Starting Your Search for Spring or Summer Internships

findinternshipsIt’s not too early to start thinking about spring or summer internships.

Spring semester internships are starting to get advertised on the Internships page of this website.

For summer internships, your search should begin with I-Link, the U of I’s own job search database.  If you haven’t used I-Link before, you’ll need to provide some basic information the first time you log in, but after that your NetID and password will take you straight to it, and the “Jobs” tab will take you to “I-Link Jobs.”

Some hints for searching effectively:

  1. Use the “Advanced Search” button, but DO NOT type anything into the search bar.
  2. Though it’s the most prominent, ignore the “Job Function” menu.
  3. Use the “Position Type” menu to limit your search to “Internship/Co-op (degree in progress).”
  4. Use the “Industry” menu to search within fields that interest you.
  5. Don’t rule out an interesting-sounding opportunity until you’ve looked specifically at the qualifications the employer is seeking.  You may be more qualified than you think, particularly if you keep in mind that English is frequently an “other related major.”

Once you’re logged into I-Link you’ll be able to see the positions curated by LAS for its majors.

An additional source for finding internships specifically with not-for-profit organizations is

Is there a particular company or organization you dream of working with?  Check their website–they may offer internships.


Questions To Ask During An Informational Interview – The Toast

“You smell employed. Will you please just rub yourself against me until I smell like that too? For a minute. Just a real quick sec.”

“Will you tell me, please, where they are storing the jobs? I know you have them. I can see them. Tell me where, please?”

“If I write you a thank-you note like everyone says I’m supposed to, will you do anything other than laugh at how pathetic it makes me look and throw it in the trash?”

Source: Questions To Ask During An Informational Interview – The Toast

Yes, if you want to be employed after graduation, you need to network.  Sometimes that involves informational interviewing.  Yes, it can be awkward, in EXACTLY the ways this article describes.  How to make it NOT horrible?

  1.  Have a plan.  No one is going to be more invested in your success than you are.
    • Know what you want to know.  The key is the word “informational.”  If you don’t actually to to learn anything this person can tell you, then why set up the meeting?
    • If seeking information is a pretext to form a relationship with this person and get him or her interested in your success, then admit that to yourself and figure out a strategy for creating that relationship.
  2. Research, research, research.  People love to talk about themselves.  Make it easy for them to do that by knowing the right questions to ask.

Job-hunting is hard. We’re here to help.  Call 333-4346 to set up an appointment with Kirstin Wilcox, Director of Internships.

The English/CW Major’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

1917-12-01-The-Country-Gentleman-Norman-Rockwell-cover-Cousin-Reginald-Catches-the-Thanksgiving-Turkey-no-logo-400-DigimarcThe holidays?  They can be stressful, particularly when they give your family members opportunities to quiz you about your plans after graduation.

Some tips:

  1. Stay true to yourself. Spend time with a book you want to read but don’t HAVE to read to remind yourself why you got into this major in the first place. Write a poem. Watch a movie with some intellectual heft to it. Make a trip to the nearest independent or used bookstore.
  2. Save this link to your phone.  The odds may or may not be ever in your favor, but the data certainly is, so you can be ready when a relative trots out some canard about English majors being unemployable.
  3. Need more talking points?  Try this, this, or this.
  4. Learn more.  Take some time to browse this very blog for additional information on jobs that English majors do (including communication, business consulting, science journalism, running small businesses, legal writing…)
  5. Be prepared.  Often skepticism about your major comes out of loving concern, so think about how you can reassure the people who love you that you’re on your way to a stable, self-supporting adult life. Some ways you can show you are taking responsibility for your career path:

How to Plan Ahead for a Future You Can’t Predict

As you likely know if you attended this semester’s English Alumni Career Panel, a humanities career path can be meandering. Speaking earlier this week for the Engl 199: Career Planning for Humanities Majors lecture series, Maeve Reilly highlighted this point as she narrated her own career path, which included the Peace Corps, a masters degree, and positions in ESL instruction, proofreading, project managing, and marketing, leading up to her current position as Director of Communications for the Beckman Institute here on campus. As Reilly’s career path exemplifies, the great thing about English and other humanities majors is that they can do so many things with their degree. But how can you plan ahead for a future you can’t predict? Reilly offered some advice to humanities students on preparing for a career while still in undergrad:


“Try to get experiences in as many areas as you can,” Reilly advised in her talk. Having a range of experiences will add diversity to your résumé and can make you stand out as an applicant. Reilly advocated that you try to gain specific experience in areas like writing and social media through involvement in student organizations, part-time jobs, and internships. Such concrete experiences can also give you opportunities to network with fellow students, campus employees, and alumni, which can help you to develop more connections and even to obtain future jobs.

Soft skills

Humanities students acquire a wealth of soft skills (e.g., communication, leadership, critical thinking) that are applicable to most professional fields and are increasingly sought by employers. These skills are most valuable to you when you learn how to recognize them and narrate their applicability to potential careers. Reilly particularly emphasized flexibility (especially the ability to teach yourself new things), research skills, and evaluative skills as critical tools that humanities students develop. Because you routinely put these skills into practice in your humanities coursework, you may not realize how special they are. Learning to think about your everyday academic activities in the context of their applications outside of the classroom can help you to highlight your preparedness for a range of careers.

The application

Reilly noted that one of the best ways to strengthen a job application is to read the job posting carefully and strategically tailor your application materials to emphasize your suitability for that particular job. She stressed, for instance, that you should not use the same résumé for all job applications because you want your résumé to highlight your experiences and skills that are most relevant to the position you’re applying for. To help you determine how you could contribute to an organization you’re applying to, research the organization and their employees to learn about what they do. (Stay posted for a workshop we’ll offer in the Spring semester on demystifying job ads!)