Career Fairs: Getting Prepared over Winter Break

The career fair season will be getting underway just a few weeks after you get back to campus. Here’s the lineup for Spring 2017:

Here are some things to to do NOW to get ready.

  1. Figure out which fairs you will attend and why. There are lots of reasons, beyond getting a summer internship or post graduation job: to learn more about jobs and employers that might interest you, to practice your interviewing/networking skills, to get to know employers that you’d like to work with after you graduate.
  2. Start researching (where possible) the employers that you would like to talk to. I-Link is already listing the employers who will be attending the Business Career Fair.
  3. Fill any gaps in your wardrobe. Contrary to what you may have heard, suits are NOT a requirement. A suit may help you make a good impression at the Business Career Fair, but it will just show you to be out of place at the Arts and Culture Fair or the Startup Fair. Some good business casual pieces (slacks, skirts, collared shirts, professional-looking tops, jacket, dress shoes) will help you look professionally appropriate in a range of contexts.
  4. Update your resume (or create one if you haven’t yet). 
  5. Think about how you will introduce yourself to potential employers. You don’t need to memorize an elevator pitch, but you should be prepared to start a conversation in which you can point out your relevant skills and experience.

 

When to Start Looking for Summer Internships, Revisited

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#WOCintech chat

It’s a question we get a lot here in English Advising:

when should one start looking for summer internships?  

We answered it in October, but as summmer 2017 draws closer, it’s time to answer it again.

The answer? Yes.

Which is to say, it’s never too soon to start

  •  thinking about what kind of a summer internship you want;
  • considering your options: can you manage on an unpaid internship or do you need a summer income? Do you need to live at home or can you relocate for the summer?
  •  researching the existing internship opportunities with companies you know you want to work with;
  • following various job boards and seeing what opportunities come up; and
  • preparing your resume(s).

English, unlike some other majors, has no set time-frame for finding internships. How could it? Narrower, more career-focused majors channel students towards a handful of corporations that aggressively recruit students for specific entry-level positions. In these fields, internships have evolved as a cost-effective way for companies to identify potential long-term hires.

Some English and creative-writing majors choose to compete for those kinds of internship programs. A degree in English doesn’t limit you, however, to large-scale corporate recruiting opportunities. You have choices that are not always available to students in other majors, about how and where you want to apply your skills. Nonprofits? Small start-ups? Large foundations? An in-house communications department? A marketing/PR consultancy? A small or midsize business? Do you want to solve the world’s problems? Make a lot of money? Do a job when you’re always learning? Work one-on-one helping people?

The internships you seek will vary, depending on your goals, and so will their deadlines.

If you want a summer internship and you haven’t started looking, NOW would be a good time to start.

  • Start checking I-Link regularly to see what employers are already looking for summer interns.
  • If you are willing to relocate for the summer, look at the websites of your dream employers to see if they offer internships. MANY do! Internships at media and entertainment companies that you’ve heard of tend to be highly competitive, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t make the attempt.
  • Check Bookjobs.com for internships in the publishing industry.
  • Check Idealist.org for summer internships at nonprofits.
  • Prepare to attend the winter and spring campus career fairs. Research the companies who will be there and go with a plan to talk to the specific employers that interest you.
  • Is there an organization you’d like to work for that doesn’t have an internship program? Some places may be open to working with you to create an opportunity.
  • Keep in mind that some local opportunities (e.g., the UIntern program) may not be advertised until the spring semester is underway.

Internships are not the only path to professional experience. They can be a great way to explore your options and start networking, but other summer activities may better equip you for your particular goals: a part-time or summer job that builds your skills, volunteer work with an organization that interests you, intensive involvement in your RSO, or time devoted to a project of your own.

 

 

 

Where Do English/CW Majors Find Jobs?

job-search-276893_1920Here are links to some of the specialized job boards where English and Creative Writing majors can find openings particularly well suited to their skills. There’s not an industry in the world that doesn’t need people who can communicate effectively and solve problems with words, so English and CW majors are NOT limited to this list of resources, but these are good starting places for a targeted job search.

  • The I-Link widget over there on the right-hand side of this site’s home page: a continuously updated list of recent additions to I-Link of interest to English department majors.
  • I-Link itself: this University of Illinois resource connects students and recent alumni to employers who are looking to hire Illini.  The interface can be frustrating, but the “Advanced Search” option will help you zero in on the openings of interest to you.)
  • Chicago Artists Resource (shows job openings at arts and cultural organizations in the Chicago area)
  • Idealist.org (specializes in openings at nonprofit organizations of all kinds)
  • USAjobs.gov (database of all federal government jobs, including internships in DC, at national parks, in the Smithsonian museum system, etc.)
  • Bookjobs.com (particularly helpful for internships in publishing)
  • The National Association of Independent Schools posts openings in private schools.
  • Higheredjobs.com/admin offers openings (many of them entry-level) in higher education administration.
  • Tech customer support is a well-paid growth industry in which English/CW majors can thrive.

Big all-purpose sites:

Drive Off the Spleen and Regulate the Circulation!

rain-122691_1920That interval just before finals: it’s a period that brings the opening lines of Moby Dick to life.

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

The sea is a long way away, and whaling vessels are in short supply, but Reading Day does offer the opportunity to break out of your accustomed study ruts (or procrastination ruts) and try a change of scenery to get the intellectual and creative juices flowing. Here are some Reading Day opportunities around campus this Thursday:

  • ESC will be holding its annual finals study lock-in this Thursday (12/8) at 8 pm in the English Building Atrium. Refreshments will be provided. You do not need to stay overnight and can come and go as you please. You are more than welcome to bring friends who are not English/CW majors/minors. What better way to study than with ESC?
  • Spending too much time in the English Building already? No one likes having to study all night, but if you must, why not study at the Y with the YMCA Student Board? Join your favorite people in your favorite building for snacks, crafts, and a weirdly diverse array of stress balls. We’re keeping the building open until midnight so stop whether it is for a few minutes or many hours. See the FB event page for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1037075993088517/
  • Are you looking for a new, super awesome place to study for your finals? This Reading Day, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts has got your back.
    Look forward to raffle prizes, coloring, grilled cheese and coffee at the Intermezzo Cafe, and 20% off from the Promenade gift shop for Campus Appreciation Days!
    There will also be plenty of seating with charging stations, an on-site Residence Hall Libraries’ bookmobile, and of course KCPA’s regular, everyday amenities.
    Also feel free to stop by the KCPA Ambassadors table for information on how YOU can get involved with Krannert Center for the Performing Arts!
    https://krannertcenter.com/events/reading-day-kcpa
  • Whatever your study plan is, feel free to stop by EB 200 (Undergraduate Advising) for some Reading Day treats.

Are there any Reading day we’ve missed? Feel free to mention the in the comments.