Applying for your future

Career Center hosts annual career expo.

Grecia Sanchez, Staff Reporter

The University Career Center will host its annual career fair on Sept. 22 at the Don Haskins Center, where approximately 125­-130 employers are available for students who are looking for a part-time or full-time position, or a summer internship.

Associate director of the UCC Craig Thompson, encourages every student at UTEP to come even if they are not pursuing an engineering career or if they are a freshman.

“A lot of people think these (career fairs) are done mostly for the engineers and this is not the case. This fair is for all majors and all classifications are welcomed, even freshmen,” said Thompson. “Come and meet people face-to-face because this contact is invaluable.”

Thompson emphasized the opportunity the career fair represents, as a  opportune place for students to ask questions based on their own profile, meet mentors, their companies, ask for advice for their career path and start networking.

“I’m always encouraging students to make their own lists of companies and also a list of questions for them,”  Thompson said. “They will give you more info about the field and maybe specific tips on how to become successful at it.”

In the 2015 cycle, 2,478 students from all academic colleges attended different career expos, where 133 employers were present. According to the Career Expo 2015 Final Report, 52.58 percent of 407 students felt considerably more confident after attending a career fair.

Oscar Veliz is in the computer science doctoral program at UTEP, and has attended since he was a freshman. He also attended conferences and other events hosted by the UCC.

“I actually got my first internship offer after attending a career fair at UTEP when I was a junior,” Veliz said. “I met Yvonne, a UTEP graduate recruiting for Exxon Mobil, who after introductions, a scan of my résumé, and a few back and forth questions asked if I would be interested in an interview the next day, to which I happily said yes.”

Veliz had an hour-long interview at the Career Center. He remembers feeling exhausted after the behavioral and technical questions the interviewer asked.

“Gerallyn (the interviewer) asked me to wait in the room for a while and then she spoke with the recruiting team,” Veliz said. “After some time, Yvonne came in and said that I had impressed the team and that I was being recommended for a second interview. Although, if possible, they wanted to skip the on-site and recommend me for an offer.”

A few weeks later, Veliz received an email with an internship offer, which allowed him to work that summer in Houston and develop software for a real research and development project with help from other scientists and engineers. According to Veliz, the internship program also had fun intern events and professional development workshops scattered throughout.

“I took a chance when I went by their booth, and I admit (Exxon Mobil Corp.) weren’t high on my list because you don’t think computer science when you hear Exxon. After meeting Yvonne and asking her what do CS interns do is when she piqued my interest, telling me about their grand computational challenges and need for CS folks,” Veliz said. “I never would have found that out from their website. That is why going to career fairs, meeting with recruiters, asking them questions and sometimes taking chances are so important.”

Besides the career fair, UCC will also offer informational sessions beginning Sept. 21. These will target specific companies such as Exxon Mobil, Microsoft Corporation, Cummins, Naval Air Systems Commands among others.

According to Thompson, these sessions are excellent opportunities to talk directly to the company about uncomfortable issues such as relocation expenses, salaries and specific positions they offer.

Esteban Avalos, a senior majoring in operations and supply management, has attended career fairs every single year since he was a freshman. He said he has gained network opportunities from multiple companies because of the career fairs.

“It’s never too early to attend these career fairs because even though you are a freshman, you get familiar with that organization and once you get into the upper-level classifications you already know more about their company,” Avalos said. “This way, when you speak to them again, they will be impressed by the fact that you know about them and this is when they begin to offer you things.”

For more information about the employers attending the Career Fair and the schedule for the Information Sessions held at the Career Center, visit the Jobmine website.

Grecia Sanchez may be reached at [email protected]