September 18, 2010

Career Advising

Though it may seem like a resource dedicated to upperclassmen on the verge of entering the real world, the University’s Career Advising and Planning Services (CAPS) has plenty to offer to campus newcomers as well.

CAPS has a wealth of resources to ensure you have a quality way to spend your summers and to prepare you for handing out those résumés when the time comes.

Through University-sponsored job programs, CAPS is the gateway to many meaningful part-time and summer employments opportunities. In addition to the Metcalf and journalism internship programs, CAPS also sponsors Summer Action Grants and International Experience Grants, giving cash to students who find their own valuable way to spend the summer and need some way to support it.

Worth checking out is Chicago Career Connection, an online database run by CAPS with hundreds of listings with organizations in Chicago and around the world. You’ll need to have a résumé approved before you can access the site, CAPS’s way of making sure you look good when you start putting your name out there. Oftentimes, CAPS will host first-round interviews itself to make sure you’ve had a dry run in a low-key environment before meeting with any actual employers.

CAPS isn’t just a middleman, putting students in touch with potential employers. They also have the tools to make sure U of C students are ready to stand out from the field when résumé-dropping season rolls around. Swing by walk-in hours in Ida Noyes to have CAPS staff check over a resume or cover letter for you, or make an appointment to conduct a mock job interview.

While the U of C might have a reputation for disdaining pre-professionalism, CAPS is also there to help out those students who already know they’re not permanently destined for a life of academia. After the success of its Chicago Careers in Business program, CAPS now has Chicago Careers in Law, Journalism, and Health Professions. These groups, some of which require application for admission, help to connect students in each specific field with test preparation, internships, and networking opportunities.

CAPS programs are available from the get-go for first-years. CAPS Senior Associate Director Marthe Druska advises students to get involved as soon as they feel ready. She pointed to the Alumni Board of Governors Externship as an ideal entry point into job-hunting. Members of the program, only open to first- and second-year students, spend their spring breaks shadowing alumni in dozens of careers to get a taste for a profession.

For more information on CAPS, visit their web site, make a same-day appointment Monday through Friday, or visit the Fall Career and Internship Fair on October 1.