The UTRGV Career Center is currently providing students with a number of tools to help in their job search.
“Right now, it is very tentative. There are some industries that are doing well, so usually it is looking like individuals that have degrees are faring a lot better than those individuals who did not,” said Lourdes Servantes, the center’s associate director.
More than 1.6 million people are unemployed in Texas. More than 95,000 of those in the Rio Grande Valley, according to the Texas Labor Market Information website. While there is a demand in the transportation, logistics and supply chain management industries, the pandemic has had an effect on just about all industries.
“One would think, ‘Okay, the healthcare field should be doing well because of everything that’s going on with them.’ But it’s only certain ones. Even some nurses in some areas are being furloughed because they weren’t doing elective surgeries and things like that,” she said.
There’s a trickle-down effect from one industry to another, but overall, many unknowns exist, she said. To help keep students and alumni informed, UTRGV has virtual resources. These can help reduce frustration and confusion during a job search.
Services for Alumni
Servantes said graduates can expect a job search in their field of study to take from nine months to a year. Before COVID-19, the anticipated range was six to nine months. It’s a delay, she says, but it’s not impossible to address.
UTRGV graduates can request access to see job listings on Handshake. Through the online career management system, graduates can schedule appointments with Career Center staff to get help with resumes and job interview preparation.
The office also recently introduced virtual walk-in office hours via Zoom.
“Those are little 15-minute sessions where students can connect with us to ask us questions,” she said.
Connections and Consistency
Servantes said job seekers could also connect with professional organizations and look for opportunities online using websites like LinkedIn.
“They have to be consistent. You can’t go on one day out of the week and search for 10 minutes,” she said. “It almost becomes a full-time job to be looking for a full-time job.”
Servantes encourages students and graduates to keep at it and to be creative about job hunting.
“Students have to remember, as they’re going through the job search, that they’re not the only one. Each person has their own path they’re going through, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to the job search,” she said.
While people are searching for a job, Servantes recommends they build up their resume with virtual volunteering, learning new software and/or earning certifications.
“Just because you’re already done with your classes, it doesn’t mean that you’re done learning,” she said.
And some lessons and changes could result in new careers.
“What I’ve noticed is that whenever there’s a change in the economy, new opportunities sprout,” Servantes said.