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Career Services prepares students for internships, interviews, and the right career path

Written by: Cynthia Anaya

University of Houston-Clear Lake isn’t just a place to get an education. It’s a place that helps students and alumni land the careers they spent years preparing for, with the assistance of Career Services. From co-operative education programs and career fairs, to mock interviews and career decision-making counseling, this department offers a wide range of job-centered services online and in person.

Throughout the year, Career Services promotes its services via tabling events, emails, social media, job fairs, classroom presentations, and Navigate, the free app that helps students manage their college life. According to the director of Career Services, Chuck Crocker, the classroom presentations are especially beneficial because they help build trust among students. “When students are made aware of the services via these classroom visits, it’s less scary later when they want to contact our office for help,” he said.

Career Services Helps Students Make Personalized Career Choices 

Choosing a lifelong profession isn’t always easy, and although students may be actively pursuing a degree, they may still lack confidence in their academic choices. “There are many students who don’t stick with the major they chose,” Crocker said. “They may discover that they’re not cut out for it, or they just don’t like it. Career Services can help redirect them to make a more informed decision and learn more about who they are as a person.”

All it takes is one call, email, or visit to the Career Services office to take advantage of this valuable career decision-making service. From there, students will get connected with a career counselor who will provide guidance throughout the decision-making process using free tools like the StrengthsFinder test, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and Strong Interest Inventory.

Abigale Chavez, a junior at UHCL, knows about this service first hand. She contacted Career Services seeking guidance related to her transition to medical school; she’s currently completing her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, Pre-Health, with a Minor in Exercise Science. “I’ve gone in with a question as simple as, ‘How do I go from here, being a junior, wanting to go to into medical school?’ And my career counselor has been able to guide me in the process so far,” she said.

Career Exploration Workshops (CEW) are also available to students who aren’t yet committed to a specific career path. CEWs provide in-depth analyses of students’ career interests, values, and strengths. 

Mock Interviews and Resume Assistance

For the students farther along in their job trajectory, Career Services offers resume and cover letter assistance, as well as mock interviews. “We probably do 60-80 mock interviews a year, but we’d love to do more,” Crocker said. “We see hundreds of students for resumes, and that’s good, but to close the deal, you’ve got to interview! You can do the mock interview virtually or in person, and you can do it as often as you want.”

Students have the option to be interviewed by a staff member in Career Services or an actual employer, both of whom can provide valuable feedback after the interview. They can request a mock interview via phone or email, or in person at the front desk.

The UHCL Career Closet is another resource available to students who are ready for the interview portion of their career journey. This service allows students to obtain new and gently used professional attire for free.

Co-op Program and Job-Finding Resources

The UHCL Cooperative Education Program (Co-op) is another Career Services opportunity that students can take advantage of. This program is a planned learning process that integrates classroom studies with supervised work experience. In addition to gaining experience in their field of study, students can receive academic credit, build a network of industry contacts, and develop professional skills.

Students can also benefit from Jobs4Hawks, an online job board that lists dozens of employment and internship opportunities, and Handshake, an online recruiting platform. UHCL alumna Lauren Lowe can attest to the benefits of these resources. A Hewlett Packard Enterprise  recruiter contacted her via Handshake and asked her to apply for a position. Today, she works as a product to demand messaging and content development program manager for HPE.

These two sites helped Chavez land a job as well as a student worker. She’s currently employed at UHCL’s Student Success Center, after her career counselor helped her prepare her resume and set up her Handshake account.

Career Fairs

Once a student is committed to a career path, with a strong resume in hand, they are encouraged to attend a career fair. But even if they’re not fully committed and still feeling uncertain, they can still attend and benefit from the experience. Career fairs are held every fall and spring semester. Upcoming fairs include the All Majors Career Fair on September 27, and the Teacher Career Fair on November 9.

In addition to counseling related to her medical school journey, Chavez received assistance from her career counselor related to career fairs. “There were times when I needed help with fair tips and things from the Career Closet, and sure enough, my career counselor was able to give me some great advice that I will do my best to keep in mind for the future,” she said.

To learn more about Career Services, visit the Career Services webpage, call 281-283-2590, email careerservices@uhcl.edu, or stop by the office at SSCB 3109.