Psssst! Save the Date: LAS in CU 10/19

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The first ever LAS (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) Internship Fair will take place on Wed., Oct. 19, in the Illini Union, from noon to 4pm. Meet a wide range of local and campus employers with internship opportunities for Department of English (and other) majors.

 

Not sure how a career fair works? Confused about how to communicate with employers and come across as an appealling candidate?  Consider enrolling in ENGL 199 – MMM: Career and Internship Fair Prep

  • ONLINE Aug. 22 – Oct.14 (first eight weeks)
  • One Credit
  • Who should take it: Students at ANY stage of their studies who want to explore career possibilities and connect to potential employers by attending career fairs. This course is specifically designed to prep you for the LAS Internship Fair, which will take place Oct. 19, the week after the course has ended, but the skills you learn will be applicable to any career or internship fair, including the Illini Career and Internship Fair, the Business Career Fair, or the Arts and Culture Career Fair. You will learn to tailor your resume, research career fair opportunities, construct an effective elevator pitch, network, and use the career fair to advance your own goals.
  • How to register: use CRN 65563

Recommendation Letters?!?

thumbs-up-1197306_1280If you’re applying to graduate school, you will definitely need letters of recommendation from your professors. But what about if you’re thinking about a future job search, not grad school?

Opinions vary!

According to The Intern Queen, if you’re coming up on the end of a summer job or internship, you should absolutely ask for a recommendation letter to show future employers. She tells you why and explains how in this short video:

This columnist from Forbes sort-of agrees: “In the past, obtaining recommendation letters was a requirement of the job search process. Today, not as much. Now, this step is considered optional, but savvy job seekers understand that it can help give them an edge when it comes to obtaining a position.”

But not everyone is so sure. This writer argues

letters of recommendation are not valued much by employers outside of academe. Why? Because skeptical employers think you wrote the letter for the reference to sign; because it’s written in advance, the writer’s had time to soften your weaknesses or omit them, and write those glowing phrases of praise; because it doesn’t permit the employer to ask his or her own questions.

Many people get jobs without recommendations in their job-search toolkit. However, it is vital to have references whom prospective employers can contact.  Click here for some useful advice on choosing and soliciting good references.

Bottom line: if you feel comfortable asking for a job recommendation letter, go ahead and do so.  It can’t hurt, and somewhere down the line it might help. But staying in touch with potential references and maintaining your network might be a better use of your time.

Alumni Profile: Melissa Kuhl, Publicity Specialist, University of Illinois Extension

I recently spoke about careers in marketing with U of I alumna Melissa Kuhl, who msteine3200x286graduated in 2011 with a double major in English and Creative Writing. Here’s what she had to say about her professional life after graduating from U of I:

VO: What did you do after you graduated?

Melissa: When I graduated, I was working with the University of Illinois Press in their marketing department. I had an internship with them that began in August 2010, so I continued that internship throughout the rest of the summer of 2011. Then, in August 2011 I got a position in the marketing department in Human Kinetics in Champaign. I worked there until July 2015, when I started with University of Illinois Extension doing marketing for them in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermillion Counties.

VO: Can you tell me a bit more about what your current job entails?

Melissa: It’s a lot of communicating with the local media and with the public to share information about our upcoming events and programs to try to get people to sign up and to raise general awareness about what we do. Continue reading

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:

Continue reading