Yes, English/CW Majors Can Find Jobs or Internships at Career Fairs

Career Fair season is upon us.early-job-fair

If you’ve been anywhere near the English department, you’ve seen signs for the Arts and Culture Career Fair in Chicago on Feb. 5, but that is by no means the only one!

* more information available on I-Link

How do you find “more information…on I-Link”?  Log onto I-Link and then click on the blue “Events” tab at the top of the page.  Click “Career Fairs” on the pull-down menu, then click on the particular fair that interests you.  You’ll find information on who is coming and what kinds of positions they are seeking to fill.  Use this information!  Advance preparation is the difference between a good career fair experience and a bad one.

There are LOTS of ways to start getting ready for a career fair, particularly the Business Career Fair, which is coming up quickly.

English, Creative Writing, and ToE majors should plan to attend How to Sell Your English/CW Degree at a Career Fair on Wed., Jan. 27, 5 – 6pm in EB 104.  Learn how to find a job or internship at the Business Career Fair (Feb. 3 and 4) and the Arts and Culture Career Fair (Feb. 5) at this event. Hear from students who’ve been there and get advice on what to wear, what to bring, how to prepare, how to “pitch,” and how to hold your own as an English or CW major at these events.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is also holding two sessions (same content, different times), “How to Sell Your LAS Degree at the Business Career Fair and Engineering Career Fair”: Tues., Jan. 26, 12:30-1:30 p.m., 1002 Lincoln Hall
or  Mon., Feb. 1, 4-5 p.m., 1002 Lincoln Hall.

Can’t attend any of these sessions?  Read up on what to expect!  We have advice on attending the Business Career Fair and advice on what to expect at the Arts and Culture Career Fair.

Don’t have an interview suit?   Doesn’t mean you can’t go (and in fact, if you have your sights on the Arts and Culture Career Fair, you’re probably better off without a suit).  The Career Closet at The Career Center offers gently used clothes for students; it’s open Thurs., Jan. 28, noon – 3pm and Fri., Jan. 29, noon – 2pm, The Career Center’s Interview Suite, 616 E Green St, Champaign, Room 213. (Enter the Kaplan door by McDonald’s.)

If you’d like to review your resume, practice your pitch, discuss the pros and cons of attending, or practice parsing job descriptions, make an appointment with Kirstin Wilcox by emailing


How to Make Your Major an Asset

cat in the hatNo one cares what you majored in; employers care about what you can do.  The best way to make a persuasive case for yourself when talking to employers is to be able to talk knowledgeably about how you’ve used the skills they’re looking for.

A new semester offers a number of ways to gain that experience:

Do you want to be able to explain how you used your excellent communication skills to help a not-for-profit organization?  The new partnership between the Department of English and the Community Learning Lab in the School of Social Work will give you practice writing to solve real-world problems.  Email to get information about the available service projects.

Do you want to be able to talk about the internship that taught you the teamwork, editing, social media, communications, or writing skills that employers are looking for? Apply for one! (Deadline for many spring semester internships is Jan. 22).

Do you want to be able to discuss the inner workings of a daily publication?  Do you want to be able to demonstrate your ability to write for a deadline?  The Daily Illini is looking for writers and editors and to that end is holding Info Nights on Wednesday, Jan. 27 and Thursday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in Gregory Hall (810 S. Wright St., Urbana, IL 61801), Room 112

Do you want to demonstrate your commitment to the arts and your understanding of the many behind-the-scenes activities that go into making cultural events, performances, exhibits available?  Register for the Arts and Culture Career Fair taking place in Chicago on February 5, noon to 2pm and find a summer internship that will help you explore those career paths.

Do you want to talk about your leadership skills?  Learn about opportunities to get involved with registered student organizations at the RSO Involvement Fair on Wed., January 27 in the Illini Union.

How to Prepare for the Chicago Arts and Culture Career Fair

Michele Plante, Coordinator of Career Services for the College of Fine and Applied Arts at U of I, spoke with students in Engl 199: Internship Seminar this week about how to Michele Planteprepare for the upcoming Chicago Arts and Culture Career Fair on February 5, 2016 from 12 to 2pm. Here are some of the tips she had to offer:

What should you wear?

Different career fairs follow different practices, so it’s generally a good idea to know your audience when you’re deciding what to wear to such an event. While you’d want to bring out your nicest black suit to attend the Business Career Fair on campus, you’ll want to leave it at home when you go to the Arts and Culture Career Fair. Women attending the Arts and Culture Career Fair should wear a blouse and nice skirt or a dress (that goes at least to your knees); comfortable, professionally appropriate shoes (flats or dressy boots); and possibly a memorable, colorful accessory, like a scarf. Men in attendance should wear a jacket and nice pants, but a tie isn’t necessary.

What should you bring?

You’ll want to bring 2-3 résumés for every organization you’re interested in talking with. Your U of I student ID is also required.

What kinds of questions should you ask employers at the career fair? Continue reading “How to Prepare for the Chicago Arts and Culture Career Fair”

What is the Arts and Culture Career Fair? Do I really have to go to Chicago for it?

Arts and Culture Career Fair banner headingPNGWhy do thieves rob banks? Because that’s where the money is. Why hold the Arts and Culture Career Fair in Chicago? Because that’s where the art and culture is.

Big corporations and organizations that recruit large numbers of students at events like  the Business Career Fair and All-Campus Career Fair can afford to pull staff members away from their regular tasks and send them down to Champaign-Urbana for a day of talking to students.

Arts and culture organizations don’t usually work like that.  They have shows to put on, musicians and artist to represent, galleries to staff, donors to cultivate, events to plan, workshops and performances to organize, not enough people to do it all, and shoestring budgets to pay for it. But they need employees, too: dedicated, arts- and culture-centered people who want to make a living working with and supporting those who perform, create, teach, and inspire.

Therefore, we’ll bring you to them, at this joint venture with UIC.  There’s even transportation available (see details at the bottom of the graphic).

Eager to work in the arts, but not sure how to make the case for yourself to an employer? Michele Plante of the College of Fine and Applied Arts will lead a workshop on resumes and elevator pitches on Monday, November 30, 4 – 5pm, in 149 English Building.  In time for Winter Break, you’ll get tips on creating and polishing a perfect first impression, so that you’re ready to go on February 5.

arts and culture career fair 2016 poster-page-001