Career Services Advising Fellow Alison Doherty offers tips to help students continue their job searches during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This blog post by Career Services Advising Fellow Alison Doherty was originally published on the Student Professional Development Center’s “Elon University Careers Blog,” moderated by Senior Associate Director of Career Services for the School of Communications Ross Wade. Read past blog posts here.
How to continue your job search and professional development in the midst of COVID-19
By Alison Doherty
Everyone is probably tired of hearing this phrase, but we are living in unprecedented times. The presence of the novel coronavirus has impacted every aspect of our daily lives – the way we work, take classes, eat, spend time with friends, exercise – just to scratch the surface. For college students, especially seniors, who are now away from campus taking online classes, the impact of the virus and its economic costs can cause a lot of uncertainty and fear surrounding career goals. However, there are also a lot of things you can be doing now with your social distancing free time to set yourself up for success in your job/internship search and overall professional development. Below are some tips and facts for career planning through this pandemic:
Keep Applying to Opportunities
Given the state of our nation and the world right now, many students are not sure if they should even continue with their original plans to apply for jobs or internships. The answer we are giving is a resounding yes. While hiring has slowed as a result of COVID-19, many companies ARE still hiring. You might not realize that a majority of employers, 71% according to preliminary results from a NACE (National Association of College and Employers) poll, are continuing with internships as planned, and 23% are not cancelling them all together but taking a “wait-and-see approach while they evaluate different options such as reducing the length of the internship, the number of interns, and/or moving the experience online.” Kiara Hines in the SPDC also recently shared a great resource on LinkedIn: a Google sheet listing 1,575 remote jobs that are available right now to apply to. Additionally, the Elon Job Network alone currently has 232 internships and 201 full-time jobs/post-graduate internships/fellowships posted nationwide, with more added every day. The bottom line is that opportunities are absolutely still out there. And while others may stop applying over fears of uncertainty, you can continue with your career search with a potentially smaller applicant pool, working even harder and staying ahead of the curve. As SPDC Executive Director Tom Brinkley said, “it is important to maintain positivity in a career search … this is an unusual and unprecedented job market, and we remain optimistic for our Elon students and graduates.”
Take Time to Build Your Professional Online Presence and Network
Have you been wanting to update or create a LinkedIn profile and haven’t had the time? Why not take a break from Netflix-binging and use some of your quarantine free time to take steps to strengthen your professional online presence! The SPDC website has some helpful tips for getting started with LinkedIn (make sure you connect with Elon Career Services!), along with examples and templates to help you see what else you could add to make your profile stronger. Ross Wade, Senior Associate Director of Career Services for the School of Communications, has also made a great webinar covering LinkedIn Basics & Networking Strategies which you can access anytime. If you haven’t been already, you can use LinkedIn to grow your professional network and reach out to others in your field or industry. Connect with Elon alumni or other folks on LinkedIn and message them to see if you can set up a brief phone or WebEx meeting with them. These informational interviews not only help you learn more about potential career paths and company cultures, but also allows you to build professional relationships with important folks who can refer you to opportunities in the future.
Utilize the Student Professional Development Center’s Virtual Services & Online Resources
While we may not be able to meet with you in person, the SDPC continues to be open virtually Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. Students can make virtual appointments using the Elon Job Network, and a career advisor will meet with you via WebEx, over the phone, or through email. If you have a quick question, you can also use the “Live Chat” feature on the SPDC website, available from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday-Friday. Besides live meetings or chats with staff in our office, we also have several online career development tools available. These resources include: Big Interview, a 24/7 online interview practice tool; MyPlan, an online suite of career planning tools that walks students through a personality assessment, career interest inventory, resume preparation, and even major exploration and job samples; and Candid Career videos which provide career tips, industry and occupational informational and other “how to” tips related to career planning. Also, on the SPDC website, students can explore links to useful information and websites that support dozens of majors and areas of career interest. Finally, our Corporate & Employer Relations team continues to reach out to employers to create virtual engagement opportunities to connect students directly with employers, such as through virtual information sessions and interviews.
Just because we may be out of sight, don’t put the SPDC, and your own career search, out of mind. Stay connected and optimistic and continue to strive towards your career goals!