Success Story | Asja Karic, Family Social Science

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Asja Karic, Family Social Science
Advocate | Lewis House Domestic Violence Shelter

How did you learn about your current position?
I learned about my current position through the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits website. I saw a position I was interested in and sent in my resume. I received a call a week later saying that the position was already filled and asking if I would be interested in interviewing for a part-time Advocate position that has not even been posted yet. I agreed, as I really wanted to be a part of this organization. A few weeks into my work as a part-time Advocate, my supervisor called me saying I have been doing an excellent job and offered me a full time position. I accepted!
Describe your current position.
I am currently an Advocate for Lewis House domestic violence shelter. I provide direct care, advocacy and crisis intervention to families experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault. A big part of my position is to ensure that the women and children at Lewis House receive all the resources and assistance they need in order to be self-sufficient and stay out of abusive relationships when they leave the shelter. I also provide crisis counseling in person and over the phone and facilitate a support group for women who have experienced domestic violence.
What do you most enjoy about your position? What are some of the challenges?
Every day when I drive home from work I feel accomplished and I know that I made even a small impact in ending the cycle of violence that so many women are stuck in. The most satisfying part of my work is interacting one-on-one with families and serving as a support for women who don’t have that elsewhere.
The most challenging part of my position is turning someone down for shelter. We have been packed over the limit almost every day since I have started. When we’re full, we have to refer people to other shelters and sometimes homeless shelters that don’t have the resources to support a woman experiencing domestic violence. It is certainly difficult to come to terms with the idea that I can’t help everyone.
During your job search, how did you make yourself stand out to employers?
I was told by a career adviser from CEHD Career Services that having a portfolio of my past work relevant to the position would be a great asset. I really believe that this set me apart from many applicants. Even if I didn’t get a position, interviewers were impressed and enjoyed looking through the portfolio during the interview. In the interview for my current position, the person interviewing me actually asked to have a copy of some of my work in the portfolio to show other staff!
What did you find to be the most helpful during your job search process?
I really took advantage of Career Services at the U of M. As soon as I graduated, I made an appointment and improved my resume with a lot of help. I also gathered all of the information on interview questions and practiced my answers many times.
I joined LinkedIn and that opened many doors and connections. Throughout my job search, it was extremely helpful that I had built good relationships with my volunteer and internship supervisors in order to get great letters of recommendation of my work.