“I Don’t Want a Desk Job”

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English and creative writing majors figuring out a career path often start with what they don’t want. “I don’t want to teach” is the first filter, often followed by “I don’t want a desk job.” Sometimes it’s more specifically, “I don’t want a corporate job.”

There are jobs that don’t involve desks, but they can encompass everything from freelance copywriting (and putting your laptop on whatever surface you choose) to being a transportation manager for Union Pacific (yes, the train company; yes, they employ English majors.)

There are jobs that don’t involve being employed by a corporation, but they can involve everything from being a case manager for an addiction treatment center to creating branding for a political campaign to running an afterschool program. Continue reading

Writing Your First Resume: The Illinois Template

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If you haven’t yet written a resume, it’s time. You may not have needed a resume up to now, but having one ready makes it easy to apply for opportunities that arise.

A resume should be provisional, not set in stone. A good resume is always being revised to reflect both new things you do and the needs of the different employers that you send it to.

There is no one right way to write a resume. Different employers and industries have different expectations, and a well-chosen format can highlight your strengths. You can find many online templates to guide you.

This template is used by many programs here at the University of Illinois. Many employers who recruit on campus are familiar with this format, and it will help you get started.

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How to Escape the “Needing Experience to Get Experience” Paradox

 

Yes, you usually need experience to get a job. But often people apply for jobs because they need experience, and hope to get it by being employed.

The conundrum is not as cruel as it appears, though.

1. These expectations may be overstated. You usually find the expectations for prior experience in the “requirements” or “qualifications” in a job ad. It’s usually a separate section at the bottom of the ad listening all the things the ideal candidate for the job will have or be able to do. Many Continue reading

English/CW Major –> Foreign Service

Melissa Martinez, the Diplomat in Residence for the Midwest from the Department of State, was here on campus earlier this week to talk about careers in the foreign service. Ms. Martinez spoke frankly about the challenges of a diplomatic career: accommodating the careers and needs of spouse and children, physical danger, difficulties staying in touch with family and friends, sometimes inconvenient and uncomfortable working conditions. She emphasized that it is not the glamorous, urbane life often depicted in the media. However, she also stressed the rewards of the job: the opportunity to travel, a career path that can span continents and offer new opportunities to learn, the support provided for relocation and family/household needs (including language training, health care, and mentoring), and above all, the opportunity to make a difference while representing your country. Continue reading