job search

The Perry-Castaneda Library opened an interview room this semester on the first floor of the library, where students can hold interviews with potential employers through high-definition video conferencing.

On a loan from Information Technology Services, the technology available in the room is there to give students a greater advantage over other students in the job search and provide convenience for interviews that require video technology. 

“Hopefully this location will be more convenient than other options for access to HD video equipment, if access to such equipment is a requirement for an interview, and they will be able to interact with prospective employers more easily,” said Jenifer Flaxbart, head librarian of reference and information services for the PCL.

Flaxbart said the new room will provide a campus-based option to interview locally for what could be a local, national or international job opportunity. 

“Interview tips and guidelines are included with the instructions for the equipment, and the room provides students with a professional-looking setting from which to interview,” Flaxbart said.

The technology is on loan from ITS this semester, but Flaxbart hopes to offer long-term support for the system through efforts by University of Texas Libraries and ITS.

“I certainly wish technology like this was available to me during my undergraduate years,” said Reymundo Ramos, director of academic advising and career counseling with the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence. “With the job market still tight, this could certainly help students save in travel expenses while possibly expanding the number of interviews they can have.”

Undeclared freshman Erin Duncan said she greatly appreciates this new resource provided to students. Duncan said she thinks young college students often go into job interviews feeling nervous and unsure of themselves, despite possessing all of the traits that make them viable candidates for any position.

“I definitely think it’s a valuable addition to campus, because job interviews are intimidating and if students are in their own element they will perform better in the interview,” Duncan said. “I would definitely use it because I myself get nervous in job interviews and it would be in a much more comfortable setting.” 

The room can be reserved through Library Copier Services or by phone at 512-495-4239. 

Printed on Thursday, February 7, 2013 as: Skype-equipped PCL room aids with job interviews

This story was corrected after its original posting. Various career services on campus offer interview services.

The University is taking one digital step forward with its graduate career services this year by subscribing to a new program aiming to help students in the job search while in college.

Office of Graduate Studies assistant dean John Dalton said along with offering workshops for career services, UT has recently added a new program called the Versatile PhD program. The Versatile PhD program is an online career service that offers an online community for students to discuss issues and information and help students in humanities find jobs in non-academic fields.

In addition to the Versatile PhD program, the University is also adding career service workshops. The Versatile PhD program provides real-life examples of resumes, career biographies and panel discussions. The program specifically serves students who are not going into the academic field.

Dalton said that often, students start school with an academic career in mind, but this can change.

“Sometimes students get into their Ph.D. programs and realize they may want to do something else,” Dalton said. “When students make that career change, it is difficult sometimes to find the proper resources to help advise them and guide them into their new career choices.”

Paula Chambers, Versatile PhD program founder, said doctoral students often have trouble finding a job outside of academic fields.

Chambers said employers often perceive Ph.D. graduates as employees that may have poor social skills or bad group working skills. This makes it more difficult for students applying for jobs, she said.

“Many businesses are hesitant to hire [Ph.D. graduates], because they think a Ph.D. would prefer an academic job and will only stay until they get an academic job,” Chambers said. “There is a perception gap that the [Ph.D. graduates] have to overcome.”

She said another issue graduate students face is fear when they decide to transition from pursuing an academic career to a non-academic career. Chambers said students often feel pressure to pursue academic careers because those are regarded more highly by their peers. Because of this, admitting and deciding to pursue a non-academic career is often a scary thought.

The online community can help students facing these fear, she said.

The Versatile PhD program caters mostly to students studying humanities. Students, Chambers said, are normally underserved at their universities. Starting July 2013, Versatile PhD will begin to help students in the science, technology, engineering and math fields as well, she said.

Stacey Rudnick, director of MBA career management at the McCombs School of Business, said the business school has one of the top job placement rates in the nation. Last year, she said 93 percent of students had job offers three months after graduation.

Rudnick said online career service programs like Versatile PhD are good additions to career services.

“I see some aspects of job searching moving to online and web-based,” Rudnick said. “I don’t believe any of that is going to replace the need for in-person advising or the need for companies to meet one-on-one. It is important, but it can only go so far.”

Dalton said he recommends graduate students get started on their career search as soon as possible.

“Once you graduate, a lot of the University’s resources are no longer available to you,” Dalton said. “If you’re not thinking about a career ‘til the end of your degree process, you’re very late in the game.”

Chambers will visit UT Oct. 11 to speak about the Versatile PhD program.

