Texas ’21 and Beyond
Congratulations, Class of 2021! We celebrate your achievements at the Forty Acres and are here to help you plan for what comes next. Longhorns are resilient, and you are leading the way —blazing new trails through uncertain times and toward great future potential. Below are resources to help you connect to opportunities, articulate your strengths, and adapt to the new career landscape.
Employers are interested in hiring UT graduates and the skills you possess. Learn which companies are currently hiring, who is on the best place to work list, and which have interview opportunities the week of May 24.
Companies Hiring Now
Check out these curated job posting lists to find an opportunity today:
- HireUTexas: Explore current job postings curated by industries and interests
- Handshake: 500 Companies Hiring Students on Handshake Right Now
- Parker Dewey: Project work and freelance gigs
Graduate students can visit our Graduate Student Get Experience page to access curated lists of advanced degree job feeds for STEM jobs and Humanities, Arts & Social Science Jobs.
2021 Best Places to Work
Explore this year’s list of best places to work, according to:
Job Search Strategies
Learn about new skills for the new economy, how to practice self-care during the job search, and how to demonstrate your skills and experiences for your post-graduation job – not to mention how to negotiate your way through the offer.
Now that virtual interviews have become the new norm in the past year, it is important to be familiar with how to navigate and best prepare for this interview experience. Virtual interviews can be through various platforms such as Zoom or Skype, and can be live or asynchronous (recorded). Be sure to test your technology (microphone, camera, internet connection) before the interview. Utilize a virtual background if needed to minimize distractions, and ensure lighting is set to illuminate your face. Ensure the camera view is angled to mimic the view of an in-person interview. Finally, wear appropriate attire such as business professional or business casual to convey professionalism.
Looking for more tips and tools to improve your interview skills? Check out these resources!
- Webinar: Interviewing in a Virtual World: What to Expect and How to Excel
- Practice Your Interview Skills through Big Interview
- 15 Virtual Interview Tips | LinkedIn
- How to Succeed in a Virtual Interview | Indeed
- Video Interview Tips | LinkedIn Learning
- How to Prepare for an Effective Virtual Interview | Inside Higher Ed
- How to Ace the Virtual Interview | The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Considering a New Platform for Academic Campus Interviews: Entering the Virtual World | SAGE Journals
- Why Interviewing Your Interviewers Matters | Inside Higher Ed
Evaluating Job Offers & Negotiating
Here are 7 easy steps to follow when you are preparing to evaluate and negotiate your job offers.
- When you begin applying to a job, you should research the typical salary (or hourly rate) and benefits for that type of role. Consider the type, size, and location of the organization as well as your experience and education levels. You should also know your ideal salary and the lowest salary you would accept. For internships and/or part-time positions, you should know your industry’s range of hourly pay. This will help you decide if you need to negotiate for a higher salary or hourly rate.
Explore the resources below to get an accurate understanding of what kind of salary to expect:
- Job Seekers Salary Calculator Program
- S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- UT Student Employee Compensation
- Reach out to your peers and mentors
- Consider the ideal outcome for both sides. The goal for negotiation is to find a deal that works for both you and your employer. Keep in mind that this is not a competition; it’s an opportunity to develop a positive, reciprocal relationship. The negotiation process is a chance for you to show professionalism and strong communication to your potential employer, so remember to be appropriate, confident, and pleasant.
- Wait before accepting an offer. It’s very important to consider the offer and ask clarifying questions before you accept. Even if the offer sounds great and you don’t think you need to negotiate (and you may not!), you should not accept the offer on the spot. Always sleep on it!
- Thank them for the offer
- Express your excitement and gratitude at the opportunity
- Ask when they need your decision (consider other job offer deadlines)
- Clarify details of the offer. Once you have an offer from your potential employer, it’s important to review the details and ask questions about anything that’s unclear. You may want to look at salary or hourly rate, pay schedule (monthly, twice monthly, every two weeks), paid time off (vacation and sick leave, when you can start using it, etc.), retirement savings programs, and other benefits.
- Determine what to negotiate. When negotiating a job or internship offer, consider the following in addition to salary or pay.
