via phone or video chat—and in person. "She'd call me, email, and chat," she said. "We mostly talked online but we did meet on campus during different times and it was nice knowing I had that extra support if I needed it."
5. Ongoing Support.
Even with the best résumé, cover letter and interview preparation, not every job applicant will follow the same predictable path to success. Sometimes, the most effective help a career advisor can offer arrives in the form of genuine conversation. "There were so many times I called my advisor and would say, ‘I’m done. I’m not going to school anymore,’" Rachelle said. In these moments, she'd playfully respond, "'Ok, wait a minute. I’m going to hang up, call back and let's try this again: What's going on? What can I help with?' Other times, her advisor simply reminded Rachelle to stay encouraged. "When I didn’t hear back from certain jobs, I’d sometimes ask her what I could do better," Rachelle said. "She'd let me know if I needed to improve but other times, she'd just say: 'No, you did great. You have the skills and a good personality. Sometimes it's just not the right fit.'"
While Rachelle navigated much of her job search independently, she agrees that receiving support from DeVry University's Career Services Team made certain aspects of finding a job more manageable, allowing her to take ownership of her career goals while leveraging support and guidance from a seasoned professional. If you're considering a career advisor, Rachelle's advice is simple: "Develop a relationship with your advisor over time," she said. "Whenever I worked with my advisor, it was clear that I still was responsible for my dream. She was just there to help. She'd say, 'You do your part and I do mine.' That’s how you both want to approach it—like a partnership. My advisor could see that I was capable of succeeding on my own. I just needed that extra push, which is exactly what she gave."