Frequently Asked Questions
You are not alone in making career decisions and do not have to have it all figured out. Career planning is a journey…we went through it too! In Career Development and Internships, we are here to help you and provide support at different touchpoints throughout your UIC experience.
--Elizabeth Hererra, Director & Lauren Gallagher, Assistant Director
What is Career Development and Internships?
We provide guidance and support in major and career exploration to help students explore their interests, skills, and values while also helping students to gain experience in various industries through internship guidance. Students have access to our services through indivudal appointments, group advising, and workshops. We host larger events where the goal is to connect students with their peers and professionals. We offer a range of online resources that students can use before they meet with us to help guide our conversation.
What kinds of topics or questions can I discuss with a Career Advisor?
Students come to appointments with all types of questions or concerns. We work with students who:
- Select majors or careers based on family suggestions or expectations, but discover once they are at UIC that they are interested in different areas.
- Start with one major or career path but realize they don’t like the coursework and enjoy other subject areas.
- Think they have to major in a specific area to be competitive and get into a specific industry.
- Don’t know where or how to start deciding on a major or career, have too many interests or feel like they have no interests.
- Worry they won’t find a job or earn enough money.
- Want to do an internship but need to work, or they don’t have time to do an internship.
- Unsure how to start the internship search process.
- Have interests that change and need to make decisions about careers that may impact the family.
These are all common topics that we discuss with students everyday!
What does a typical appointment look like, and how long does it generally last?
Appointments are generally 1 hour long and are usually in person. Typically, there is no set agenda and we create a non-judgemental and safe space to have an informal conversation about major exploration, career decision making and internships.
Everyone is unique. Students come in with different starting points, so depending on the students’ needs and questions, each conversation may look different. We will most likely ask what you hope to accomplish during the session and what you will find most beneficial. The focus of the conversation will likely include learning about your interests and strengths and what resources will be most helpful. We will also discuss action steps to help you get started.
When should I meet with a Career Advisor, and how will it help me?
Ideally, students should make an appointment during their first-year at UIC. We encourage students to come early on because this is not a one-stop-shop; this is a journey, and we want to build relationships with students, so they feel comfortable asking questions.
During your first and second years at UIC, we can help with major exploration, ways to gain experience, and how to connect coursework to interests. In the second year, we can discuss how to start getting ready for internships. In the third and fourth years, we can help you secure internships that relate to your career interests.
In addition to meeting with a career advisor, we encourage students to attend workshops or events such as: Finding your Fit, Minute Majors, Exploring Career Skills and Values, and our Professional Development Series (resume writing, internship search, LinkedIn etc.).
Aside from all the career-related resources and support we provide, we act as liaisons to the campus and professional world. We can help students navigate different resources on campus and beyond.
If you are nervous about scheduling an appointment, you can talk to a friend who has met with us or come to an event. Connect with us on LinkedIn or ask your academic advisor to refer you.
Please remember we are here to provide support throughout your time at UIC!
What steps should I take to prepare for a meeting with a Career Advisor, and what should I expect?
While students are welcome to attend a session without doing any work beforehand, taking some time to complete the following steps can be helpful and lead to a productive conversation.
Before an appointment:
- If you have a copy of your resume, print a copy and bring it with you.
- Check out the Career Development and Internships website. It has many FREE online resources, including assessments that help you identify interests, skills, values, strengths, and engage in reflection. These are helpful assessments that we can review with you to start the conversations around career planning. We will let you guide the conversation, but the assessment is a tool that allows us to ask better, more specific questions.
- If you decide to complete a career assessment, take a few minutes to go over your responses. Be sure to print it out and bring it with you to your appointment.
- Come with any questions you may have about the assessment or in general. Remember that we are open and happy to meet you at your starting point. During your first meeting, we are interested in learning more about who you are and getting to know you!
During an appointment:
- Come with an open mind and ready to talk!
- Take notes during the appointment.
- If you took an assessment and brought it with you, we may ask you to share your thoughts, including whether anything surprised you or if you found any of the questions challenging.
- We may also do some goal planning to explore what you hope to get out of a session and the kind of information or supports you are looking for. It is important to remember that 1 hour won’t solve everything, so making additional appointments is necessary!
After an appointment:
- You will likely have homework after you leave your meeting. This may include exploring career related resources and/or attending a workshop. We may also email some links or notes from the meeting that we want you to review.
- Be proud for taking the first step and meeting with a career advisor. If there are follow-up items that are difficult to complete, let us know so we can help. Or if things are not going well, let us know that too!
- As you make your way through the list of items, be sure to keep us updated and informed.
- Be sure to check your emails for messages from Lauren and Liz and keep them updated on your progress!