2017 Winter/Spring Career Fairs

The fall and winter breaks are a good time to start thinking about the winter and spring career fairs.

  • Start getting your resume ready. Yes, you will need one–come talk to Kirstin Wilcox, kwilcox@illinois.edu, if you’d like help.
  • Learn more about how to find success at a career fair by reading our English//CW Majors’ Guide to Career Fairs.
  • Sign up for ENGL 199-MMM: Career and Internship Fair Preparation (online, first eight weeks of spring semester).

Here’s the Winter/Spring Lineup

Business Career Fair, Feb. 1 and 2, 2pm to 6pm at the ARC. It’s not just for College of Business students! At the fall fair, nearly a third of the employers were recruiting majors from the LAS. It’s huge, so that means a lot of employers. The key to success is using I-Link to identify the recruiters that interest you. Go on I-Link and click “Events” in the lefthand tab. It will be in “Career Fairs.” Click on the number of employers to bring up a search screen. Use the pull-down menu under “Advanced Search” to isolate the employers seeking “all majors.” A few that caught my eye were Cambridge Publishing, Huron Consulting, Signature Consulting, Teach for America, and Wells Fargo.  They provide links to give you information about the positions they’re specifically recruiting for at the career fair, as well as other openings in the company. Note that the fair runs for two days and companies only attend for one of those, so make note of when the companies you want to talk to will be there.

Illini Career and Internship Fair, Apr. 5, noon to 4pm at the ARC. This career fair .has a number of employers coming who are specifically interested in liberal arts majors with strong communications skills. You can find information about the employers who are coming on I-Link (find “Career Fairs” under “Events” in the left-hand tab). You should review all the entries and click through to find out specifically the positions they seek to fill, but some companies of particular interest to English and Creative Writing majors are Cintas, City Year, Epic, Hartford, Jellyvision, Mindshare, and the Peace Corps.

At both fairs, the kinds of positions that English and CW majors should look out for:

  • Education. Nonprofit organizations like City Year, Teach for America, the Peace Corps, College Possible, and various school districts often come and are looking to fulfill a variety of roles–not just teaching, but also program administration and support.
  • Recruiting. These jobs involve helping companies seek out, interview, and hire talented workers–it’s a great first step to a career in HR. Requires excellent people skills and sometimes requires a lot of travel.
  • Management training programs (sometimes called rotational programs or leadership programs). These positions are often 1- to 2-year gigs that involve getting experience in all parts of a company’s operations, prior to getting placed in a permanent position. It’s a good opportunity for people who have a lot of skills and potential–including leadership experience–but aren’t really sure what they want to do with it.
  • Marketing and communications These positions vary widely, so it’s good to read job description carefully! Some positions are market research positions (which require fairly intensive technical/quantitative skills for data analysis) but some are not. Event planning, PR, content development and strategy, are all jobs that can come under this heading.
  • Claims analyst, client management, customer support.  Many industries, from insurance companies to software developers, need good communicators who can be the face of the company, the first point of contact when clients draw on their services or customers need help. These jobs take many different forms and involve a wide range of skills, but they generally require people who are comfortable with ambiguity and can negotiate conflicts.
  • Sales. Every business needs more customers. Even if a career in sales isn’t your dream, these positions are often a point of entry into a business or an industry that interests you.

Stay tuned for news of two additional specialized career fairs of interest to English and CW majors: The Arts and Culture Career Fair in Chicago and the Educators Career Fair.

 

Guest Post: Surviving the FOCUS Job Fair

By Ana V. Fleming, Communications Intern, Department of English

IMG_3446(1)Career fairs. Consistently throughout my three, going on four, years here at the University of Illinois, that phrase has terrified me–along with all the things that go with it: pressure, elevator pitches, resumes, business casual. However, after attending a number of career fairs on campus —and similar events, like corporate after-hours and part-time job fairs—I’ve grown less averse to the idea.

For instance, I recently attended the FOCUS part-time job and internship fair at the Illini Union as a senior in English. (I also attended the Department of Computer Science’s Corporate After Hours a couple of weeks ago, seeking out UI/UX design positions—I was even more of a fish out of water there!) At FOCUS, many of the students around me were from the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and many of the opportunities offered at the event were centered on graphic design (though, not all of them—there were opportunities for marketing, communications, videography, social media, and even content-development positions, among others that I probably missed). Personally, I was there seeking both writing positions and design positions; thus, I grew worried that the abundance of FAA students around me would overwhelm my chances of wrangling some of those design opportunities.

However, the fair wasn’t overly crowded, and the stakes were pretty low, so I decided to talk to as many of the represented companies and colleges (for instance, the College of ACES was there) as possible. As it turns out, most of the representatives were happy to speak with me, and each one that I spoke to took my resume for reference, regardless of whether or not they had any current openings that matched my skill set. At each booth, I asked about the kinds of jobs and internships the different companies had available, the expectations in terms of hours and pay, and their goals for the semester (or upcoming semesters). In return, they asked me about my familiarity with the company, my knowledge of certain software, and whether or not I was interested in the projects they were recruiting for.