- Salary/hourly rate of other job offers
- Job title
- Visa assistance
- Work culture and office perks
- Signing bonus
- Stock options and date of vesting
- Timing of performance, tenure, and salary reviews, especially if tied to raises
- Relocation stipend or reimbursement
- Travel reimbursement
- Tuition reimbursement
- Vacation time, holiday flexibility (for those whose holidays do not align with Gregorian Calendar), personal & sick days
- Flexible or remote work schedule
- Commissions, profit sharing, stock options, or benefits
- Start date, especially if thesis completion or graduate date is postdated
- Decision date
- Dual career and conflict of interest issues
- Maternity/family leave
- Specific to Academic or Research Job Offers
- Startup lab budget
- Intellectual property
- Communicate clearly and positively. Be sure to respect the timelines that you and the employer have agreed upon regarding when you will let them know your decision, and be clear about what you would like to negotiate. If you plan to negotiate multiple parts of the offer, provide them together rather than negotiating each one at a time.
- Make a decision. Once you’ve received clarification and negotiated, it is time to make your decision. Determine which job offer is the best one for you. Consider all of the listed items above in your job packet. Whichever you decide, make sure that you communicate your decision in a respectful and timely manner. If you choose to decline, consider briefly and professionally explaining why, particularly if you went through negotiations.
Graduate Student-Specific Resources
- Why and How You Should Negotiate a Job Offer: I Really Dislike Negotiating, But… | Inside Higher Ed
- The Professor Is In: How to Negotiate in a Pandemic | The Chronicle of Higher Education
Self-care During the Job Search
Searching for a job can be stressful during any time, but especially during a pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. With so much uncertainty, it is imperative that job seekers take care of their mental and physical wellbeing throughout the process.
Reframe rejection. It can be hard to put yourself out there and risk rejection from organizations. Remember not to take rejection personally or automatically assume there is something wrong with you. There is a lot of competition for few spots. The more you apply, the more options you have. Keep an open mind and remember to apply for many jobs even if you feel you aren’t 100% qualified. The worst they can say is no, but you’ll never know unless you try, and the more you apply the easier handling rejection becomes.
- For more ideas on turning job rejection into opportunity: Turn Job Rejection into Opportunity | Top Resume
Set achievable goals. Remember to pace yourself during a job search. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Create a daily or weekly schedule and set a goal of how many jobs you would like to apply for, how many professionals you want to reach out to, or how much time you will spend researching fields of interest. Take breaks if you begin to feel overwhelmed with the search. There are always new jobs being posted, so you will not miss out. If you are struggling to meet your goals, practice self-compassion and consider revising your goals to reflect more realistic expectations.
- Learn how to make SMART goals: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples | Indeed Career Guide
- Use this Job Search Organization spreadsheet to help track your goals (graduate students)
Make time for hobbies and fun. It’s easy to make the process of searching for jobs a full-time job in itself, but create time in your schedule to continue living life and engage in activities that you enjoy. Try a new hobby, creative pursuit, or physical activity such as painting, sports, meditation, hiking, or writing. These activities can help boost mental health and life satisfaction during a stressful time and give you something interesting to talk about during interviews.
- Discover a new hobby: 20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and Happier | Life Hack
- Take a free UT Austin Virtual Wellness Class, including Yoga and Zumba (English and Spanish)
Prioritize the basics. Do a mental and physical check-in to tune into what you need. Ensure that you’re getting plenty of rest, exercise, and healthy foods. Also pause to check in with your thoughts and emotions to increase self-awareness to maintain your mental health through the job search process. If you’ve been on the job market for a while, make sure that you have enough funding to sustain yourself and your needs. You may need to consider looking into short-term projects or part-time jobs to keep you afloat.
- Explore beginning a self-care routine that works for you: How to Start a Self-Care Routine You’ll Follow | Everyday Health
- Learn how to monitor your health in a job search: Balancing Wellness and a Job Search | Inside Higher Ed (Graduate Students)
Seek out help. Having a support system of friends and family can be helpful in maintaining your mental health during this stressful time. Conducting informational interviews or joining professional organizations and meet-ups can help you get connected to professionals with the same interests and help you network. You may also benefit from visiting with a career counselor or career coach in strategizing your job search, gain new ideas and perspectives, and decompressing. Mental health counseling can also help you address any underlying mental health concerns that may be hindering your job search.
- Use HookedIn to find professionals and build up your network
- Meet with a career professional
- 10 Ways to Practice Self-Care During the Job Search | JobFlare
- How to Survive an Endless Job Hunt Without Losing It | The Muse
- 4 Dangerous Misconceptions About A Long Job Search |Forbes
- Join GradGrid, a Career Networking Group for Graduate Students | LinkedIn
- Infusing Positivity into Your Job Search | Inside Higher Ed
- Conquering Social Isolation and Making Meaningful Contacts | Inside Higher Ed
Questions to ask to Assess an Organization's Commitment to Diversity
As you become more engaged in racial justice and social impact, you may become increasingly conscious of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) during your job search activities. You may want to know if a potential employer values DEI.
