‘Career Fair Plus’ app helps UTEP students find jobs during COVID-19 pandemic

Photo+courtesy+of+UTEP.

Photo courtesy of UTEP.

Sven Kline, Contributor

UTEP’s annual Job Fair was conducted virtually this year due to the social-distancing guidelines being enforced by the University amid the coronavirus pandemic. Going virtual provided safer access for UTEP students  to get in contact with employers in their desired profession.  

Developed by UTEP’s Career Center (CC), “Career Fair Plus” (CFP) is bridging the gap between students and potential employers though mobile application.  

 Released through student email, students received directions on how to quickly and easily install the platform onto their smartphones via a YouTube tutorial link. The phone application gave students access to virtual meeting media. Although innovative, this is not the CC’s first time using virtual platforms. 

 “Virtual career fair platforms have existed, and we are experienced with chat-based platforms, but finding a platform that has video capabilities and getting everyone educated in a very short period of time has been a bit of a challenge,” said Betsy Castro-Duartedirector of the CC. 

Once students download the CFP app and complete their CFP profile, they are then able to access various scheduled meetings with  employers at  given times under the “employers” tab.   

As such, the application offers five different home tabs which are the employers”, “event info,” meetings,” “fair map,” and more” tabs.  Each providing help for students to obtain their next job.  

Adjusting to online classes, virtual events and meetings has become the new norm for people everywhere, and ways of searching and finding employment is also changing. 

This new normal has allowed us to reframe past limitations to physically spaces being available on campus, tight travel budgets, and recruiter availability,” Castro-Duarte said. “This new reality has really helped us all to be more open to ways that we can still communicate with each other.”  

Although CFP was made to be installed with simplicity and guide, the app could benefit from a desktop version for greater accessibility as it is currently only available for mobile download. 

Though it faces this con, the CFP app is not that different from a conventional experience of a facetoface interview.  

“Aside from the platform, nothing else has changed in the way (of) students needing to prepare in advance for a job fair,” Castro-Duarte said. “Reviewing job vacancies in advance, researching the organization, looking presentable, and being ready for an on-the-spot interview is all part of the experience.  

Students can easily access the “employers” tab or log in to their Job Mine accounts to view potential employers and evaluate their options.  

We invite hundreds of employers to recruit at UTEP each year. They each have their own strategy to recruit at schools across the U.S.,” Castro-Duarte said. Some employers prefer to host information sessions and interviews and not participate in the career fair, while other use the career fair candidates to drive their interview schedules.”   

UTEP’s upcoming Career Expo will be held Friday, Sept.18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., where local and national employers looking to hire full-time professionals and interns will be presentFor more information regarding the Career Center’s upcoming events, visit sa.utep.edu/careers/  

Sven Kline can be reached at  [email protected]; @SvenKline on Twitter.