Friday, April 22, 2011

Things of a Logistical Nature

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

I’ll be working on campus during the summer—it’s official! I’m pretty glad I have a job, but now it’s time to tackle some of the logistical problems. You see, I live in “Chicago”, which is not to say that I live in Chicago. You see, with quotation marks, “Chicago” refers the sprawling suburban Chicagoland area, and to write it otherwise irks “real” Chicagoans (those living within city limits) to no end. Believe me, I know from experience. Anyway, I, specifically, live in the northern suburbs, and though I told that one kid from Texas that I was from Chicago, I actually live a good hour away. I know a lot of other students who are working on campus as well, so allow me to divulge some information about transportation and what there is to do on campus (and in the ‘burbs!) during the summer months.


Though you could always commute to the city every day (and suffer through the notorious Chicago traffic), I recommend taking public transportation to save money and our planet. I plan to take the Metra every morning to Union Station. The Metra will also take you to the Ogilvie Transportation Center, depending on which suburb you depart from. To find out how to take the Metra from “Chicago” to Chicago, use their trip planner.

Now that you’re downtown, how do you get to the South Side? There are actually quite a few options. If you’re arriving and departing during peak commuting hours, you can take:
  1. #192 University of Chicago Hospitals Express: This bus takes you from the Goldblatt Pavilion at the University of Chicago Hospitals to Union Station and the Ogilvie Transportation Center. It runs south from Ogilvie from 6:30-9:00 AM southbound from then back toward the city from 3:45 to 7:00 PM To find out more, download the schedule.

  2. #X28 CTA Stony Island Express: This bus takes you from the southside to downtown and back. It runs from 63rd and Stony Island to Union Station from 5:52 am to 6:42 pm, Mondays to Fridays. Download the schedule here.

  3. #6 Jackson Park Express: This will take you from Stony Island down to Michigan Avenue, if you just want to do some shopping, or bike along the lakefront, or… anything, really, even on weekends. It’s great. Download the schedule here.

Things to do on Campus

Now that you've made it back to campus, there are plenty of things to do:
  • Avoid the Chicago summer humidity and work out in the nicely air-conditioned Ratner Athletic Center! No excuses--you’re already on campus!

  • Print out one of my blog posts and find me on campus. I’ll be signing autographs. (Kidding. Mostly.)

  • Chicago’s 64th Annual 57th Street Art Fair: June 4-5, Saturday 11-6 and Sunday 10-5. We’re still in school at this point (unfortunately), but hopefully we’ll be well into summer by that time. Support our local businesses, and check it out!

  • Randolph Street Market Festival—-Okay, this isn't actually on campus, but it's still a great event. Vintage art and fashion, food, drinks and artsy things all around! What’s not to love? Click here for more information. And actually, since we're on the subject, going to any of the city’s open markets and festivals (Maxwell Street Market, Taste of Chicago, Pride Parade…to name a few) is a great idea.

  • Summer Dance--Also not on campus, but SO much fun. Shake your groove thing to a variety of dance styles all summer long. It's right downtown near Millennium Park, and even offers dance lessons! Check it out!
That's it for now! Happy 5 weeks until summer!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Things Are Looking Up

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

Good news! According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employer hiring has increased 19.3% for the class of 2011. As a member of the class of 2014, I take that as a great sign—things are finally looking up!

In fact, this reminds me of a conversation that I had with a member of the CAPS staff yesterday, about how students have become much more practical about their collegiate careers. Going to college to get an “education” has now expanded to all include all senses of the word. So, in addition to, say, a liberal arts education, we also now mean securing “street smarts” and “soft skills” so that we have the abilities we need to succeed in any economy.

This shift is especially apparent at the University of Chicago. Though we're still known for being cerebral, academically rigorous and a little bit (okay, a lot) nerdy, we’ve made a couple of changes so that we can be all of those things and still be ready for the workforce. Interest in CAPS, especially, attests to this—-there has been a 68% increase in the number of first-years making appointments with CAPS to get their resumes reviewed, ask questions about summer internships and start getting another kind of education.

Personally, I think it’s a great movement. As long as we don’t forget the values of a quality liberal arts education, this new awareness of the importance of interpersonal skills and understanding the “real world” as something that's more than an MTV show should really take us to some great places—-and just in time for employers to start hiring again.

If you feel like you'd like to develop your skills, check out some of the resources we offer:

  • The "Chicago Careers In…" Programs (Business, Arts, Higher Education, Law, Health Professions, Journalism, Public and Social Service, and Science and Technology), which are designed to give you a quality pre-professional focus. Learn more on the CAPS website.

  • Interview Stream: Practice your interview skills anywhere, anytime. Click here to learn more.

  • Going Global, a resource for students interested in working abroad. Click to learn more.

And, as always, if you're looking for a specific resource or just want to talk about everything that CAPS offers, feel free to make an appointment!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Uncommon Resume Advice

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant, and Laurel Mylonas-Orwig, Strategic Programming and Outreach Manager

Here at UChicago, we like to think of ourselves as outside-of-the-box thinkers. We fill out the Uncommon Application (supplement). We read the Uncommon Blog. And we spend the Uncommon Fund on things like a laser rave in Harper and puppies on the quads during finals (I'm pretty excited about that one). So, there's no reason that our resumes shouldn't be uncommon as well!