“Conscious job seeking is searching for employment or contractor opportunities that align with your vision, mission, values, and goals,” explains Chelsea C. Williams, founder and CEO of College Code. According to Williams, students using conscious job seeking, change their mindset from just getting a job to actually seeking an opportunity that aligns with their “big picture.”
Although DEI is not an important value for every student, for those who believe it matters, it is important to ensure that they are working within a company whose values match theirs. Williams says that a company that truly values DEI:
- Has made commitments to foster a safe and healthy work environment;
- Is taking actionable steps to improve representation across all levels and titles;
- Holds leaders, managers, and employees accountable for actions and behaviors; and
- Has sought to center equity through all aspects of the employee process—recruitment, training and development, promotions, pay, benefits, and more.
You can assess an organization’s commitment to DEI, in part, by asking potential employers questions that can help you to differentiate between organizations that have taken performative steps in this area and others that are truly committed to advancing DEI and have made progress.
“Asking questions will often provide students with an understanding of where the company is in their DEI journey,” Williams notes.
Williams offers a list of thoughtful questions that students might ask recruiters during interviews or other interactions to assess their organizations’ DEI priority and commitment:
- How does your organization define diversity? What lenses of diversity has your organization made a direct commitment toward?
- Does your organization have a chief diversity officer (CDO) or a designated leader to drive DEI and engage internal and external stakeholders?
- What social causes does your organization support?
- Does your organization actively support diverse suppliers, contractors, and small businesses?
- Has your organization made any formal commitments in support of racial equity?
- How does your organization center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
- Does your organization offer any formal employee training around biases, anti-racism, or general DEI?
- How has your organization prioritized executive accountability toward DEI advancement?
- Does your organization have any affinity groups or committees to support diverse populations? If so, how do these groups contribute to the culture of the organization?
- Does your organization complete annual compensation equity analysis?
- What resources has your organization provided to its employees in support of COVID-19 and racial injustices?
The answers you receive could help you make a decision about which employers to pursue employment with and those with which, perhaps, to end the recruiting process because their values do not align.
“Students are looking for authenticity and progress from employers,” Williams explains. “An organization may not check of all their boxes around DEI, but maybe it has made the commitment to do and be better. That’s wonderful!”
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Graduate Student-Specific Resources
- How to be a change agent in DEI in your job search: Job Seeker, Change Agent | Inside Higher Ed
- Sample Cultural Competency Interview Questions | Mesa Community College
Navigating & Advocating for Accommodations
Did you know that 20.2% of the US workforce has a disability? Living with a disability is federally defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities” and can include both visible and invisible disabilities. You get to decide if, when, and how to disclose a disability to an employer, and whether or not to advocate for accommodations. As many workplaces affected by the pandemic transition to or from a virtual environment, this may affect your need for accommodations. Lime Connect has created a helpful online resource for navigating these changes, along with additional educational content about disability in the workplace.
A few things to consider when deciding whether or not to disclose a disability or seek accommodations:
- Would seeking accommodations during the interview process help you to succeed?
- Does your disability give you a unique perspective that would benefit your employer?
- Can you clearly explain your disability and define your disability-related value and strengths?
- If your disability is visible, would it be helpful to address it head-on with prospective employers?
If you are applying for positions within the US for organizations with more than 15 employees, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects your right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Reasonable accommodations can be alterations to recruiting practices, job duties or workplaces that allow disabled people to effectively do the essential functions of their jobs and enjoy equal employment opportunities.
Disclosing your disability or medical history to your employer is not a requirement, but note than some workplaces may ask for proof of disability (ex. physician’s note) during the accommodations process. You can find examples of reasonable accommodations at the Job Accommodations Network, a resource run by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (a part of the US Department of Labor). You can learn more about the enforcement of ADA via the federal agency, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Graduate and Undergraduate Resources:
- How to Disclose Your Disability to an Employer and When | NY Times
- UT Austin Services for Students with Disabilities Employment Resources for Students with Disabilities
- How to Request Disability Accommodations During a Job Search | The Muse
9 Ways to Improve Your Career Skills After Graduation
When people think of next steps after college, the main options that often spring to mind are working a full-time job, enrolling in an advanced degree program, or joining the military. However, there are many other options to consider, particularly in a unique pandemic-centric year like 2021.
Below are additional experiences that you could participate in after graduation that would still allow you to develop and refine your personal and professional skills. As you are living out any of these experiences, try to keep the eight career readiness competencies in mind and think about how these opportunities can help you develop skills within these key categories.
