March 8, 2011

Fourth-years see spike in job offers

Almost three times as many job offers have been made to fourth-years compared to last year, according to Career Advising and Planning Services (CAPS) data from the end of January. The career support center has increased its programming for graduating students—both with and without jobs—and has expanded offerings for underclassmen, who are utilizing CAPS more than in the past.

Undergraduate student use of CAPS has increased 36 percent overall, while graduate student use has increased 43 percent, according to Senior Associate Director for Student Preparation at CAPS Joni Krapec. In response to student demand, CAPS has announced new programs and is making plans to expand to students who haven’t found a niche within CAPS yet.

For fourth-years, CAPS is offering new “job circles,” where students who have not yet determined post-graduation employment can meet weekly in groups of three to six.

The approximately 25 students who applied to be in circles were all able to be placed. The groups will begin this week and last through spring quarter, and are focused on grouping students interested in specific areas to share their experiences and search for jobs under the guidance of CAPS advisers.

The six circles focus on industry-specific career development, and aim to give support to those who aren’t active in other CAPS programs. For example, the Financial Services circle explicitly excludes students in the Chicago Careers in Business program.

According to Krapec, students are expected to spend three hours per week on the circles: two hours spent on their own, in addition to the hour-long circles.

Graduating students who have jobs lined up will be able to participate in a new CAPS workshop, Backpack to Briefcase, designed to help ease the student transition from student to professional.

Krapec said the group would address practical concerns, like what to wear in a professional environment, as well as more existential ones. “How do you translate this great intellectual curiosity that you develop at the University of Chicago in a way that is coherent and clear and appropriate in the work environment, where perhaps that challenge of being encouraged to ask a million questions throughout your courses might not transfer so well in the first half-hour on the job?” she said.

The two and a half hour workshop, to be held in Ida Noyes during Senior Week, the second week of June, will help answer these questions, according to Krapec. The opportunity is not only open to fourth-years: two other Backpack to Briefcase workshops at the end of May will focus on first-, second-, and third-year students transitioning into summer internships.

For underclassmen hoping to strengthen their résumés, CAPS is continuing to increase Metcalf opportunities and Krapec said they are on track to meet its goal of posting 575 positions by the end of the month, as well as having 400 students placed into them.

To help students take advantage of its new offerings, CAPS advisers are stepping out from their offices at Ida Noyes to other places on campus. CAPS advisers held open office hours during winter quarter in Harper East tower, hoping to catch students leaving their mandatory academic advisor meetings. CAPS advisers are also available at weekly sessions at the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

A reinstated program will place Career Peer Advisors (CPA) at the Regenstein Library. CPA, a program that CAPS stopped offering a few years ago, was restarted last fall, training undergraduate students to help other students with their internship and job searches.

According to Krapec, another program, currently in the discussion stages, will allow students to act as liaisons to provide information on CAPS resources to students in housing.

The introduction of new programs has put added stress on CAPS, said Krapec. While the center has made a small expansion of its staff—they temporarily hired a new staff worker to help with the increased demand for Chicago Careers in Law—mostly, current employees have seen an increase in their workload.

“What has resulted for many of us is we simply work longer hours, or do some of our administrative work at home.” Krapec said. “For example, if it’s a day that I do an extra walk-in shift, my appointments for that day are not dropping. It just means that I might be doing some e-mails from home. And that’s okay.”