While the fair represented around twenty companies, and I only had the time to talk to about eight of them, I could already perceive a wealth of opportunities. Everyone had been perfectly happy to talk to me, and no one made any assumptions about my competence in regards to writing or design—rather, they gave me the chance to discuss my experience and describe my capabilities. The event was pretty casual, and I walked out of the Illini Union Ballroom with the knowledge that, at the very least, I was exposed to some new opportunities, I had links to some applications in hand, and, through mere exposure and repetition, I was slightly less intimidated by career fairs and interview-style interactions than I had been walking in there (even IMG_3448(1)as a senior).

Enormous fairs like the Engineering Career Fair and Business Career Fair can be a lot to tackle at the beginning of the semester, but they are by no means the only opportunities to connect with companies. If you’re ever wondering whether or not you should attend a career fair, I’d suggest going for it, especially when smaller, more focused events like the aptly-named FOCUS are within your reach.

 

FOCUS Part-Time Job Fair, Sept. 21, 6 – 7:30pm

13517497_1042158995820602_4150202462305579136_oIf you’re looking for part-time work on or around campus that will help you to build your professional skills, this is your job fair.

It’s a good idea to register first on I-Link, but you can attend even if you don’t register. To register, log into I-Link, click the “events” tab on the left-hand side of the page, then scroll down to “FOCUS: The Job Fair for Career-Focused Paid Campus Work.”  Click on that link and then on the box marked “RSVP.”

How to Prepare

You’ll need a resume. If you’ve never written one before, the Career Center has lots of helpful advice. Walk-in resume review is available tomorrow, Sept. 20, between 4 and 5 in 2040 Lincoln Hall.

You should plan to dress professionally. Don’t stress if you don’t have a suit–just wear nice slacks or a skirt with an appropriate shirt, blouse, or sweater, preferably with shoes that aren’t athletic shoes or flip-flops. Avoid tank tops, jeans, shorts, sweats, and anything with a logo.

Whom Will You Talk To?

On I-Link you can find information about the employers who will be coming to the FOCUS part-time job fair and the jobs they are seeking to fill. Of particular interest to English and CW majors are Gaggle (they are VERY keen to meet English majors), Human Kinetics (a local publishing house), the University of Illinois Foundation, and FAA Advancement. But check the list for yourself.

What Do You Do at a Job Fair?

You introduce yourself to employers, ask an intelligent question about the positions they have advertised, and offer a resume that spells out your qualifications in greater detail.

Fall Career Fairs: Which One? How?

Business Career FairThe Fall 2016 career fair season is about to get underway. Now is the time to figure out which fairs you want to attend and to plot your strategy.

  • Start getting your resume ready. Yes, you will need one–come talk to Kirstin Wilcox, kwilcox@illinois.edu, if you’d like help.
  • Learn more about how to find success at a career fair by reading our English//CW Majors’ Guide to Career Fairs.
  • Attend the LAS and Career Center workshop: How to Sell Your LAS Degree at the Business Career Fair. Monday, September 12, 4:50 p.m., 319 Gregory Hall

You have a lot of choices!

Looking for part-time work on or around campus?

FOCUS:The Part-Time Job Fair for Career-Focused, Paid Campus Work takes place September 21 from 6pm to 7:30pm in the Illini Union Ballrooms A and B.  You can find out more about the employers who will be there on I-Link (find “Career Fairs” under “Events” in the left-hand tab).

Looking for a spring or summer internship on campus or around Champaign-Urbana?

The LAS in CU Internship Fair features local employers looking for interns for spring and summer. Many of the positions are unpaid, but they will give you opportunities to explore career options and build your professional skills. This fair is NOT listed on I-Link, but you can find a list of the organizations who will be attending at LAS in CU on the web page for the fair.

Looking for a paid summer internship for next summer OR a job after you graduate?

The Illini Career and Internship Fair has a number of employers coming who are specifically interested in liberal arts majors with strong communications skills. It takes place on October 26, from noon to 4pm at the ARC. You can find information about the employers who are coming on I-Link (find “Career Fairs” under “Events” in the left-hand tab). You should review all the entries and click through to find out specifically the positions they seek to fill, but some companies of particular interest to English and Creative Writing majors are Cintas, City Year, Epic, Hartford, Jellyvision, Mindshare, and the Peace Corps.

The Business Career Fair is NOT just for business majors: 64 of the 190 employers are looking for students in all majors. It’s coming up FAST (September 14 and 15, 2pm to 7pm at the ARC). It’s HUGE and the key to success is winnowing out the jobs that interest you. Go on I-Link and click “Events” in the lefthand tab. It will be in “Career Fairs.” Click on the number of employers to bring up a search screen. Use the pull-down menu under “Advanced Search” to isolate the employers seeking “all majors.” A few that caught my eye were Cambridge Publishing, Huron Consulting, Signature Consulting, Teach for America, and Wells Fargo.  They provide links to give you information about the positions they’re specifically recruiting for at the career fair, as well as other openings in the company. Note that the fair runs for two days and companies only attend for one of those, so make note of when the companies you want to talk to will be there.