Disclaimer: UT Austin is not partnered or affiliated with some of the sites below. Please use discretion when perusing opportunities, paying particular attention to intellectual property, compensation, privacy, and ethical guidelines for each site.
- Participate in a post-graduation internship
Some internship programs require you to be enrolled in a degree program to participate, but others do not. Since 70.4% of interns are offered a full-time position with the organization for which they interned, a post-graduation internship can greatly increase your chances of being hired full-time.
- Search for internships on HireUTexas, powered by Handshake, including virtual or micro-internships.
- Check out several diversity-focused internship programs.
- Interested in working for the federal government? The Pathways Recent Graduates Program could be a good opportunity for you.
- Try googling your area of study along with “internships for recent graduates” or “gap year program.” Some companies like Disney have expanded the amount of time post-graduation that you can participate in their internships due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Learn things that will set you apart from the competition
Even if you are not attending an advanced degree program after graduation, you can independently seek out learning opportunities that will increase your skills and make you more hirable.
- Investigate taking individual graduate-level classes at UT Austin.
- Interested in improving your technology skills? Check out some of UT’s immersive boot camps.
- Virtual courses are offered through resources like LinkedIn Learning or Khan Academy. Sometimes these courses are free of charge or you can trial an account for free for a limited amount of time.
- Being bi-lingual (or beyond) can help you stand out with employers, and language learning apps like Duolingo can help you on the way. Free apps exist to teach many other subjects, too.
- Serve a community
Volunteers often do similar tasks to regular employees; therefore, you can often frame volunteer experience similarly on a resume or in an interview. You can volunteer in your own community or can incorporate domestic or international travel via a mission trip.
- Check out service opportunities through UT and beyond.
- Serve through organizations like Peace Corps, Teach for America, or City Year.
- Explore mission trip opportunities online or through your place of worship.
- Cultivate your hobbies (or discover new ones)
Even a hobby can help you develop career skills. For example, if you spend the summer learning how to solve a Rubik’s Cube, you will have an entertaining story about how you used perseverance, critical thinking, and research skills to solve the cube.
- Need hobby ideas? An online search can reveal lists of 100+ hobbies, including a giant list on Wikipedia.
- Feeling overwhelmed by endless lists? Try narrowing the search by typing “hobbies related to…” and add your major, career interest, or skill that you want to develop.
- Teach English or another subject abroad
People who spend extensive time abroad often speak about how the experience positively affected their lives. Additionally, illustrating your global experience and your ability to put yourself outside your comfort zone can help you stand out among job candidates.
- Prepare to teach English abroad via a certificate program through Texas Global.
- Apply for the prestigious Fulbright grant.
- Search online for programs for recent graduates. Narrow your search by typing the subject you want to teach or the country where you want to teach. Just make sure you thoroughly investigate opportunities, particularly if the host organizations are asking for personal information or money.
- Travel for fun
Even if you’re traveling for fun, you can develop skills that employers want by learning about different cultures, being a self-starter, or being innovative to maximize your travels. You may even practice your communication skills, if you find yourself in need of directions!
- Forbes recommends 20 global places to visit in 2021.
- There are also plenty of attractive domestic travel locations, including here in Texas.
- Of course, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, be sure to consult recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and local officials before traveling to a destination.
- Engage in research
Critical thinking is often seen as the biggest competency deficit among recent graduates entering the workforce. Research is a powerful way to build your critical thinking skills while potentially improving lives via your research results.
- Check out Texas Career Engagement’s research page.
- Participate in large-scale research projects via citizen science.
- Start a business
Don’t have a job lined up for after graduation? Why not create your own job? Easier said than done, but if you have a strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit, the time after college can be a great time to leverage the knowledge, skills, and network that you developed during your time at UT Austin and create your own enterprise.
- The City of Austin features an extensive list of resources to aid in the development of startups and small businesses.
- If your business is centered around technology, check out some of the programs available to alumni through the Austin Technology Incubator.
- Scope out events and resources from on-campus offices such as The Launchpad Gap Year Founder’s Program, the Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center or the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute.
- Network with people in your desired profession
While this expression has become a cliché, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is often true. Use your post-graduation time to conduct informational interviews, attend career fairs, or participate in professional organizations.
- Check out Texas Career Engagement’s networking tips and resources.
- Speak with a career coach in your college to help you identify professional associations or events related to your career interests.
- Join HookedIn, the official networking platform for UT Austin students and alumni
- Use the LinkedIn Alumni Tool to connect with some of the 400,000+ UT Austin alumni on LinkedIn. This is a great strategy, because you already have something in common!
