Q: Why do I feel like I am up against other competition when I attend job clubs? I am not considered competitive in my general thinking. How do people conquer the uncomfortable feeling of hopelessness when attending meetings where everyone is rather frustrated by the same thing?
A: Overcoming the feeling of helplessness in the group can be difficult, especially in this current economy. If your group is being facilitated by someone, I would suggest speaking with them about your concern and asking how you could work together to achieve a more positive environment. If your group is not being moderated by anyone, I would voice your concerns with the group and see if you can get the group to come to an agreement to try to make the environment more positive.
With the tighter job market, it will take longer for everyone’s ultimate goal of a new job to come to fruition. Individually or with your group, take satisfaction in the small successes:
You will also need to take time away from the search and the news to recharge your own batteries. Find an activity that helps you relax and rejuvenate and commit to taking time out of your week for that activity. Be open with friends and family about your goals, your progress and your frustration. They can offer both support and advice.
Change a behavior for the better, change a thought for the better and you will keep moving forward.
If you would like to discuss this further with an adviser, please contact the UIAA Alumni Career Center at 312/575-7838.
Q: Why should I pay for job postings when I already use the web for free?
A: You don't have to. The high quality job postings offered by the Alumni Career Center are now available at no additional charge to Alumni Association members who have graduated from any University of Illinois campus. (Members who are currently enrolled students should also continue to work with their on campus offices for job leads.)
Q: I'm looking to improve my public speaking skills. Can you recommend any books or seminars to do this?
A: Public speaking skills are best improved through practice, practice, practice. Do this in a friendly and encouraging environment such as Toastmasters International. Located throughout the world, Toastmasters clubs consist of 20 to 30 people who meet once a week to practice their public speaking skills. If this doesn't interest you, try volunteer work. By speaking to groups about a cause or interest you believe in, you will improve your public speaking skills.
This question and answer originally appeared in the January/February 2005 edition of UIC Alumni Magazine.
Q: I am a senior criminal justice major at UIS Peoria. I am age 55 and would like to know if I would qualify for probation officer and other possible jobs in this major? I also have a paralegal degree and would like to work in the criminal justice field. Where are the jobs in this degree?
A: Criminal Justice-related jobs can go from active physical jobs such as police officer, private detective, forest preserve officer or probation officer to desk jobs such as loss prevention manager, emergency preparedness coordinator and insurance claims paralegal.
I would suggest a visit to the Alumni Directory, looking up Criminal Justice alumni from UIS and UIC. Get started by contacting those alumni in jobs that sound interesting. Ask questions about a typical day's activities and about hiring practices including age limits (if any) and physical activity requirements of the job. On site job shadowing might be beneficial as well.
Your ability to get a criminal justice-related job will be dependent upon previous related experience (can you volunteer now to do something criminal-justice-related?), your enthusiasm for and knowledge of your new work and your ability to communicate that to prospective employers, much more than upon age. However, some government/public sector jobs do have age limits and they will vary from position to position. Now is the time to network for information. As a senior, graduating probably in the next year, it is time to narrow down your target positions and find out what you need to be doing now to move closer to your goals.
Q: Does the career center have salary information? If not, can you point me in the direction of some (free) reliable resources — either online or in print? As I move into the next stage of my career, I have no idea how much I should ask for.
Q: I am a graduate of both the Urbana and Chicago campuses. I received my B.S. in I/O Psychology and an MBA from Chicago. I have over 10 years experience in Human Resources but have been out of the work force for nearly 6 years raising my children. (It is time) for me to return to work. I am confident that my "softer" skills have actually improved in my absence as I have remained active in volunteer work and fund-raising for my children's school. I know given the opportunity I can easily jump right back into the work force, unfortunately I'm finding employers hesitant given my long absence. What suggestions do you have for someone in my position?
Q: I am currently thinking about attending graduate school and would like more information about my field and related programs.
In order to gather more information about your chosen field, we recommend
doing information interviews with people working in the field. They can comment
on trends, skills needed and appropriate degree programs. If you become a member
of the Alumni Association you will be able to access the UIAA Alumni Directory
to search for assistance offered by alumni about professions, communities and
attending the University. If you are not sure of how to network there are also
tips and tools in the FAQ section of the Alumni Directory pages. If you want
to become a member of the Alumni Association, you may apply and pay for your
membership online at the Become A Member link at the top of any UIAA Web page
or call 217/333-1471.
For more information about University of Illinois graduate programs, we recommend
contacting the graduate colleges or the departments directly. The campus Web
sites are www.uic.edu, www.uis.edu, www.illinois.edu. For information about graduate
programs at other institutions, consult Peterson's
Graduate Schools in the U.S., 2004 or the Continuing Education section of
our Virtual Career Center.
To more fully discuss your decision and next steps with an Alumni Career
Center staff member, we suggest a one-hour phone appointment for $40 if you become
a member (advising sessions can be done over the phone). You can also visit our
website at uiaa.org/careers for resources and information.
E-mailed questions from University of Illinois alumni will be answered within 2-3 business days by the Alumni Career Center staff, unless technological difficulties arise.
Questions about locating resources, about the Alumni Career Center's services, and simple job search questions can typically be answered effectively through e-mail. Alumni with more detailed or complex questions will most likely be referred to the advising services offered for a small fee by the Alumni Career Center.