Career Services
A Job Today, A Career Tomorrow

Parents » Frequently Asked questions

Questions and Answers

Q: Why should a student visit Career Services?

A: When new students first visit us, their first concerns are about part-time jobs. College is an increasingly costly venture and most of our students need jobs to supplement any other contributions that are being made to their educational efforts. Many students then take advantage of the "objective ears" of our counselors and advisors as they discuss concerns and ideas about majors and possible career paths. They seek advice on job search issues and a second set of eyes to look over a resume. They learn to make contacts at job fairs and special speaker presentations. They try out potential work sites through our Job Shadowing and Internship opportunities. And, if they successfully engage in all of the previous endeavors, they will very likely interview in our office for full-time, professional positions and then ask for advice on how to handle multiple employment offers and negotiate starting salaries!! So, why not visit Career Services??

Q: What is the best way for my student to secure a part-time job, either on- or off-campus?

A: The first step for any first-year student seeking employment is to use their new student I.D. to register with Career Connection our internet database of job listing. Once in, a student can access the on- and off-campus jobs that are currently available, and search according to job type. However, note that, because of budgetary uncertainty, many on-campus departments will not list their jobs until after August 1 for the Fall semester (mid-January for Spring, and mid-May for Summer). At any rate, a student can get a head start, in registering and in knowing what's available. Then, he or she can apply for the position. And, remember, Career Services advisors can provide guidance in writing a resume or cover letter, or preparing for an interview.

Q: Is a student job different from an internship and how important are these experiences?

A: The average student who works part-time uses their hourly wage to help supplement college expenses. An internship is different from a part-time job because it refers to real world experience in a desired career field. In an internship, learning takes place while students gain practical and or professional work experience. Most internships are exploratory in nature and short term, but some may be more involved. They may be paid or unpaid and many are completed for academic credit. An internship can be 10-20 hours a week, lasting three to six months, or full-time during the summer.
Getting an internship is an essential and worthwhile step towards investing in a student's future. Making a decision to gain experience in his/her major or field of interest is the key to unlocking their success in the professional world. Internships increase a student's marketability and experience may be the single most important factor in making informed career decisions.
A students classroom experience is great for building a solid foundation for their future, but to truly understand what they will actually be doing while on the job requires the internship experience. Internships make it possible for students to:

  • Explore career alternatives and choices
  • Reality test their chosen field
  • Gain practical work experience related to his/her major
  • Develop both technical and career-related skills
  • Build their fist network of professional contacts
  • Develop self-confidence and professional credibility

An internship can give a student the "edge" when being considered for interviewing and can be "a foot in the door" to a full-time job upon graduation. Career Services is here to help guide students along this exciting path of exploration and discovery.

Q: How can a student find a job after graduation?

A: The Career Services office is one of many resources students can use as they search for a job. It is the responsibility of the student to conduct the multifaceted job search. Students may visit with a Career Advisor to assist with resumes, cover letters, practice interviews and discuss job search strategies.
In addition, students have the opportunity to attend job fairs during each academic year and participate in On-Campus Interviewing in which they can meet representatives from a diverse group of companies. There are also various workshops on topics such as, Interviewing Skills, Utilizing a Job Fair, and Employment with the Federal Government are offered each semester.

Q: Who recruits at UTPA?

A: UTPA hosts a diverse group of employers in Texas and nationwide on campus. Many of these employers utilize the different services offered such as posting their jobs in our Bronc Career Connection system. Employers representing business, non-profit, federal, state, local governmental agencies, and school districts participate. Many employers who recruit UTPA students have been listed on Forbes 500 list as well as the Top 100 Companies to work for, such as P&G, State Farm Insurance, IBM, Target and many more.

Q: What do employers look for in a candidate?

A: Employers look for students who are highly motivated, have great communication skills and have proven leadership and teamwork experience. Employers also consider the student’s academic background and depending upon the student’s major, the GPA can be very important. Throughout the interview process, employers are also looking at appearance, comfort level during the interview and the student’s initiative in the job search process.
Students are encouraged to work with a Career Advisors to master their job search strategy and their interview skills. The job search process should begin long before graduation approaches.

Q: What should a student be doing if they are interested in graduate school?

A: Anyone interested in attending graduate school should begin laying the groundwork for post-graduate studies soon after they begin their undergraduate work. There are many pieces that go into applying to graduate school, including the application itself, letters of recommendation, your score on the entrance exam, your GPA, your extracurricular activities, and usually an essay stating your intention within that profession. The advisors at Career Services can help a student in presenting most of this information, especially the essay and interview components.

Q:How can I help my student become a more marketable candidate for jobs or graduate school?

A: Many students think of Career Services as a place to visit as they near graduation, however, it’s important for them to visit us in the early stages of their college career since we can provide assistance from their first day on-campus. Encourage your student to utilize all the services beginning with deciding on a major, locating a part-time job, securing an internship or job shadowing experience, deciding on graduate school, resume assistance, job search strategies and through all of their career planning.

Q:How can I help the Career Services office?

A:You can help by being a great resource for your own child, by serving as a Job Shadowing resource for other students, and by checking to see if your employer actively recruits UTPA students for summer jobs, internships, and full-time positions. If they do not, please give us their contact information and we will follow up to make them an offer that they can’t refuse!!

Q:How can I help my student in the career decision-making process?

A: Encourage your student to assume responsibility for their career decisions.
Help facilitate your student’s identification of his or her passions and innate talents, through open and honest communication.
Talk to your student about what they want to study while in school and what they want to do after they graduate.
Emphasize the importance of experiential learning (part-time job, job shadowing, internship).
Advise your student to write a resume.

Q:Can I visit Career Services to discuss my student’s career development?

A:We are always available to talk with parents about career development issues and we welcome your visits to our office. Please call ahead to make appointments to visit with our staff members, as we are usually very busy serving students. We are restricted from discussing specifics about your son or daughter’s counseling sessions without their written consent. We encourage adult-to-adult conversations between you and your child concerning their career development issues. So, if they have had a counseling session in our office, it is a good idea for you to ask for a summary of that session and any action plans that may have resulted from it. But, you want to ask that question in a tone that reflects your respect of their right to make their own decisions about their career path.

Q:What have past graduates gone on to do after graduation?

A:Many graduates have gone on to have successful careers within many different career areas. Many students select positions locally as well as positions nationwide. Graduates have also chosen to attend graduate school to fulfill their thirst for more knowledge in a particular subject.

Q:What other resources are available for parents and family members?

A:Parents and other family members can continue to explore this area of our web site and find other helpful information, including a more complete rundown of our services for students, our inspiring Student Success Stories section. Also linked off our web site are several sites that might be of interest for parents, including the Occupational Outlook Handbook (U.S. Labor Department overview of careers in this country), the quarterly NACE Job Outlook surveys.