- Network via UT’s alumni association, Texas Exes.
Choosing Where to Live (Particularly When Working Remotely)
Working remotely offers endless possibilities and unprecedented flexibility in independently choosing where you live. Historically, the location of your employer/organization/institution or your role has decided where you will live and career trajectory based on your industry or job function. The power of choice gives you the autonomy of creating equilibrium between lifestyle and career. The factors that impact each individual vary drastically, but the resources below (this list is not exhaustive) will provide an opportunity to define and determine factors that impact you and your overall satisfaction. Proactively focusing on criteria such as how to choose, cost of living and variable pay, cultural fit/amenities, time zone and proximity, and connectivity infrastructure will help you feel empowered in making this complex decision.
Making a Decision
- How to Decide Where to Live If You Work Remotely from Home | Money Crashers
- I don’t have to choose between lifestyle and career’: How remote work changed these lives | CNN
- What Counts as Proximity? (Academic/Faculty positions) | Inside Higher Ed
- Guidelines for Faculty Member Relocating During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Kent State University
- 2021 Compare Cities | Best Places to Live
- Compare Cities | Areavibes.com
Cost of Living and Variable Pay
- Will Remote Work Lead to Salary Adjustments? | Forbes
- Would You Take Any Kind of Pay Cut to Work Remotely? | Dice
- 2021 Cost of Living Calculator | smartasset.com
- Cost of Living Calculator | nerdwallet.com
- Most and Least Ethnically Diverse Cities in the U.S. | WalletHub
- com (many niche articles with diversity of focuses on locations to live)
- Finding a Workplace Where You Fit (Graduate Students) | Inside Higher Ed
- Racial Equity Index | National Equity Atlas
- Municipal Equality Index 2020 | Human Rights Campaign
Time Zone and Proximity
- 9 Tips for Working with Teams in Different Time Zones | Hubspot
- How to Overcome Time Zone Differences When Working Remotely in 2020 | Small Biz Daily
- Working across time zones can mean being up at 3 a.m. It’s worth it for some travelers | The Washington Post
- Time Zone Converter
- World Time Buddy
- Feel the need for speed? Check out the top 10 fiber cities in the U.S. | allconnect
- 2021 Top 10 Remote-Ready Cities in the US | Livability
- Find Every Internet Provider in Your Area | BroadbandNow
Onboarding in a Virtual World
Get tips for how you can successfully transition to your next step, whether that is working from home, transitioning to an in-person workspace, or continuing on to professional or graduate school.
Creating Your Work from Home (WFH) Space
Now that working from home has quickly become the new norm in the past year, it is important to understand the best ways to create the most productive and healthy home office space. No matter whether you will be working from home a few days a month or spending all your work time in your home, it is important to be intentional about how you set up your space. Here are a few tips on how to get started.
Designate your work zone. Find a part of your home that can serve as your office. It is great if you have a spare room that you can convert to an office, but it is certainly not necessary. Whether it is at a desk in your bedroom, at the kitchen table, or somewhere else in your home, it is important that you are able to get comfortable and mentally check-in to work from where ever you set up. It is also helpful if you are able to “leave” your workspace at the end of the day. If you spend your off-time staring at your work station, there is a good chance you won’t be able to fully disengage and recharge even when you aren’t working. Closing the door to your office, turning off your computer, or even putting your laptop in a closet or cupboard when you are done for the day or week is helpful to delineate the difference from working and not-working time.
Create camera-ready space. If you are working from home, there is a good chance you will be using Zoom or another video platform to communicate with your coworkers. Make sure to find good lighting for your camera by putting a lamp or window behind the camera so that the light falls on your face. You can also invest in a webcam light if you struggle to find good natural lighting in your space.
Come in loud and clear. If you are video conferencing or calling your team or clients, it is vital that they can hear you well. Test the microphone on your camera or laptop to see how well it picks up your voice in your office space. Try to find a place in your home that is fairly quiet and where external sounds are less likely to be picked up by the microphone. You may also consider using a headset or headphones to improve the sound quality on both ends of the call.
Find the right support. You will likely be sitting at your desk for at least a few hours a day, if not more, so make sure that your body is well-supported. Raise your laptop or computer screen so that it is at eye level, and make sure that your back is supported in the chair you select.
