Joye Williams: From College to Career

Joye Williams
Joye Williams

After graduating from high school, Joye joined the Navy and then worked for almost 20 years as a letter carrier. Following a long hospital stay, she then earned a number of degrees and a certificate, ending with a Master’s degree in Legal Studies, which she earned online from UIS.

Joye currently works as an ombudsman/paralegal in the Public Benefits Practice Group at LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago). In her job, she helps to protect the rights of residents in assisted living and long-term residential care facilities.

This is the story of Joye’s transition from college to career:

  1. Joye learned about the UIS Career Center as an undergraduate. Joye visited the Career Center briefly for one of her classes—but not actually for help getting a career. She did not realize then how many ways the Career Center could help students and alums get a job.
  2. While working on her master’s degree, she applied for an internship with the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program at UIS. She saw the opportunity posted on CareerConnect, the UIS online career management system.” At that time, I didn’t know how to do anything. I had never worked in the public sector, not after the Navy and almost 20 years as a mail carrier. I didn’t know how to write a resume. I didn’t know what a cover letter was.”

So Joye turned to the Career Center for help with the ILSIP application.

“That’s when Angela Evans (Assistant Director of the Career Center) became my counselor. She took the time and went step by step through the application with me, teaching me how do to everything I needed to.”

  1. Joye didn’t get the ILSIP internship, but she “wasn’t to be deterred.”
    When Joye learned about an internship opportunity in the office of Senator Tammy Duckworth, she went back to the Career Center, armed with her resume and the job description.” Angela and I did a mock interview with questions she created from the job description. When I walked in the room for my interview, I nailed it because the questions in my mock interview were almost identical to what I was actually asked.”
  2. The Duckworth interview gave her confidence.
    “In my internship with Tammy Duckworth, I found out that not only had I learned skills at UIS, I knew how to use them and I was actually good at it. Even the regular staff asked me often for advice. I gained a lot of confidence during my internship. I got that from UIS.
  3. Her first job search:

Confident now, Joye decided she would begin applying for jobs. Before applying for a job with a United States Congressman, however, Joye again went back to the Career Center.

“We polished up my resume, and I wrote a new cover letter. They taught me a lot of more things, like writing thank you letters and making phone calls. I didn’t know about that. They gave me so many tools and were always available to answer my questions.”

Unfortunately, after three interviews, Joye didn’t get the job, but again she was not to be deterred.

  1. Her second job search:
    While working with the Career Center, Joye had signed up for emails that alerted her to job opportunities. Through this she discovered a job posting that looked interesting, working for LAF.” I asked Angela to help me fine-tune my resume again, and she took me step-by-step through what I needed to do, and we did another mock interview.”And now I’m employed!”

This is Joye’s story, but of course, there are many resources you can use when applying for a job—it doesn’t have to be the UIS Career Center. It’s helpful to remember, however, that as a UIS student or an alum, you have the Center and its staff and services available to you.

Joye wants you to know, as well, that you can do everything online that she did through the Career Center, including the mock interviews (which she considers extremely helpful).

“Use all the services available to you at UIS,” she says, “the Learning Hub, your advisors, the Career Center. Take advantage of them—I’m serious! I used them all.”