How to Make the Most Out of English Career Connections
October 5, 2022
The English Career Connections conference is coming up. This is a great event for English majors of any year, so be sure to sign up now!
It is a networking opportunity for students interested in English-related careers, such as publishing, communications, teaching, the non-profit sector, and law. At this event, you could discover your future career or even learn about or meet a future employer. Learn from professionals in the field about their experiences post graduation.
This free conference provides great information about potential careers for your degree. This event will take place Oct. 27 from 6:30 to 7 p.m. in Shanks 370/380 and Oct. 28 from 12:30 to 6 p.m. at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Join us for dinner on Thursday and lunch on Friday.
To get the most out of English Career Connections, here are some tips to help you prepare.
There are lots of information sessions to choose from, so it’s important to choose carefully. Making the choice between two sessions in one time slot that both seem appealing or beneficial can be difficult, so consider your priorities and prior knowledge. Rank what’s most important for you and what you believe will give you the information you need for your future path. Really think about what interests you the most and in what area you have the most questions. Alternatively, you can select a panel based on your knowledge of a subject. If attempting to choose between two panels in one time slot, but you are already knowledgeable or familiar with the subject of one, selecting the less familiar topic will provide new ideas and potential opportunities.
Also, keep in mind that this conference happens every year. If you are returning to Virginia Tech next year, you can sign up again and take part in other panels in the future.
Come ready to talk. During lunch on Friday, you’ll share a table with members of the Department of English Distinguished Alumni Board and faculty members. Following this are roundtable discussions with different board members and information Q and A sessions. You’ll have lots of opportunities to meet and talk with a majority of the board members, so be ready to have conversations with them about the English field as well as their experiences in the major and in the job field after graduation.
Bring questions with you to the event. Beyond just conversations and conference programming, bring your own questions to ask, ensuring that you gain all the information you want and need from this event. This is the perfect opportunity to learn from people who have been in your position. While at lunch, the roundtable discussions, and during the sessions, there are opportunities to ask questions of the alumni board and faculty. They are willing and able to answer these regarding the field. Think about what you really want to know and form your questions around that. If you have a specific career path in mind, this is your opportunity to find out how to best enter it or what work is like in certain careers. If you are unsure of exactly what path you are looking for beyond college, ask about their journeys and how they landed in their current jobs. Come up with several questions to prepare yourself to find out everything you can about potential next steps in your career search.
Be Willing to Listen
Be ready to listen. There will be lots of expert advice and information provided throughout the day in sessions and roundtable discussions that will help you in your journey as an English major. Taking notes on what someone says and recommends will ensure that you remember the important points you hear throughout the day.
Bring your resume. While this is not required, it could be handy to have a copy or two of your resume should the need for it arise. Maybe someone will pass it along or want to look it over for a potential job. This is a networking opportunity, so there is a chance that an interaction could lead to a job (though you should not go around specifically asking for board members and faculty to give you one), so having your resume ready to show could be beneficial to you at this event. It is probably better to have it and not need it than the other way around.
And remember, the dress code is business casual. For men, this can look like a polo with khakis, a shirt and tie (no jacket is required, nor is the tie, but this is up to you), or something equivalent. This can be dress pants or a knee-length skirt with a nice shirt or blouse for women. For both, close-toed dress shoes and minimal jewelry is best.
Written by Megan Richardson, a senior majoring in creative writing and professional and technical writing.