.You don’t have to major in a quantitative or preprofessional field to be employable.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has now collected campus-wide data, for the second year in a row, on what students plan to do when they graduate. The numbers in this chart are from the full report on the Illini Success survey for 2015-16.
1. Our department’s “Director of Internships” does a lot of other things, too: putting students in touch with helpful alumni, reviewing resumes, suggesting possible career paths, helping students articulate their skills.
2. There are jobs for people with English and Creative Writing skills, and Kirstin Wilcox can help point you towards them.
3. It will make your parents happy.
4. It’s really not as painful or awkward as you think it’s going to be.
5. It’s easier than locating a job cannon and more likely to succeed.
Your time and your skills have value. Employers ask for free labor simply because they can get it, not because your labor is worthless. Agreeing to work for free devalues your skllls, creates a bad precedent for others with those same skills, encourages employers to exploit their workers, and makes professional advancement more difficult for people who don’t have the option of working for free.
Maybe (if your answer to any of these questions is yes)
Is an organization whose goals are so important to you that you would be willing to volunteer there under other circumstances?
Is your learning curve going to be so steep that the employer is likely to lose more than they gain by employing you? (Keep in mind that ANY new employee needs some time to learn the ropes, and that most businesses factor in those costs when they decide to hire someone.)
Is the hope of working for this particular organization so important to you that you would rather have an opportunity to prove your worth than be paid?
Is there no other way to get this particular kind of experience–a different job, volunteer work for an organization you care about, your extracurricular activities?
Does the position have some added value (prestige, filling a gap in your resume, networking opportunities) that you can get no other way?
If you DO have a good reason to work for free, then own it.
Articulate your reasons clearly to yourself, in terms that will make it possible for you to recognize when you have gotten what you want from the experience.
Be confident that this particular opportunity is the best use of your free labor at this moment.
Don’t limit yourself to the opportunity in front of you: if you’re going to work for free, it might as well be for an organization that matters to you or that will teach you particular skills you want.
Have an endpoint: set a goal or time limit after which you will stop or insist on payment.
In addition to the suggestions below, “like” the English Advising Facebook page and connect on Twitter so that you can stay abreast of relevant speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities. Also, read your email! The English Advising office sends out frequent updates about jobs and job-hunting events.
Also: if you have questions about ANY of this, email email@example.com to ask. Chances are, if you’re wondering, other people are, too–and you might inspire a helpful follow-up blog post.
Forget everything anyone has ever said to you about the unemployability of English majors. It’s just wrong. The world is full of problems that can only be solved with Continue reading →