Friday, June 10, 2011

The End of the World As We Know It

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

So, here we are. Today is the last day of exams, and tomorrow is Convocation. Though I did just channel Rebecca Black a little bit there (which seat can I take?), it’s actually a very deep and profound sentence—I’ve gone through the process of reading, writing and studying for finals like a maniac twice already this year, and here I am, finished with the third round. However, this time around, it seems much more...worth it. It’s incredible to believe that I’m done with my first year of college and even more incredible that so many students and faculty are moving on to do great things-—whether that’s starting an internship across the country or actually entering the full-time workforce. As a first-year student, it’s enough just to think that I’ll be going back home in a couple days, but I’m sure that in three years, I’ll be somewhere completely different—-maybe at CAPS again writing my billionth blog post or maybe, well, who knows? I’m excited though.

Speaking of the blog, I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading and giving me feedback on my CAPS blogs. I hope my posts have been informative, thought-provoking and interesting. I’ve had tons of fun writing them, even LOL-ing here in front of the computer at times, especially as I’ve embraced my role as a 19-year-old college student who is, herself, discovering what she wants to do with her life. And of course, CAPS is always here to help (seriously. They don't even tell me to write that anymore).

So for one last time (before I come back in the fall), I’d like to wish you a happy weekend, and a great summer!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why I Love the U of C

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

I’m glad to be back blogging after a long weekend, which I hope you enjoyed as much as I did (despite the fact that we seem to have skipped spring and gone straight to summer, as usual)! It’s hard to believe that I’m a couple classes, a reading period and 4 finals away from summer, and boy, I can’t wait. From what I’ve gathered, it should be a pretty relaxing summer—filled with the UChicago campus (sans the UChicago stress), rooftop pool lounging and lots of summer reading and shopping. But I have to admit that I will miss UChicago, because there really is a lot to love about this place. So in honor of our wonderful school, in no particular order...

Five things that I’ve learned to love about the University of Chicago:
  1. Sriracha Hot Sauce: Sure, Bartlett has its rough days, but allow me to divulge my little secret for getting through them: Sriracha hot cause. Also known as rooster sauce, this Asian chili hot sauce makes any dish googolplex* times more delicious.

  2. Exercise: I’m going to say this once and very slowly: waking up at 7:30 in the morning to swim at Ratner does the college student’s body good. I’m going to ignore that loud collective gasp you just let out and insist that it really, really does. As a prospie, I would have never thought to relate UChicago to exercise, but now I find that it helps me de-stress, get through the day, sleep better and burn off all that late night Sarpino’s pizza that I douse with Sriracha Hot Sauce.**

  3. Speaking of Exercise...
    The Core! Of course, all prospies are in “love” with the Core. But they’re so young! They don’t know what love is. Love is relating football players to Nietzsche. Love is seeing Freud everywhere—and I mean everywhere. And I hate to say it, but Love is knowing what interests you the most (Political Science and Spanish, in my case). Thanks for a great year, Core.

  4. Chicago: Hot Dogs, Nuevo Leon, Garrett’s Popcorn, Chinatown, deep-dish pizza, the Art Institute, Al Capone and our president. Some may complain about the Hyde Park bubble, but quite honestly, one of the world’s best cities is a 15 minute Metra ride away. I highly recommend it.

  5. CAPS! Of course, right? No—but really, I’d like to give a shout-out to my favorite Career Advising & Planning Services, especially my fantastic boss Laurel. [Ed. note: No, I did not tell her to write that.] I’ve learned so much here, from how to tame our monster of a Xerox machine to the importance of always being positive, as well as many design tips. Apparently, I’ve developed my “design aesthetic,” since I started working here, and I can’t wait to keep doing it!
So, there you have it--my five favorite things about the University of Chicago. Did I miss something? Leave me a comment!

*googolplex: “A googolplex is the number 10googol, i.e. 10(10100), which can also be written as the number 1 followed by a googol zeros (i.e. 10100 zeros)” –Wikipedia. I learned about googolplex in fourth grade and have always wanted to use it in a blog post ever since.

**Buy yours today!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Top Places to Work

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

"Top" (Top 10, Top 5, Top 100, etc.) lists aren’t always the most accurate—how can they be when being better or worse is majorly subjective? But, as you know, everyone looks anyway. The University of Chicago, as most anyone on campus can probably tell you, was ranked #7 last year on one list but dropped to #11 on another, but remains #1 on yet a another. (In my personal opinion the latter is the correct one.) But one “Top” list that I think is worth reading--especially if you're a fourth-year looking for some places to target in your job search) is FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to work for. Some of the perks are a little silly, but I mean, going to a beauty salon at work? Sounds good to me.

Here’s what I have to say about the top 5 companies:

5. NetApp
Location: Sunnydale, California
Perks: Free fruit Tuesdays, Free Bagel Friday and Free espresso daily
Verdict: Not impressed. The temperature peaked today at a toasty 68 degrees here in Chicago—who needs California? Just call us the Sunnydale of the Midwest. Plus, I get free fruit, bagels and coffee at peak event seasons here at CAPS, anyway. Maybe we should be on that list.

4. Google
Location: Mountain View, California
Perks: Free food, free laundry and a climbing wall
Verdict: Impressed. We sure don’t have mountains in Chicago. Plus, it’s GOOGLE—it’s a verb for goodness sake. And it’s been translated into various languages.*

3. Wegman’s Food Market.
Location: Headquarters are in Rochester, New York
Perks: “This year, 11,000 employees took part in a challenge to eat five cups of fruit and vegetables a day and walk up to 10,000 steps a day for eight weeks.”
Verdict: Pretty cool, I guess. Five servings of fruit I could do…but vegetables too? Plus, it might be kind of tough since you’d be working at a food market—after all, donuts are food too.

2. Boston Consulting Group
Location: Boston…duh
Perks: Generous Pay and commitment to social work
Verdict: Sending consultants to Haiti to provide on-the-ground support following the earthquake is awesome. Verdict reached.

1. SAS
Location: Cary, North Carolina
Perks: “on-site healthcare, high quality childcare at $410 per month, summer camp for kids, car cleaning, a beauty salon, and more -- it’s all enough to make a state-of-the-art, 66,000-square-foot gym seem like nothing special by comparison”
Verdict: Wowza.

Want more? Check out the full list here.

*"To google" in Spanish is "googlear". Also, Google in Chinese is 谷歌.

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!