Are you Career Ready?
Career Readiness is the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college students for a successful transition into the workplace.
The 8 competencies are highlight in our Career Readiness Infographic.
Career Action Plans
University Career Services (UCS) has developed a Career Action Plan that can help guide your career development and planning while at the University of Houston. We encourage you to read through each section and become familiar with the content.
Explore (0-29 credits)
Engage (30-59 credits)
Empower & Employ (60+ credits)
Career or Vocational Assessment tools are designed to help students (1) identify their career and interests (2) help students explore their personality and how their preferences affect their interactions in the workplace (3) clarify their values, specifically what matters to them, e.g. making lots of money or feeling that what they do makes a difference, working alone or in a team.
We offer the following FREE assessment:
- Focus 2 - Focus 2 is an innovative approach to career exploration and planning. This online tool is customized to connect your assessment results to the University of Houston's majors. Student instructions for Focus 2.
We offer the following assessments for $15:
To take an assessment, please schedule a “pre-assessment” appointment with a career counselor through Cougar Pathway for instructions on taking the assessment. Your assessment code and a payment link will be provided by a career counselor. The $15 fee can be paid by credit or debit card only.
Career Fair Preparation
What is a career fair?
A Career Fair is an event where recruiters and students can meet to discuss potential internship or career opportunities. During a Career Fair (traditionally) recruiters will stand at booths and students will walk around the event, stopping at booths to introduce themselves to the recruiter and give their resume. At the University of Houston, there are multiple Career Fairs per semester. Below is a link to all UH Career Fairs. NOTE: Some Career Fairs restrict attendance to specific majors.
How to prepare for a career fair?
- RSVP for the Career Fair via Cougar Pathway (Only applicable to UCS Career Fairs)
- Review the employers attending on Cougar Pathway and research their mission, vision, and open positions. Use our Employer Research Worksheet to note your research.
- Decide which employers you would like to meet with and plan a strategy for speaking with them
- Prepare your resume with the help of a career counselor
- Review our Career Fair Preparation Worksheet
- Practice answering the “tell me about yourself” question or work on your Elevator Pitch
- Pick our your Business Professional attire (Dress Code Policy)
- Arrive early to park, prepare and relax!
Career fair etiquette
- Dress Professionally
- Bring mints to maintain fresh breath (no gum)
- Do not wear strong cologne or perfume
- Do not bring a backpack or large purse
- Shake hands firmly, but not too firm
- Turn off or silence your cell phone
- Be enthusiastic and positive during the fair
- Be courteous of the recruiter’s time
- Thank the recruiter for their time
- Follow up with the recruiter, if possible
Choosing a Major
The first step in choosing a career is to identify your skills, interests, personality, and values. Then, you can explore possible occupations based on your assessment. Below are resources to help you begin the exploration process:
- Explore Careers and Majors
- What can I do with this major?
- O*NET Online
- Discover UH Majors and Concentrations
University Career Services uses an online career management system called Cougar Pathway to provide resources and support to students and alumni.
How to use Cougar Pathway
- How to schedule a career counseling appointment
- Search and apply for on-campus jobs, internships, and full-time jobs
- Get a resume, CV or cover letter virtually reviewed
- Schedule on-campus interviews
- RSVP or sign up for workshops, employer meet and greets and career fairs
Resources for Community Memebers with Criminal Records
Resources for First Generation College Stuents
Resources for Veterans Community Members
Resources for African Americans Community Members
Resources for LGBTQ Community Members
- UH LGBTQ Resource Center
- Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
- Best Places to Work in Texas for LGBTQ Workers
Resources for Hispanic/Latino Community Members
Resources for Women Community Members
Resources for International Community Members
- My World Abroad
- My Visa Jobs
- International Student and Scholar Services (ISSSO)
- Steps for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) at UH
Resources for Community Members with Disabilities
Graduate Student Resources
1:1 Career Counseling
Schedule a 30 minute, one on one career counseling appointment. During the appointment, you can discuss any career-related topic, from resume/cv to salary negotiation.
Graduate Student Welcome Reception
During Fall UCS hosts a welcome reception for graduate students to learn about our services and events. We hope you will join us! Check Cougar Pathway for event information and to RSVP.
Come spend an hour at University Career Services learning about the top 3 topics important to graduate students. This workshop will review job search, networking, and interviewing for graduate students in 20-minute sections. Check Cougar Pathway for workshop dates and times.
Conduct an Informational Interview
Informational Interviews are great ways for YOU to connect with professionals and learn more about their roles and responsibilities. Prepare strong, open-ended questions you hope to learn from the professional.
Practice makes perfect! If you have an upcoming interview, we are able to help you prepare.
- Career counselors can conduct mock interviews with you to better prepare you for your upcoming interview. Your career counselor will try to resemble a real interview as closely as possible, so please bring a copy of a job description and your resume to the appointment. Schedule an appointment in Cougar Pathway.
