In navigating the path from college to career, UT Austin students often turn to those closest to them: parents, families, and guardians. Texas Career Engagement is here as a resource for you, as well as your student.
The career preparation tools, resources, and services provided by our team and our campus partners are designed to reach students at any phase of their college and post-college journey, and you can play an important role in encouraging students to take full advantage of the many options available to them.
Encourage your student to:
- Create an account in HireUTexas, UT Austin’s campus-wide job and internship database.
- Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to explore majors and careers (for students in the early discovery phase).
- Seek internships for career discovery, skill development, professional growth, and networking.
- Engage in experiential learning activities, such as research, leadership, campus involvement, service learning, and global experiences.
- Connect on campus with other students, faculty, and staff, as well as off campus with internship colleagues, recruiters, and other professionals.
- Schedule an appointment with a career coach to develop post-graduation plans (for students beyond the discovery phase).
Supporting Your Longhorn’s Career Journey
Student Steps for Success
Families often ask how their Longhorn can best prepare for post-graduation success during their four years at UT Austin. That’s a great question! It’s important to remember that each student has their own individual goals and objectives, as well as their own timeline for preparing for what’s next. Students will follow diverse paths as they develop and grow, but there are some general steps they should consider during their four-year academic career.
The first year is typically a time for students to explore academic programs and majors, as well as their new campus lives. However, it can also be a time to get a jumpstart on connecting academic studies and professional plans. The earlier students start career planning, the more likely they are to enter the senior year career search with confidence. They can get start by:
- Meeting with a career counselor to explore career interests.
- Participating in internships (it’s never too early to start).
- Joining professional student organizations.
- Participating in community service projects (most employers appreciate applicants who give back to their communities).
By the second year, students are typically active in campus life and are building on their first-year experiences. For career planning, this often means:
- Meeting with a career coach to plan new experiences with career purpose.
- Participating in a new internship with more responsibility and more relevance to the potential career objective.
- Working on or off campus to build on their work history (employers like to know applicants have held a job).
- Participating in a study abroad experience during the summer before the junior year (employers value cross-cultural experiences and appreciate students who have succeeded outside of their comfort zones).
If your student continues exploring, that’s fine! Most students, particularly those in non-professional schools, are still choosing majors in their second years and discovering their interests and skills.
By the third year, students have typically solidified their academic majors and are more confidently able to formalize their post-graduation plans. Juniors may consider:
- Meeting with a career coach to develop a strategic career search plan that maps out goals for the next two years with the career objective in mind.
- Taking a leadership role in student organizations.
- Joining a research project, whether in a lab or in the community.
- Participating in an internship with a career-targeted employer or a highly relevant employer (employers often use the summer internship before the senior year as a hiring pipeline).
- Participating in research, engaging with faculty, and using writing projects for in-depth academic exploration (particularly for students considering an advanced degree).
If your junior is continuing to explore, it’s ok! Your student is still learning about the diverse academic, research, and co-curricular opportunities across campus—not to mention the world of career options beyond the Forty Acres. It’s normal for many students to continue developing personally and academically. Rather than asking students the question: “what will you do with your major?”, we encourage you to inquire about their interests and encourage them to conduct informational interviews to learn about professions in those areas.
By the senior year, career-focused students have developed or are formulating a career plan and will begin the career search. For seniors, this means:
- Meeting with a career coach for help identifying potential employers and to strategize an approach to job applications.
- Participating in a mock interview to hone their interview skills.
- Attending employer presentations, information sessions and career fairs to meet recruiters.
- Networking with industry professionals.
- Being able to market their professional portfolios and to articulate their career readiness.
- For students considering advanced degrees, spending the summer before their senior year compiling law and grad school applications, visiting campuses and studying for entrance exams; then taking exams and submitting applications in the fall.
Is your senior continuing to explore? A great way to support them is to suggest a visit to a career center for career coaching. A career coach can help demystify the career search, assess their interests and skills, guide them through the process, and help them build confidence.
This timeline might seem like a lot to students, and they may not know how to start. That’s where we come in. Texas Career Engagement, and our campus career center partners, are here to help students plan, prepare, and take action for their next phase.
As a UT family member, you have watched your student develop skills through their curricular and co-curricular experiences, and you may now be wondering how they can demonstrate and articulate those experiences to employers. The National Association of Colleges and Employers worked with employers around the country to identify eight career competencies they look for when hiring recent college graduates. We encourage students to use these eight competencies to explain how they are prepared to enter the workplace and show how their experiences at UT have prepared them for future endeavors. TCE believes that understanding career competencies gives students the power to:
- Have confidence in their strengths by identifying the competencies they have and those they want to gain.
- Enhance their interview skills by providing a descriptive competency-based story of their experiences, background, and abilities.
- Introduce and promote themselves to professional contacts and recruiters in a way that highlights the attributes, background, and strengths that make them stand out.
To learn more about the competencies, please visit our Career Readiness page.
Are you an employer, recruiter, or part of an organization looking to build a diverse talent base? We welcome UT families in joining our tradition of Longhorns hiring Longhorns! Texas Career Engagement is here to assist you with your hiring needs and provide recruiting strategy guidance. If you have a friend or colleague looking to hire, please also send them our way. Email RecruitUT@austin.utexas.edu for a consultation, or post a job in HireUTexas to connect with interdisciplinary, diverse, and skilled talent across campus.
Texas Exes, in partnership with Texas Career Engagement and several colleges and schools across campus, launched HookedIn—the official networking platform for the Longhorn Nation. Longhorn families are welcome to join this virtual networking platform to mentor, promote your opportunities to, and hire UT graduates.