If It Matters for Your Life, It Can Matter for Your Career

Is volunteering part of your life? Have you always sought out service opportunities? Are you hoping to make it a part of your routine if it hasn’t been before?

Service can be a way of life, not just an extracurricular activity. A great way to explore careers in the nonprofit sector, jobs that involve making positive change in the world is to get involved. Here are some ways to do it.

  1. TOMORROW, Sept. 15, 10:30 – 1:30 in the Illini Union, the Community Service and Volunteer Fair will give you a chance to find out about the wealth of opportunities available on this campus and in this area.


2.  Every semester, The Community Learning Lab in the School of Social work identifies projects that draw on the communication, research, and problem-solving skills of English/CW/ToE majors and matches those projects to interested students.

 Projects often include tasks like grant-writing, information gathering, web content development, marketing and outreach, event planning, and assessment.

Students should expect to spend no more than 25 hours over the course of the semester completing the project, which will include a brief self-assessment and reflection at the end.

To take part in this opportunity, send an email ssw-cll@illinois.edu, explaining that you are an English department major interested in working with Community Learning Lab partners.

You will receive a list of available projects and a link for signing up for the projects that interest you most.

3. The upcoming LAS in CU Internship Fair offers a wide range of internship opportunities for the spring and summer, many of them with local nonprofit agencies.



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.

Is Law School in Your Future?

hammer-802301_1920If you’re thinking about law school, there are a lot of resources available to help you decide whether or not to apply.  The Department of English Alumni Mentoring Network has, at last count, 19 potential mentors working in law and eager to talk to students about that career path. The University of Illinois Pre-Law Advising Services has many resources to help you with the decision to apply and the application process. Check out the events below.

There’s also a Pre-Law Compass page with a new video series, free LSAT preparation tips and resources, suggestions on how to write a personal statement, and detailed data about where Illinois students attend law school (along with successful applicant profiles). Students who are designated pre-law are automatically granted access to our Compass page, and other students can easily add themselves by following these simple steps.   http://prelaw.illinois.edu/compass


Interacting with Law School Admissions: Interviews, Visits, & Law Fairs. September 7, 5-6 pm in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building.

Law school applicants will have several opportunities throughout the application cycle to engage with law school admissions professionals. Whether it is through an interview, at a law fair, or during a law school visit, these interactions can make or break a candidate’s application. What should applicants wear, say, and do during these interactions? What impresses an admissions dean–and what leaves a terrible impression? Learn from a veteran law school dean, Ms. Ann Perry, Associate Dean for Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School, all about how to maximize admission and aid through successful interactions with admissions professionals. No registration necessary.


Practice LSAT. September 9, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Register online for additional details.

This proctored practice LSAT provides the opportunity to take an actual Law School Admission Test in a real classroom environment. Whether students are prepping for the September 24 LSAT or have never taken a practice LSAT before and just want to get a baseline score, this is a great opportunity. This exam will be set up much like the real LSAT: Please bring pencils, personal items, and a snack in a clear plastic baggie.  Location and follow up details will be sent to all registrants within a week of the exam. Click here to register.


Pre-Law 101. September 12, 4-5 pm in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building.

This workshop is designed for incoming students who are new to pre-law or are interested in learning more about it. This workshop covers: What it means to be pre-law at Illinois, course selection, majors, and extracurriculars, building a pre-law resume, and what law schools are really looking for. We will outline a four year plan to maximize your undergraduate experiences in order to make a great law school candidate. We’ll also take any questions about law school and legal careers. Please click here to register to ensure enough seating and materials for everyone. Each Pre-Law 101 session is the same. Incoming students attend a Pre-Law 101 session prior to setting up an individual pre-law advising appointment.


Perfecting Your Personal Statement & Resume for Law School. September 19, 4-5 pm in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building.

The personal statement is one of the most difficult yet powerful elements of the law school application. This workshop will cover: What the personal statement is, how to prepare for writing it, and some tips and suggestions for making it reflect an applicant’s strengths. We will also discuss how the personal statement and resume can complement each other to create a stronger law school application. Please click here to register so that we can ensure enough seating and materials for everyone.


SAVE THE DATE for the Law School Fair! October 4, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Illini Union A,B,C, Rooms.

It’s the biggest pre-law event of the year! Over 100 law school representatives will visit campus to meet prospective students and share information about their law schools, scholarships, and people. Meet admissions professionals, learn about law schools, get some freebies and application fee waivers! Dress code is business casual. All students, alumni, and community members interested in law school are welcome! This event is free and open to the public. For additional details visit http://prelaw.illinois.edu/law-school-fair

Quad Day and YOU

Bradley Leeb/The News-Gazette Students and organizations fill the Quad during Quad Day on the University of Illinois campus. Sunday, August 25, 2013.

Sunday will be Quad Day, when the English Building gazes out serenely over a bustling quad packed from walkway to walkway with student organizations vying for your attention and membership. Go: it’s a good thing. Enjoy the swag, the mingling, the spectacle.

And keep in mind the big picture. Everything you do in college on top of your courses offers you data points about what you’re good at, what you enjoy, what you value. Don’t think of it as resume-building. No one will care particularly that you attended meetings for six different RSO’s and were the treasurer for one of them. They WILL care about the skills you develop and the stories you can tell in your interview. Did you manage a budget? Raise funds? Recruit new members? Create something that didn’t exist before? Solve a problem that had bedeviled the previous leadership? Get people to do something? How? What did you screw up? What did you get right? What did you learn about workign with other people?

The way to have good answers to those kinds of questions is to do stuff that matters to you. To that end, it helps to approach Quad Day with a strategy. Find an organization in each of these four categories

  • something you’ve done before and loved
  • something that’s completely new to you but sounds fun
  • something that will help to advance your career goals (whatever they might be at this point)
  • something that will help you make changes or solve problems that matter to you.

It’s fine if one organization fulfills two or more of those categories. Then go to some meetings. See where you feel like you can make a contribution. Make note of what attracts you or repels you. It’s good to push yourself beyond what’s comfortable, but there’s no point in doing things that make you actively unhappy. Then, as you learn more, decide where to commit your energy and time.

Recognize the value of what you’re doing! The more you can learn while you’re in college about your strengths, the more opportunities you can find to make things happen, the better off you will be in making the transition from college to whatever comes next.