Create a sense of privacy. Your home office space may be in an area of your home like a living room or kitchen table with frequent foot traffic or without soundproofing. For visual privacy, consider using a virtual background, which shows you, but hides people who are several feet away from the camera. This allows you to be on camera, without showing any family members or roommates, who may need to pass by in the background. Also communicate with others you live with about your working hours, especially when you will be in an important meeting or call. That way they can try to avoid making too much noise at these times. Just make sure to offer the same courtesy to them!
Looking for more great tips on how to set up your home office? Check out these three articles for more ways to be work-from-home ready!
- 4 Tips for Creating a Makeshift Work-From-Home Space—and 2 Common Mistakes to Avoid | Real Simple
- How to Set Up a Truly Great Work-From-Home Space | Clever
- 7 Tried-and-True Secrets for a Productive Home Office | The Muse
Graduate Student-Specific Resources
- How to Curate Your Zoom Backdrop and Why You Should | The Chronicle of Higher Education
- 7 Tips for Researchers Working Remotely | Nicoya
Building Connections Remotely – Virtual Networking
COVID-19 has shifted the way we view a lot of professional aspects of the workplace. The way that we interact with others has been altered altogether, and for most, this has made networking very difficult. It can be hard to read emotions or body language through a Zoom window and it can be exhausting to feel as if you have to be ‘on’ all of the time. While the way we network as emerging or established professionals has changed, rest assured that there are steps you can take to make sure you are establishing connections virtually.
Quality Over Quantity. Remember that networking is not a numbers game. The quality of the connections that you build is far more important than the number of people you know. Make sure that your connections are being built with your end goals in mind. This will enhance the quality of resources you have to pull from.
Goal Setting Is Key. Before you begin sending ‘cold emails’ and connection requests on various networking platforms, set some specific goals around the number and types of connections you are looking to make. It’s also recommended that you state your intention in your initial message to that person. Sending a connection request or an email without fully stating your intentions may come across as confusing and may not yield the best result.
Branding Is Essential. The way that we connect now is virtual, and people may not able to pick up on your brand in the same way they would have in an in-person interaction with you. Your goals and your personal philosophy are all part of your brand and should be used to create networking goals for yourself. That’s why it’s important to complete all networking profiles. Make sure your LinkedIn profile as well as your HookedIn and HireUTexas profiles are complete from start to finish. This helps with branding yourself as an emerging professional.
Long Lasting Networks Take Time. Finally, remember that building your network takes time. Carve out time to stay in touch with the connections that you have established virtually.
- LinkedIn Master Class
- Building Your Network in a Virtual World | LinkedIn
- How to Build Real Relationships in the Virtual World | Forbes
Graduate Student-Specific Resources
- Networking at a Virtual Conference | Rice University
- Three Simple Virtual Networking Tactics You Should Be Using | Cheeky Scientist
- Strategies for Starting a Job While Remote | Inside Higher Ed
- Academic Networking for PhD Students: 5 Ways to Do It Better | Beyond the Professoriate
Communicating Effectively with Coworkers & Teammates When Working Remotely
As we navigate through the different aspects of a virtual workspace, one of the most important career skills and competencies one can have is their ability to communicate. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, communication is one of the top 4 career competencies and skills that employers are looking for. (NACE, 2019) You can find the article by NACE here.
Communication, as we know, can be delivered in different ways, and in a virtual workspace the most common way to communicate with others is by email. Although email is seemingly the easiest form of communication, it can also present challenges to those who interpret your email and the information you intend to share.
Consider your communication strategies. Are your thoughts best shared through email or should you schedule a Zoom call? If it is a quick question, can you use a chat function like Slack or Microsoft Teams messenger? A great article by US News on 10 Ways to Communicate Better at Work offers some ideas on intentional communication strategies. Additionally, MIT Sloan Management Review offers tips for those who work on virtual teams in the article, Five Ways to Improve Communication in Virtual Teams.
At the end of the day, this year has been challenging for all of us in so many ways. During these unprecedented times, and as life changes and pivots so often, we have to stop ourselves and take a moment to reset and rethink how we are performing in our personal and professional lives. Sometimes, the best way to do this is just get back to the basics. LinkedIn offers a great resource in Let’s Get Back to Basics: Communication Skills.
Let’s be intentional and effective in the way that we communicate in our virtual work space!
- Strategies for Starting a Job While Remote | Inside Higher Ed
- How to Improve Teacher-Student Communication in Virtual Classrooms | Infobase
Transitioning Back into the Workplace After Working from Home
It’s been over a year since our virtual journey began. While it has been a difficult adjustment, many of us have grown accustomed to our current routine – working and studying from home. We must now prepare for a return to “normalcy.” Pandemic-related transitions come amid expected stressors associated with finishing your degree and seeking full-time employment. If you are feeling apprehensive and uncertain, you are not alone.
