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UCS helps students build skills to get jobs, internships

A student talking to an adviser at University Career Services' office. UCS offers career counseling and jobs opportunities to students. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

A student talking to an adviser at University Career Services’ office. UCS offers career counseling and jobs opportunities to students. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

While the national employment rate has remained relatively stagnant, the Houston-area has seen an increase in employment rates in recent years. 

At UH, University Career Services is a resource available for students and recent alumni to provide career counseling and job opportunities, increasing potential employment. Students may use UCS as the connection between them and companies looking to hire. 

The University aims to educate students not just on applying for college-level jobs but to help build skills that can be used in job applications for years to come. Students have the chance to pick up on these skills by making an appointment with UCS, or taking advantage of courses like Liberal Arts Career Planning.

“Maybe not every company that you want to work for is coming here, so we want to teach you how to go out and reach out to that company,” said executive director of career services Monica Thompson. “Apply, network and teach those lifelong job search skills.”

Beyond communicating with students about their professional development, UCS reaches out to employers to find other available jobs. UCS frequently invites and educates companies about the various upcoming career fairs and helps them navigate Cougar Pathway to reach their target demographic in their job postings.

Some students are grateful for the resources UCS provides and believe UCS does a good job preparing them to pursue their intended career after graduation. 

“I think they have a lot of workshops to help students prepare,” said supply chain management senior Duy Le. “For example, the resume and the mock interview workshops.”

In addition to having career fairs for all majors, there are now more specific career fairs available to specific colleges.

Outside of UH, Thompson contributes to Houston-area employment by serving as the president of the Houston Area Consortium of Career Centers. As an organization, HACCC serves college students in the area by gathering representatives from 13 local universities to discuss career services. 

“We come together monthly and we have professional development,” Thompson said. “We host the largest job fair in Texas called the Texas Job Fair. We are all sharing contact information, and when we meet with employers, we tell them about our consortium.”

For recent graduates who are having doubts about the next step in their professional and academic lives, Thompson encourages students to reach out to career services to help develop a plan more individualized to them. 

“I really want to know what they want to do,” Thompson said. “I don’t want them to settle. If I had a student in front of me, I would start with a career assessment to start the conversation.”

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