I’ve been doing some research about resume writing—as I continue to apply for summer jobs, I want my (and your!) resume to shine as brightly as possible. However, while we all know that a resume should be organized, easy to read and reflective of your past experience, you may not know about some of following tips (that just might help you get ahead):

  1. According to an AOL Jobs article, the number one resume mistake is only writing about past job tasks and not elaborating on what was learned or achieved from that task. The article suggests asking yourself questions such as:

    • What specific professional challenges did I face when I took this job?

    • Do I have specific performance goals? How well did I do against these goals?

    • What is my greatest achievement in this position? How did I do it?

    • What were results and benefits to me and the organization?

    By answering these questions on your resume, you will give the employer a clearer picture of what you have done and why you would be a valuable employee. The article also has several other helpful suggestions, so I highly suggest you take a look at it.

  2. This Forbes article outlines nine pieces of advice about what to include/leave off your resume. I’ll just list my favorite ones:

    • Don’t use heavy resume paper, elaborate designs and other embellishments.

    • Don’t include an "objective", or a paragraph summarizing your skills.

    • Don’t share information about yourself as a person—such as hobbies and memberships.

    This article also says that you don't need to keep your resume down to one page, but until you've got a couple years of experience under your belt, you probably should.

  3. The last segment of this US News article answered a question that I’ve always had about how long to leave experiences on my resume. They advise that you keep a “rolling four-year tableau—the resume should always reflect the accomplishments in the most recent four years.” Also the first comment, unfortunately, has applied to me; Eelynn Lee says that grammar and spelling errors are “quite common”. Asking others to proofread your resume before submitting it for a job is always a good idea, and remember that spell check is your best friend--but won't catch everything. (Editor's note: It's especially important to remember that spell check will not catch words where the misspelling is a real word, but in the wrong place/context. For example, I once saw a resume for someone who had experience as a "Pubic Account Manager". She did not get a call for an interview.)

  4. Finally, I recently came across this AOL Jobs article about one typo that you should make on your resume. As you may have noticed, we favor "resume" on this blog over "résumé". This is an accepted spelling, but, of course, not strictly correct. However, in the age of online resume submissions, it is generally a good idea to omit the accent marks. The reason for this is that many database programs convert documents to plain text, which strips out text flourishes. That turns "résumé" into "r?sum?", which looks very much like a typo. To be on the safe side, unless you're submitting a PDF or a hard copy, leave out the accents. The French will survive.

I hope you all learned quite a bit about your resume writing—I know I did. If you’d like more, click on the article links or, better yet, make an appointment here at CAPS at (773) 702-7040!

Friday, April 1, 2011

What’s CAP-pening?

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

See what I did there? It’s just been one of those punny days, I suppose, being April Fools Day and all.

Well, first things first: welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a relaxing spring break filled with sleep, if not also sun-drenched and coastal. I myself was in Southern Indiana hammering and carrying plywood with some members of the University of Chicago Habitat for Humanity chapter. It was a great experience, especially seeing the finished house at the end, though I am glad to be back in the city.

Anyway, we are now well into first week—the add/drop frenzy is slowing down, reading has been assigned and it’s now time to get yourselves into CAPS! Here’s what we have going on in spring:

  • CCIB information sessions (only for class of 2014): Come learn about Chicago Careers in Business and the application process. CCIB is a selective “Chicago Careers in…” program for students pursuing any major, as long as they are interested in business. Since CCIB is a three-year program, so this info session is only open to current first-years. Join us April 5, 12 pm in the East Lounge and April 14, 4 pm in the West Lounge at Ida Noyes Hall.

  • Exploring Business Careers: Careers in Advertising/PR/Marketing: Explore advertising, PR and marketing with a panel discussion with representatives from an ad agency, a public relations firm and in-house marketing. Talk about getting started in these careers and different internship and full-time job opportunities on April 14th at 5 pm in the East Lounge at Ida Noyes Hall.
  • Summer Opportunities Information Session: The fact that we have one of these on May 9 means that there are still summer opportunities out there for you! Don’t miss this chance to do something fun, productive and maybe even lucrative this summer. Stop by on May 9 at 4:30 pm in the West Lounge at Ida Noyes Hall.

  • Exploring Business Careers: Careers in Financial Services: Explore and get an overview of what it’s like working in the vast field of financial services on May 10 at 5:30 pm in the East Lounge at Ida Noyes Hall.

Those are just a few highlights of all the exciting things going on at CAPS this quarter. We are also part of the Hire Big 10+ Consortium, which is hosting a Virtual Career Fair from April 5-7. This online opportunity gives you the chance to network with employers just like you would at a physical career fair, but you can do it from the comfort of your living/dorm room (you can even wear your pajamas, if you want to). To learn more and sign up (required to participate), click here.

And, of course, don't forget that you can see all of the CAPS programs happening this quarter on the CAPS calendar!

Happy Spring Quarter!