You may also feel excited by the prospect of connecting in person and being able to do some of the things you enjoy. Most people are likely experiencing a combination of feelings and need to make multiple preparations, both mentally and practically, to adjust to this “new normal.” The following recommendations may be helpful:
- Realize that some level of anxiety is expected. As a new graduate, you are facing multiple life transitions in addition to preparing for re-entry; of course, you feel some anxiety! It may be helpful to consider the roots of your anxiety. Are you nervous about adverse health consequences of being in closer contact with others? Are you feeling anxious about socializing? Are you feeling a return of previous anxiety-related issues due to multiple stressors? Maybe you are not sure why you are feeling this way. Speaking to a professional can help. For information about locating mental health professionals, check out the APA’s Psychologist Locator, or Psychology Today Therapist Finder, or find additional therapy resources from UT’s Counseling and Mental Health Center.
- Be patient with yourself (and others). Give yourself time to readjust. Seek support and ask for help. Talk with your supervisor and other trusted colleagues. Understand your benefits; Employee Assistance Programs, wellness programs, and health insurance may provide valuable resources to help you maintain your physical and mental health and well-being.
Recognize that not everyone feels the same about re-entry; not everyone has the same resources or the same logistical challenges. Others may have faced differing levels of health and financial stress, grief, or racial trauma; all of the things that have made this last year so challenging. Consider ways to demonstrate compassion and support. Research has shown benefits for both the giver and receiver of compassion. Check out how to:
- Integrate stress management and self-compassion into your life. There are numerous free resources to help you find stress management or mindfulness exercises that might work for you. View UT CMHC’s recommendations for Virtual Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Activities, and view an extensive resources from resources from Dr. Kristen Neff, an expert in self-compassion.
- Consider what new WFH habits you may want to take with you. You have likely learned much about yourself over the last year. Maybe you learned that taking more frequent breaks is energizing, or you found a new way of efficiently managing certain work tasks while at home? Have you learned that you work best when you only look at email in the morning and late afternoon? Take these new skills with you in your upcoming endeavors!
- Ask for help if you need it. Transitions are challenging for everyone. Support can make all the difference in helping you develop resilience.
Time Management When Managing a Schedule
Moments of transition such as graduation or the end/start of a new semester can be a great time to assess your needs when it comes to time management. Time management does not have to be a complicated process, but it is often something that evolves with you based on your situation and needs. While there are many planners and calendar apps out there, it can be challenging to know where to start and frustrating when a system doesn’t seem to work for you. Below is a quick list of ideas for making navigating the myriad of time management systems and ideas out there, to identify what might work for you.
Start with small goals that fit your unique situation. For example, are you trying to manage time or is your goal productivity? If it is productivity, you may want to shift your focus to tools and tips that address attention management. It’s important to find strategies that work best for you, and that varies by person. For example, if you are juggling a job search while working a part time job, transitioning into remote full-time work, or juggling child care or family responsibilities; the attention management tactic that you choose may be different than what works for someone else. Regardless of your situation, start with small goals! Check out this article by Real Simple for information on attention management: Forget Time Management—Attention Management Is the Better Path to Productivity
Revisit and revise strategies frequently. Have you ever started a new planner, but stopped using it after a few weeks? Or, began the year with a calendar and are not sure where it is now? It can be really discouraging when something you try does not work out. But, trying is the important part! Keep trying new ideas or systems. Incorporate observing what others do for time management into your strategies, as well as revisiting your needs frequently.
Try a variety of tools and strategies. The more you talk with people, you start to realize that the systems people use to schedule vary widely. The most organized-seeming person in the room may on the surface have a scattered system of Post-it Notes as their main scheduling tool. There are many tempting digital apps or new planners that promise a “new you.” Try to avoid using only one tool; instead, try a variety of tools over a span of time for different tasks. For example, visual timers such as an hourglass can create a very different effect than a stopwatch timer with a loud buzzer. Think about what motivates you. Are you more of a visual thinker or plan best with a linear timeline or detailed to do list? View this Life Hack article to see a list of some of the best time management apps of the year.
Your personal time is as important as work time. It can be smart to schedule in free time or personal events. While that can seem boring or tedious, it is simply the act of creating boundaries and noting that your personal time is just as special as other things. It helps to balance out your calendar. To learn more, check out this Inc. article on how scheduling free time can help us feel more refreshed.
