The Career & Professional Development Center is committed to helping all University of Utah students on being career ready. While DACA and Undocumented students have unique experiences and obstacles in their job and internship search, the Career & Professional Development Center has resources available to help with a more seamless career path.
- If you have DACA you can answer “yes” to the question and continue through the hiring process without having to disclose more detailed information about your background. See the section below for more information on DACA.
- If you do not have DACA or another work authorization status, there are other options you may consider for gaining experience and finding employment. See the section below for alternative employment options.
- It can be confusing and stressful to decide when and with whom to share your status. Throughout the job search and hiring process it is important to provide information that is true and authentic, however, you ultimately get to decide whether or not to share your status. Come in to talk with a staff member about strategies for disclosing your status at different points in the process.You may decide to share your status with an organization early in the hiring process or in an interview if you feel comfortable doing so, and to start a discussion about how to move forward in the process. It is important to consider who you would want to disclose to (sharing with a recruiter vs. a supervisor) and in what manner (disclosing in a personal statement for graduate school vs. in an interview). If you are unsure about whether to and how to disclose your status, meet with a Career Coach. These individuals can support you during these uncomfortable situations.
- If you receive an internship offer, you may ask the employer not to be paid and pursue other means of financial support such as those mentioned above.
- You may discuss with an employer the option of working as an independent contractor. Independent contractors often do the same type of work, but instead of working for one employer, might work for multiple clients. Examples of independent contractor jobs include being a tutor or child care provider.
- An independent contractor can use an Independent Taxpayer Identification Number which can be obtained regardless of immigration status. Read Life after College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) for more information (pages 29-35).
- If you are interested in starting your own business, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be an option to consider. An LLC is composed of an individual or a group of people who are both workers and owners of a business.
- The Dream Center at the University of Utah Office of Engagement works holistically with undocumented students and their families from college access to graduation. The Dream Center (1) engages in specialized college outreach and access strategies, (2) provides individualized mentoring and scholarship support for current and future University of Utah undocumented students, (3) promotes campus-wide advocacy and trainings for University of Utah students, faculty, staff and administration, and (4) increases community-wide awareness of policies affecting current and future University of Utah undocumented students.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for individuals who came to the U.S. as children and who meet certain guidelines. You may find the following resources helpful as you navigate employment in the US.
- Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Information on requesting consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA).
- Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC): Empowers undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional and policy transformation.
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center: Provides legal trainings, educational materials and advocacy to advance immigrant rights.
- My (Un) Documented Life: Community for undocumented immigrants, including scholarship opportunities, strategies for navigating the educational system and information on how to apply for DACA.
- National Immigration Law Center: Leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income.
- Student Caffe: Information on opportunities that DACA/undocumented students can and cannot apply for.
- United We Dream: Nonpartisan network is made up of over 100,000 immigrant youth and allies and 55 affiliate organizations in 26 states.
There are many online resources for finding jobs and internships. Check out our Job & Internships page to access the resources available to all University of Utah students. When you search for opportunities, keep in mind your ability to accept a paid or unpaid position.
It can be helpful to connect with other students and alumni—with or without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status—who have been through the hiring process and found opportunities. You can learn strategies from their experiences that may help in your own process.
Finding Support for Unpaid Internships
As an undocumented student, you may also be managing financial stressors that make it difficult to pursue unpaid internships. There are some resources available at University of Utah and externally that may help you manage financial constraints.
Pay close attention to application requirements and deadlines, and reach out to the departments for more information.
The best way to prepare for life after graduation is to find experiences that will allow you to develop skills you can apply in the workplace. Whether it is a paid or unpaid position, it is important to choose experiences that help you explore your interests and fit with your career goals.
Skill-building experiences may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:
- Community organizing
- Academic projects
- Shadowing professionals
- Part-time positions
- Leadership roles in student groups
- Study abroad (with DACA)
We understand these resources may not cover all of your questions. To talk further about these resources or other topics, login to Cranium Café (ConexEd) to make an appointment with any available Career Coach if you are a current student or login to Handshake to make an appointment with our Alumni Career Coach if you are an alum. We also know that the content we have shared here is not exhaustive and that resources on identity are continually evolving. If you would like to share your comments or suggestions with us to help us improve our content, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your feedback anytime.