Printed on Monday, October 1, 2012 as: UT subscribes to graduate career service

With 50,000 job openings for 1.7 million graduating college students, finding a job in state has become more difficult. (Photo Illustration)

Photo Credit: Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

Professionals in crisp suits with BlackBerrys to their ears hurried along Wall Street, fueling that distinguished adrenaline of go-go-go, cutthroat competition and ingenuity. Blocks away, in a cramped lot across the World Trade Center memorial, a group of NYU students camp out for Occupy Wall Street, telling tourists they are protesting in hopes of entering a better workforce when they graduate. Somewhere between the angry college students and the working professionals is me — a journalism senior who, until last Tuesday, had no clear idea what was in store post-graduation.

According to Bankrupting America, a project by the nonpartisan nonprofit organization Public Notice, 1.7 million college students graduated in May to approximately 50,000 job openings. And with unemployment rising over 9 percent, this year is evidently not the best time for job hunting.

My recent job search in New York held all of the fluttering emotions bubbling in our nation: confusion, distress, hope and perseverance. It’s easy to nag and complain and wait for someone to do something about the problem, but the best way out of any mess is to find the loopholes and take initiative.

Back in September, after no progress in my job search, on a whim I decided to book a trip to New York. My plan was to meet with anyone who would talk to me. I wasn’t going in thinking I was going to leave with a job. I just wanted to get my name out there.

For five days in October, I met with recruiters, people in the business and old friends and UT alumni, showing my portfolio, asking questions about working in the city and leaving my business card behind to narrow that gap of living in New York from dream to reality.

While thankfully, I did land an amazing opportunity with a music media company, the agony of the experience still traumatizes me. To help ease the experience for those in similar shoes, below are some considerations to keep in mind while looking for your own job outside of the Lone Star state.

Take Initiative

Consider booking a trip to a city you desire to work in and spending a few days to meet with recruiters for informational interviews, alumni and anyone in the business that could give insight to the field. The trip would also allow you to familiarize with the city and better decide whether or not you could even stand to live in it.

From airfare and boarding to subways and coffee dates, the trip will be costly. Try to reduce the cost by staying with a friend who lives in the city or couchsurfing, buying groceries instead of eating out and walking shorter blocks. Spending money without any guarantee of a job is a gamble, but in putting your name and work out there, you’ll gain more than you lose.

In the weeks leading up to the visit, continue applying for jobs in that city, but include also in your cover letters the dates you’ll be visiting. This can compel employers to reply back faster and it shows you are serious about their company and relocating.

For any company or organizations that sparks your interest, reach out to human resource or anyone who works there and ask for an informational interview.

UT has one of the largest alumni networks — use that to your advantage. Using the Texas Exes database or Facebook group, arrange coffee meet-ups with a few alumni to ask about their own job search, relocation and career. It doesn’t hurt to ask them to pass along your business card or resume either.

Be Willing to Leave Home

Obviously, finding a job locally or in state is more cost-effective and easier to manage. An interview is only a drive away. The Texas connection makes small talks easier. And chances are, you know someone who knows someone that works for that company, but Texas isn’t always as big as it seems. But while jobs are fruitful here, the cost of living in Texas is desirable and home is only a highway away, Texas does not offer as many opportunities or competitive edge for all careers, such as in media and the arts. Sometimes you need to leave in order to really appreciate what you had.

Be Willing to Work for Free

In general, with jobs limited, graduates will have to settle. This includes earning a lot less than expected, working unfavorable hours, taking an position you’re overqualified for or temporary position, working outside of interest area, and/or receiving no health benefits.

According to a study on recent college graduates and their struggle in the troubled economy from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, 46 percent of those first jobs are stepping-stones into a career. This includes taking on paid or unpaid internships, freelance, volunteer and overqualified positions.

While it’s nice to get paid for doing what you love, simply getting to do what you are most passionate about may just have to suffice for the time being. This could mean working a non-college degree-required position to pay the bills. For instance, a good friend and former Texan colleague of mine busts her grind working double shifts at a restaurant so she can pay for a small bedroom in Brooklyn while she interns at an oral history project.

In the same case as my friend, I will be working an additional non-media related job to pay for the high cost of living in New York while I pursue my dreams. It’s not going to be easy and there will be days where I’ll want to run back to Texas, but I know it’ll be worth it.

Printed on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 as: Tips to conduct successful job search