Graduate Student-Specific Resource
- Mastering Academic Time Management | National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity
Continuing on to an Advanced Degree
Longhorns make great graduate students – and eventually great writers, innovators, academics, researchers, scientists, lawyers, physicians, artists, and various other professional and thought leaders. Explore the resources and services that can help you make a decision, prepare, and navigate the admissions process for your first advanced degree, or to expand on your current graduate education – whether you are considering graduate school, law school, or a health profession.
Virtual Career Resources
There are many virtual career resources available as you as a student and as an alumnus. Start using these resources today!
Schedule a Virtual Career Appointment
May 2021 graduates have full access to career advising through the end of the spring semester, after which, most alumni have access to career advising for up to one year beyond graduation.
Schedule an Appointment to discuss your post-graduation goals and develop a personalized strategy. The university offers various types of advising and coaching:
- Career Counseling for All Majors: Get help deciding what you want to do, what is fulfilling to you, and what your next move might be, as well as exploring mindfulness, stress management and resiliency in the job search. (Alumni access up to one year beyond graduation)
- Career & Internship Coaching Around Identity: Explore career topics through the lens of identity. (Alumni access up to one year beyond graduation)
- Industry-Specific Career & Internship Coaching: Tailored career coaching help searching for jobs and internships, crafting tailored resumes and cover letters, preparing for interviews, and exploring online recruiting systems. (Alumni access determined by individual college/school)
Graduate students can schedule an appointment to meet confidentially with a graduate-specific career advisor from Texas Career Engagement, the College of Natural Sciences, or the College of Liberal Arts. Advisors work individually with graduate students and postdoctoral scholars on a wide range of career-related topics to help them explore and prepare for careers in academia, nonprofit, government, and industry.
Congratulations on becoming a Texas Ex!
Graduation Celebrations: Connect with virtual celebrations across the university, including university-wide; colleges and schools; Senior Countdown; and the following diversity celebrations: Lavender Graduation, Disability Graduation, Black Graduation, Latinx Celebration and First-Gen Longhorn Celebration.
Texas Exes Membership: Every graduating undergraduate student has been gifted a one-year membership in the Texas Exes by your college’s or school’s dean. Explore your membership benefits.
Alumni Engagement: Many campus resources and services are available to alumni for defined periods of time depending on your college or school. Visit our alumni page to learn about:
- Lifetime access to HireUTexas job board, which includes career-oriented opportunities across a variety of industries, and to various online resources and tools
- HookedIn, the official UT Austin social networking platform designed to connect students, alumni, employers, and friends of UT for career connections and mentorship
- College- and school-specific resources available to alumni
UT Austin provides multiple job and internship resources, including the campus-wide HireUTexas job board, college and school job boards, general job posting sites, and career networking. Visit the Job & Internship Postings page to access:
- HireUTexas – the university’s all-inclusive job board
- HireUTexas Job Lists – a curated selection of lists featuring industry- and interest-specific job postings
- Colleges & Schools – a directory of college- and school-specific job boards with opportunities tailored to disciplines
- General Job Search Engines – a directory of national, publicly-available search engines
Graduate students can visit our Graduate Student Get Experience page to access curated lists of advanced degree job feeds for STEM jobs and Humanities, Arts & Social Science Jobs.
Identity & Diversity
The University of Texas at Austin offers support for the career development and job search of Longhorns with unique identities. Visit our Identity & Diversity page to access this collection of resources can serve as a starting point for your conversation about career research and job and internship search strategies with the TCE Career Education team. We advise students and alumni to vet opportunities and associations carefully for a match with their personal values.
Our Graduate Student Identity & Diversity page offers graduate student-specific career programming, resources, and support networks related to the professional and career development in diverse student populations.
Self-Guided Exploration & Preparation Tools
From exploring one’s own professional interests, to researching possible career paths, to preparing for the job/internship search process, and more; our Online Career Resources page can serve as a go-to for any stage of your career development.
- Explore Majors & Careers
- Articulate Career Competency
- Watch Career Education Videos
- Take a Career Assessment
- Take a LinkedIn Master Class
- Practice Interview Skills
- Explore International Careers
- Explore LinkedIn Learning Professional Development
- Explore Occupations
Graduate students can visit our Graduate Student Job Search Resources page to access graduate student-specific resources, including ImaginePhD and VersatilePhD.
Pre-Recorded Webinars and Presentations: Visit our undergraduate digital resource library or our graduate events calendar event resources section to access video and downloadable resources on a variety of career and professional development topics.
Additional resources available through your College or School: Explore our campus career center directory to find resources from your colleges and schools related to career planning, resumes, cover letters, networking, online presence, interviewing, salary negotiations and more.