Campus Conversation: Gail Rooney

Campus Conversation: Gail Rooney

The academic department with the top placement rate at the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences last year?

English, where 78 percent of 2017 graduates found jobs and 12 percent went on to graduate school, for a 90 percent overall rate, according to GAIL ROONEY, director of the UI's Career Center.

In this week's podcast, Rooney talked with Julie Wurth about this year's job market (very good), what's hot (information science, in any field), what employers are looking for, and the all-important internship experience.

Here's a sample:

Do history majors have a tougher road than somebody in business or engineering?

"Yes and no. Obviously, given our technology world and the value of engineering and some business, there may be more obvious opportunities. But our 'Illini Success' report indicates that students of all majors get jobs.

"I think one of the distinctions is that engineering graduates often go for engineering positions. History majors, economics majors, psychology majors can go into a variety of areas. Most companies are still looking for people who can do critical thinking, can problem solve, take in data, make conclusions — and those are all things our liberal arts students do very well.

"Sometimes, the engineering, maybe accounting (firms) are more visible in our on-campus recruiting. For that English major or that science major or history, they may have to go contact the Field Museum in order to do those jobs. Their way of doing it, the work to do it, may be different, but there are still jobs.

"We're also hearing from employers that they want innovative, creative teams, that not only have technology talent but also critical thinking talent, people who can think outside the boundaries, who have different perspectives. And that takes a variety of different disciplines."

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that English majors had the highest placement rate on the UI campus.