by Laurel Mylonas-Orwig
Last week, I discussed three of the myths about CAPS: The Crystal Ball (we can't tell you what your future holds), The Box of Jobs and Basket of Internships (sadly, getting a job is not that easy) and The Secret Map to Success (everyone's path will vary). This week I’ll discuss the top three myths about CAPS, as well as some more information about the real resources that we have to offer, which are way better than a crystal ball.
3. The Incantation of Employability
Like the Secret Map to Success, this myth is related to the idea that one visit to CAPS is all it takes to find a job. While the CAPS staff is here to help in any way that we can, there is no incantation of employability to magically make you the ideal candidate. And yes, it often takes more than one visit to CAPS, and a fair amount of leg work, to reach your employment goals. The truth is, becoming competitive in the job market requires knowledge and skills that must be developed over time. As you go through college, and then enter the work world, this knowledge will become more substantial and more useful. When you're look for ways to build this knowledge after college, remember that CAPS isn’t just for undergrads. Our services can be used by alumni, too. Basically, we’re here for you forever.
2. The Unchanging Temple of CAPS
True story: My first two years as an undergrad here, I refused to visit CAPS. Why? Because I wasn’t interested in business or finance, and from everything I’d heard, those were the only industries CAPS was useful for getting into. As it turns out, this was another myth I’d fallen for. While there are a good deal of employers who recruit for positions in business and finance, CAPS also caters to students looking for careers in the nonprofit sector, the arts, law, journalism, teaching…you get the idea. In fact, CAPS has staff members specifically focused on bringing in employers outside of business and finance. These folks have worked in their industries, so they know how to make connections that will help students. The truth is, CAPS is not an unchanging, unresponsive organization that only exists for a narrow student population. We are here to help all students explore their career interests, regardless of what those interests are. We are also creating new ways to connect with students—services like Live Chat and same-day appointments—so that we’re working with your schedule, instead of asking you to work around ours.
1. The Magic U of C Feather
Okay, allow me a moment of school pride: the U of C is a pretty great academic institution. Whenever people ask me where I went to college, I puff out my chest (just a little) and smile like a mom whose kid just scored the winning goal. That said, here’s a reality check: just because you went to an outstanding school doesn’t mean that doors will magically open for you. In fact, as anyone who’s had to explain the difference between U of C and UIC knows, not every person on the street knows what U of C is. The same is true for employers. For each recruiter that’s impressed, there will be another one who could not care less. The truth is, what’s important to most hiring managers is not so much where you went to school, but what you have gotten out of your education. This is where the U of C experience becomes a key factor. Even if your interviewer has never heard of the University of Chicago, they will appreciate the skills you have honed here—like critical thinking and a strong work ethic. The key to career success is combining these skills with self-reflection and career exploration, so that you are able to identify your abilities, talents and interests, and understand how to use those to your advantage. And, as you’ve probably figured out by now, that process of reflection and exploration is exactly what CAPS is here to help with!
Are there any myths or misconceptions you know about that weren’t mentioned here? Leave them in a comment below!