UIW grad returns to help students seek careers

Tony Almendarez By JoAnn Jones

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Tony Almendarez graduated in business from the University of the Incarnate Word, but he’s returned to take care of some UIW business as the new coordinator of Career Services.

“My mission as coordinator of Career Services is to foster employer and campus partnerships to create an ongoing interest in the employment and internship potential of UIW students and alumni,” Almendarez said.

Almendarez returns to UIW from a background in hospitality. For several years, he was the concierge for the Marriott Riverwalk and the Hyatt Regency.

“My background is in hospitality, serving guests,” Almendarez said. “In a way, I am still in the service industry, but this time I am providing a career service to students.”

Almendarez said his interest in higher education came from volunteering in the communication resource center at a community college in Corpus Christi. There, he helped students with their speeches and communication homework.

Now, Almendarez is helping students find potential internships and jobs with the many services offered through Career Services.

“One of my main duties as the coordinator of Career Services is job development, trying to build relationships with employers and increase interest in UIW alumni and students.”

In addition, Almendarez said he wishes to increase campus awareness about the Office of Career Services, which is a free educational service available to all UIW students.

“I think that students are really unfamiliar with what Career Services does and offers. I think [more awareness] is beneficial to the students, to really utilize our services. Some of the services that Career Services offers are resume and cover letter assistance, career counseling and on-campus recruitment. We look and seek individual companies, big and small within the community, to come on campus to do recruitments.”

Recently, the U.S. Department of State and Northrup Grumman participated in one of Career Services’ on-campus recruitments.

Career Services also offers mock interviews, career workshops and career assessment tools, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is typically used to help undeclared majors find a career path that will best suit them.

One of Career Services’ largest tasks is to hold the annual spring job fair.

“The job fair, which is scheduled for March, is designed to help UIW students and alumni find jobs or internships,” Almendarez said.

Whether a senior or a freshman, students are encouraged to use the services provided by Career Services, such as Career Circuit, which lists full-time and part-time jobs and allows students to upload their resume into a job database.

“I think that it is really important for students to understand that they should start planning for their success early on, especially for freshmen. They think that graduation is four years away. But if you want to put it in a different perspective, they have 48 months before they graduate. When you think about it in those terms, there really isn’t a lot of time, so it is really important to plan early and plan ahead. It’s always good to be prepared.”

Almendarez said he hopes to help students find their potential.

“Every day is different,” Almendarez said. “There is nothing monotonous about this job. Every individual student has a different story, need or want. It makes my position very unique in that I get to meet these students one-on-one and learn about them and sometimes empathize with them because of similar backgrounds or experiences.

“We want our students to be successful. I am a graduate of UIW, so I have a vested interest in making sure that UIW students do well.”

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