October 12, 2018
Taking advantage of every opportunity helped Melody Morales ’19 find her way from on-campus job to internship to department director, all by her third year at UT.
“It’s crazy,” said Morales, a management major from Orlando, FL, who is the human resources director at Pronto Progress, a software development firm. “I still think about it and am like wait a minute, this actually happened.”
Melody Morales ’19 started as an intern with Pronto Progress before being hired as its human resources director.
It all goes back to her first few weeks on campus as a first-year student. It was the second week or so, and she received an email announcing that Career Services was critiquing resumes. She quickly typed one up on her computer and headed over to the office, where Mark Colvenbach, director of UT’s Office of Career Services, was the one to go over her resume.
“He looked at it and was like, ‘We’ve got work to do,’” she laughed. “He helped me gain confidence. I know I have the potential — I just need to use the resources around me.”
Resources like Career Services’ events, including resume critiques, career workshops and etiquette dinners. Colvenbach also offered her an on-campus job with his department.
“Melody appeared to be very driven from the first time she came into Career Services. Her diverse job experiences from high school were extremely impressive, and she was extremely professional during her interactions with our office,” Colvenbach said. “Like many UT students, Melody was passionate about learning and wanting to define her next step.”
She did such a good job her first semester with Career Services, a position that required her to screen jobs that were submitted to the online job board Handshake (previously HIRE-UT), that she was asked to be a career ambassador.
“My role became critiquing resumes, meeting with students about internships, answering any questions they had relevant to the major or graduate school or whatever they had doubts about,” Morales said. “I love talking with people. Even outside of the office I was already helping friends with their resumes and teaching them what I was learning.”
She took her own advice as an ambassador and created an online profile with her resume on Handshake, hoping that maybe an internship offer would come of it down the road. When her freshman year ended, she headed home to Orlando where she commuted back and forth to Tampa to see her friends. She wasn’t actively looking for internships, just for part-time summer jobs. Then she got an email from a company who said they saw her resume on Handshake.
They needed someone immediately, and she appeared to be a great fit. The next day, she had a phone interview and was offered the human resources intern position, and she started work the following day.
“I met the company I’m working for now through the job I had with Mark, and that's how I stumbled into that field, essentially. I never had a clear idea of what I wanted to do. It never really struck me until I started doing what I'm doing now. So it's kind of an accident, but it’s worked out.
During her second year at UT, Morales was working at her internship, playing beach volleyball on UT’s Division I team, and going to school full time. “I had to find 20 hours a week between my practices and my classes to do the internship. It was a lot.”
During her second year at UT, Morales was working at her internship with Pronto Progress, playing beach volley on UT’s Division I team, and going to school full-time. “I had to find 20 hours a week between my practices and my classes to do the internship. It was a lot.”
When the volleyball season ended and summer came, her boss asked if she wanted to work full time over the summer, “and my internship essentially then became an actual position. I got offered the job as human resources director. I went from being the intern to the director of the department.”
Now in her third year at UT, Morales is working part time for Pronto Progress (which turns into full time on school breaks) while going to school. It’s a small company of 35 employees with three other U.S. locations, and she works closely with the CEO and her other coworkers. She’s learning a lot on the job, recruiting software developers and business analysts and outsourcing them to clients.
“What I did at Career Services actually correlates with what I’m doing now, which is HR. Most of what I do is recruit from universities and go to career centers and talk to students. It all circles back to what I was doing there at Career Services,” Morales said. “I can’t sit down and program, but I know what I’m looking for. It has been a learning experience, but it’s interesting to me. It’s an incredible field.”
Clearly, taking advantage of on-campus resources has been beneficial for Morales, who also recommends her peers really utilize the asset they have in each of their professors. Morales is currently in a human resource management class, and her professor is also a human resource director, so she is able to ask specific questions to what she is experiencing on the job.
Colvenbach echoed Morales’ sentiments exactly.
“I believe it’s very important to get engaged early at UT, not just with Career Services, but with student organizations, intramurals, speaker programs on campus, connections with faculty, etc. I truly feel this is critical to taking advantage of all UT has to offer,” Colvenbach said. “Career Services can be a great stepping stone to assist with students exploring future career paths, internships and connecting with the ‘real’ world.”
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