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PRofessional New Year's Developments for 2021

By Holly Jenvey

With nine months into the pandemic, looking at a computer screen all day can be draining both physically and psychologically. Being removed from social scenes and having to interact with others virtually has definitely changed the way we communicate. However, there is a silver lining to this, especially with networking. As much of the world is isolated, the desire to connect is as strong as ever. Even as 2021 may change the outlook of the pandemic, here are some networking tips you can take with you, regardless of a virtual or in-person setting.

1. Be patient

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that good things can come if you wait. Don’t be discouraged if your dream job or internship was cancelled or didn’t select you for the position. All companies have had to change face somehow in the way they operate due to the pandemic. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t consider you in the future. As we are still navigating this way of life, so are companies. Showing your understanding and flexibility can go a long way.

2. Develop your portfolio

If there’s any time to develop your portfolio, it’s now! Instead of doom scrolling and seeing the atrocities of the world, building your profile is a positive step towards career development. By being organized now, you can easily see your capabilities and what jobs would suit your experience. It can also show what skills you might want to develop and then see what pathways you can utilize to do so.

3. Be creative

We are living in times that seem beyond the stretch of our imaginations. However, this circumstance can also grant us time to think outside the box. See what ideas you have about whatever you are passionate about and channel them into a project, blogpost or anything you would like to see come to reality.

4. Network, network, network

Yes, the infamous word that always arises. Networking can seem way more easier than before. As we don’t have to always be at a certain place at a certain time, we can connect with others from around the world who we might have not otherwise gotten to talk to with prior commitments. You never know where the conversation might lead!

5. Develop your skills

As in-person internships may not be running, there are many online courses and programs you can pursue to amp up your skills and build your resume. You can build your professionalism without having left the house. Employers will be impressed with your dedication to pursue these lessons outside of your current classes and work.

6. Listen

Don’t just network to get that additional connection on LinkedIn. Truly listen to the advice they have to give, even if it doesn’t align with your goals. As everything is up in the air right now, we must be flexible, and who knows what doors might open!

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7. Try something new

Getting yourself out of your comfort zone could change or solidify your perceptions on career goals. This can be anything from taking electives to finding new activities. By trying new things, you can look more into your identity and see what you enjoy and don’t.

8. Do your research

Look into companies and employers that align with your values. Even though you may not know where you’ll end up in the future or what kind of job you want to pursue, see what companies might spark an interest and try to make connections from there. Doing research is also a helpful factor in learning about what career you might want to pursue in the future. By seeing all the benefits, opportunities and pitfalls of your career of interest, this might bring more clarity along the way.

9. Be kind to yourself

Looking for jobs and internships, especially amid a pandemic, is stressful. Remember to check in with yourself and take breaks from stressful tasks during your day. Having a clearer mind can make this process easier and less tedious.

10. Join groups that tailor your interests

Be sure to join clubs and groups that can tailor your interests. Like DePaul PRSSA, being a part of these communities not only can help with professional development, but can also grant you connections that can last beyond college. It’s both an intellectually and emotionally stimulating process.

11. Zoom, zoom, zoom

With this virtual age, you can attend any events without the hassle of having to leave your house and getting to a destination on time. Now, you can attend events with a simple click of a button. Now’s your chance to connect with people who have the same passions and interests as you from all over the world.

12. Celebrate your accomplishments

No matter what has happened to you this year, celebrate all the milestones you’ve accomplished. Making it this far is just something to be grateful for. Even though now is a time for resolutions and what you can “fix” about yourself for next year, make sure to also write down what you’re excited for.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2021 for everyone. Let’s reach for the stars!


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