Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Daily Illini Runs Story about Second Languages and Careers

by Ann Abbott

I spoke to a Daily Illini reporter recently; click here to read the story she wrote.

The piece appeared in the "Spring Career Guide 2010." College students are always interseted in how they can best position themselves in the job market, but students graduating during this economic crisis are even more alert for good tips.

A quick glance at the pieces in the Career Guide shows me that while the importance of service, leadership experiences, languages and study abroad are touched upon throughout, students really need someone to explain to them how to make those pieces of their academic experiences appear truly relevant and useful to potential employers. Just listing them on a resume is not enough.

For example, the article on resumes quotes Pnina Steiner, interim assistant dean of Business Career Services, as saying, "Studying abroad and special skills such as a language or web design help students stand out, she added." That is certainly true! But again, if you don't know how to "stage" these items on your resume so that companies see that you can apply what you learned from those experiences to their needs, you are not maximizing your resume and other job hunt materials.

I teach students how to talk about their Spanish community service learning (CSL) experiences during their job-hunt, but I know that they can use more information in this regard. You can begin by looking at Lección 22 in Comunidades. I am also developing more activities to help students recognize the value of their CSL experiences, see how to transfer the skills they gained in CSL to a professional context, and then communicate that value effectively in their job search materials.

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