EL PASO, Texas — When it became clear that the spring 2020 semester would deviate from its traditional conclusion, the staff at The University of Texas at El Paso’s University Career Center acted quickly to shift their valuable services to a virtual format after UTEP transitioned to distance learning in March.
The staff launched the Virtual Career Center, which includes links to resume and cover letter virtual reviews, virtual interview tips, links to job postings, and video tutorials. Faculty members can find information on professional development workshops and links to academic college liaisons, while employers can post jobs and internships.
“In the midst of this global pandemic, we want to ensure that we do everything we can to help our talented and motivated students reach their goals,” said Louie Rodriguez, associate vice president for divisional operations and strategic initiatives, who oversees the University Career Center staff. “We are working to help our students navigate these unprecedented circumstances and feel empowered with the knowledge and skills they gained during their time at UTEP.”
University Career Center Director Betsy Castro-Duarte said the consultations they provide students on virtual interviews is not that much of a departure from their other programming throughout the year, such as their Dinner Etiquette events. “We teach you the mechanics so that you can tell your story to an employer,” she said. “Same thing with technology. You need to be able to be at ease and have an idea of what you’re going to say with some of those common interview questions.”
After a consultation with her college liaison, senior marketing major Evelyn Lopez was accepted into AmeriCorps’ BRACE Play, Learn, Grow Summer Camp in Pensacola, Florida.
“[The advisor] was super helpful and professional, and not too long after our meeting, I was selected as a summer associate for the camp,” Lopez said.
Staff members have also been busy this spring creating college-specific guides titled “Graduating in the Time of COVID-19,” which detail how students can plan for long-term success, proactively search for a job and build their skill sets in this context.
Students, including those who have earned their degrees, have an opportunity to join more virtual events, including a virtual career fair June 16. Staff will continue to assist students throughout the summer, and they are posting regular updates on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Castro-Duarte emphasized the importance of students taking advantage of the resources and guidance available to them at the Career Center, which can help give them the agency to be proactive in a volatile market.
“Students need to realize that this is something that’s not within their control, but what they can control is what they do with this time,” she said.