Amid uncertain job market, UTEP Career Center offers students guidance


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According to Workforce Solutions Borderplex, which analyzes data from the El Paso-region labor market, 4,655 unemployment claims were made from Aug. 1 through Aug. 23.

Isaiah Ramirez, Staff Reporter

With millions of jobs lost because of the pandemic, starting a career has become more of a challenge for graduates barely entering the job market.

UTEP’s University Career Center has been helping students adapt to these tough times through guidance on how to become better candidates for job openings.

“The first thing I usually tell students is that this is a good opportunity for you to really assess what your strengths are and what you can bring to your position,” said Betsy Castro-Duarte, director of the Career Center. “The next thing I tell them is to use their networks and I tell students if you are not sure who to reach out for help, one easy place is the Career Center.”

The pandemic has sent shockwaves throughout the economy, causing an uptick in the unemployment rate.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the unemployment rate skyrocketed from four percent in January 2020 to 15% in April 2020.

A silver lining is that the national unemployment rate has steadily decreased to 10%, data from the Department of Labor shows.

“We’ve had people come to us and tell us they have lost their jobs and besides networking we suggest simple tools such as LinkedIn, which is a professional network,” Castro-Duarte said. “If you got furloughed or maybe the project you were working on got canceled, this is the time for you to connect with UTEP alumni and maximize your affiliation to the university.”

In the early stages of the pandemic, Market Watch indicates that more than 22 million jobs were lost and so far, less than half of those have returned to their jobs.

According to Workforce Solutions Borderplex, which analyzes data from the El Paso-region labor market, 4,655 unemployment claims were made from Aug. 1 through Aug. 23.

Castro-Duarte said the Career Center has been serving UTEP students through several virtual events like its new “Career Conversation Café” that takes place at 10 a.m. every Thursday on Instagram.

The Career Conversation Café covers several vital topics related to career success; from tips on how to research a company to how to answer illegal interview questions.

How certain industries conduct their hiring processes is another obstacle that student may face, Castro-Duarte said. She explained that due to the large volume of applications that employers usually receive, virtual interviews may sometimes be cut short.

“A couple of students told me that they were really surprised that they only got like 10 seconds to talk to somebody,” Castro-Duarte said. “It’s because they have so many people to talk to in one day virtually, but that is why it is important to have your resume ready and be ready for questions.”

The Career Center will be hosting its annual job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 2 via the newly created Career Fair Plus app which can be downloaded on Goggle Play and Apple Store.

“We’re still talking to employers online every single day and we are offering our services virtually and we’ve been able to adapt to this new way of doing things using the tools we have,” Castro-Duarte said. “We do encourage students to get on the career fair plat form early because those time frames are getting eaten up by other students.”

Through the Career Fair Plus platform, the Career Center will also be hosting its Career Expo, taking place at 3 p.m. on Sept. 18, where local and national employers will be looking to hire full-time professionals and interns.

Here’s how you can contact the University Career Center.

Instagram: @utepcareers

Twitter: @UTEPCareers

Facebook: @UTEP Career Center

Isaiah Ramirez may be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @_IsaiahRamirez1