Career Planning Events Spring 2016

Everyone is welcome at these upcoming events. Email kwilcox@illinois.edu if you have questions.

April 4, 4:00 – 5:00pm, EB 259.  Grad School and You. Hear LAS alumni who are now pursuing a range of graduate degrees here at Illinois talk about the experience and give advice on choosing a program, applying, and succeeding.

April 5, 4:30 – 5:50pm, EB 108. Interviewing 101.  Kristine McCoskey will draw on her experience as a corporate recruiter to help you sell your skills, speak with confidence to employers, and handle challenging interview situations.

April 11, 4 – 5pm, EB 104. Business Careers for English/CW Majors. Andrew Allen, Director of Illinois Business Consulting, will discuss the hiring needs of the business world and the skills that humanities majors can bring to fields like consulting and management

April 12, 5 – 5:50, EB 119.  Project Management for English/CW Majors. Anne Odom, a project manager for DS Volition (video game development company in Champaign), will explain what project management is, why humanities majors are good at it, and how you can position yourself to do it for a living.

April 19, 5 – 5:50, EB 119.  Business Communication for English/CW Majors. Kate Ditewig-Morris, internship coordinator for the Dept. of Communications and previously a writer for Caterpillar, Inc., will discuss careers in writing for businesses.

April 26, 5 – 5:50, EB 119.  Customer Support for Humanities Majors. Pat East of Pixo (a custom software company in Urbana) will describe this growth field in the tech industry at which humanities majors excel.

What to Expect at a Career Fair (and Why You Should Go)

The Research Park Career Fair is still ahead of us (March 15), but much of the spring career fair season is winding down.  If you went to a career fair this year, well done!  Career fairs are a great way to meet potential employers, explore career paths, and practice your interviewing and networking skills.  If you didn’t go to one, definitely plan to take advantage of them next year!  While some fairs (e.g., the Engineering Career Fair, the Urban Planning Fair) are intended for students with specific technical skills, many fairs feature recruiters seeking students from a variety of programs. Fairs are also targeted towards particular fields of relevance to department of English majors.  The Design+ Job Fair, the Arts and Culture Fair in Chicago, the Educators Fair, and the Illini Career and Internship Fair are particularly oriented towards the interests and skills of people who study English and Creative Writing.

Two English majors who attended the recent Arts and Culture Career Fair in Chicago were willing to share their experiences.  Meghan McCoy (a sophomore) and Henry Yeary (a freshman, who also attended the Business Career Fair last month) independently offered the same two pieces of advice based on their experience:

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Publishing Prescriptions from The Book Doctors

At the end of February, prolific authors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry (The Book Doctors) visited the University of Illinois. The duo hosted a series of workshops—“Traditional, Independent, or Self-Publishing?”; “Making Editing Fun”; and “Perfecting Your Pitch”—followed by Pitchapalooza, an event they describe as the American Idol of PitchapaloozaInstagrambook pitches (minus Simon Cowell). Over the course of these four events, The Book Doctors imparted to attendees a wealth of valuable advice about writing and publishing any kind of book. Attending the events, I came away with both practical tips and a general sense of the complex processes by which a book idea evolves into a published text. Here are just a few of the takeaways from the events:

Getting a book published requires research and planning

The Book Doctors opened their first workshop with good news: anyone can get published! But they followed it immediately with bad news: anyone can get published. In such a competitive market, The Book Doctors stressed, having a great idea isn’t enough to turn

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Why English and Creative Writing Majors Should Be in DC this Fall

  1. The deadline for the fall illinois in dc capitolsemester Illinois in Washington program is April 1, and you don’t need to have your internship lined up in advance. In fact, many employers don’t even start advertising internships until May, so you’ll have plenty of time over the summer to find the right internship for you.
  2. Once you express interest in the program by emailing Prof. Susan Dimock, you dimockwill start getting announcements of internship openings. You’ll get even more once you officially apply.
  3. Prof. Dimock, who lives in DC and has been running this program for years, knows everything there is to know about getting a job in Washington.  She will help you craft a first-rate resume and cover letter to get the internship you want. (She’s also really nice and approachable!
  4. There are a LOT more opportunities in DC in the fall than there are in the summer.  Most are unpaid, but everyone has a better shot at the available paid internships simply because there is less competition.
  5. The cost is similar to spending a semester living in the dorms, particularly if you budget to account for the higher cost of living in DC.
  6. You don’t have to find your own housing and social life comes ready-made. You’ll share a studio apartment with a fellow student in a building housing student interns from all over the country.
  7. You’ll take 12 credits, 3 of which can be an online course of your choosing.
  8. Contrary to popular belief, government agencies and non-profits in DC aren’t looking for political science majors, econ majors, or hard-core politics junkies. They want people who can communicate well. They like the sound of “English major”–that sounds like a person who can write. They want that and don’t see enough of it. 
  9. International students can’t get internships in the federal government, and paid internships can be complicated, but they ARE eligible for jobs in congressional offices, think-tanks, not-for-profit organizations, and the embassies/consulates of their home countries.  Organizations that have an international focus are particularly open to hiring international students, regardless of home country.