- Preparing for an Interview
- General Interview Questions Page 1
- General Interview Questions Page 2
- STAR Method
- Employer Research Worksheet
- Transferable Skills Worksheet
- Group Interviews
- Virtual Interviews (Skype or recorded)
- Phone Interviews
- In-Person Interviews
Interview questions are designed by companies to make sure they are gathering enough information to determine if they want to hire you. Each company will have different questions depending on the position and responsibilities.
Below are types of interview questions:
- Behavioral Interviews
- Technical Interviews
- Case Studies
Job and Internship Search
Looking for ways to search for internships or jobs? Check out these online search portals:
Applicant Tracking Systems
Types of Opportunities
Internship - Internship Planning Worksheet
An internship is a supervised pre-professional LEARNING experience, where students apply their skills and knowledge gained from their academic background in a professional setting. This experience is directly related to a student’s major or career interest and offers a preview of what work in their chosen profession will be like.
- Texas Internship Challenge: The Texas Internship Challenge is a partnership between the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Texas Education Agency (TEA) and The Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), who challenge employers to offer paid internships and make it easy for students to search and apply for them.
An externship is a temporary training program in a workplace, usually offered to students as part of a course.
Cooperative Education (Co-op)
A Co-op is a type of internship program that enables college students to receive career training with pay. More information on Cooperative Education.
Shadowing is traditionally an unpaid experience where students observe a professional during a full day or half-day. The student is simply observing the tasks of that professional to determine if that is a potential area of interest.
LeadUH Coog Careers Certificate
Discover your career path and learn how Cougars lead in the workforce. Through the CoogCareers program, participants will develop their networking and job hunting skills. Participants will have opportunities to connect with employers during one on one career counseling sessions, career panels, employer mock-interviews, and networking events. Learning to lead yourself is just as important as learning to lead others. To complete the CoogCareers program, participants must complete 5 credits.
Networking / LinkedIn
It is estimated 70-80 percent of jobs are advertised through non-traditional job search channels. Networking refers to the process of discovering and utilizing connections between people to exchange information and ideas about careers, job search strategies, and job opportunities. It is the most effective career exploration and job search tool! Below are some networking resources:
Preparing for Graduate or Professional School
Are you thinking about applying to graduate or professional school? Below are resources to help guide you:
- Graduate School Exploration Worksheet (Answer questions regarding your career/professional goals)
- Graduate School Check List (Use this list to check off tasks as you begin the process of applying)
- Personal Statement Worksheet (Explore content ideas and organize your thoughts)
- Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC)
- Are you a current graduate student looking for assistance? Below are resources:
- VMock SMART Resume Platform
- Resume Target
Professional Dress Etiquette
Regarding Gender Identity and Attire
Your research on a particular employer or field, in addition to your comfort level, will assist in your choice to wear clothes associated with your gender identity or to wear gender-neutral clothing.
University of Houston University Career Services (UCS) has developed a dress code policy for all Career Fairs occurring during the Fall and Spring academic year. UCS requires students to dress professionally in order to represent the University of Houston in a positive and professional manner to those individuals visiting our campus.
UCS asks that students refrain from wearing the following to a UCS Career Fair:
- Short sleeved shirts (tank tops or cut-off shirts)
- Exposed backs, arms, and midriffs
- Flip Flops
- Casual Sandals
- Shorts (Cargo, jean or khakis)
- Athletic Gear (Sweatpants, workout shorts, yoga pants, and hooded sweatshirts)
Professional Dress Resources
Currently enrolled UH-Main and UH-Sugarland campus students have access to the following Professional Dress Assistance resources:
- Career Gear: Career Gear’s Philosophy is that successful employment serves as a catalyst for men to emerge as better fathers and leaders. Since 2004, Career Gear has helped over 7,000 men-in-need build better lives. Career Gear offers services to low-income, job-ready men of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
- Dress for Success: Dress for Success Houston promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since 1998, Dress for Success Houston has provided business attire to more than 50,000 women in the Houston community.
- UCS Career Closet: The UCS Career Closet is a service offered by UH University Career Services, where students can rent business professional clothing. Business professional suits come in either pantsuits or skirt suits and are available in multiple sizes. Students are able to select an appropriate size based on the available suits and pay $10 via credit or debit card, to rent the suit for 3 days. The $10 covers the dry cleaning services for each suit. Scholarships for suit rental are available upon request. Learn more about UCS Career Closet.
Resume, CV, Cover Letter
A resume shows your relevant professional experiences, education, skills, volunteer activities, and honors in a written formal document and is used to apply for jobs or internships.
Cover letters serve as a written introduction of yourself expressing interest in a position within an organization. Cover letters are tailored for each position and highlight specific skills and abilities that relate to the job.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
A curriculum vitae or CV is traditionally used in academic settings and tends to be multiple pages and could be used when applying for graduate or professional school, research positions, academic positions or grant proposals
Often the words “Salary Negotiation” can strike fear in the hearts of students, however, with practice and preparation you can obtain the salary you truly deserve. UCS can assist you with researching different salaries related to various positions you are applying to. We can also help you market yourself and teach you strategies for negotiating your salary though mock salary negotiations. Use our Budget Worksheet to determine your goal salary and then use our Salary Negotiation Guide to develop your strategy. Additional salary negotiation resources are below: