5 Tips for College Students Job Searching During COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has managed to change the job market in just a few months. Glassdoor recently reported a 20.5 percent drop in job openings on their site from April 6 to March 9. Among the many groups impacted are students and soon-to-be graduates that are anticipating to enter the workforce in some capacity, whether it be a full-time job, co-op or internship. With a decreased amount of employers offering these opportunities, many students are left wondering if they will be able to find employment after the school year ends in the spring. We asked our team of hiring experts to give their advice for these students facing an unprecedented time.

Be Agile & Creative

In what ways can you think outside of the box when it comes to your job search? Senior Account Manager, Georgianna Rhoda, advises, “Be creative and don’t be afraid of an opportunity to get your foot in the door and prove yourself. Many grads are in an unexpected position and should be agile and creative in their job search.” She adds, “There may be an opportunity with a company of interest that wouldn’t have been exactly what you were targeting. This could be a great path to stay busy during this time and make a great lasting impression on a future employer!” Gaining experience in an unfamiliar area will provide you with new skills and give you an understanding of a different role or industry.

Expand Your Focus

With limited opportunities, you may want to reconsider your job targets. In other words, what terms or filters are you using to search for openings? President and CEO, Gabrielle Christman notes, “Stay focused on the opportunities that are right for you, but consider how you can expand your focus. For example if you want to be a chemist but only wanted to work in the chemical industry, can you compromise and open that up to other industries like, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, agriculture science?” Christman continues, “If you were only open to one city, maybe you can expand the radius of your search to capture more companies hiring for the role you want.” Giving yourself flexibility in some of these areas may provide you with more options when it comes to open roles and companies. 

Keep Learning

You can still work on your career even when you aren’t job searching. With many online professional development course offering opportunities available, it is easy to find learning options for hard or soft skills that are relevant for the kind of opportunities you are searching for. Joyce Badran, Recruiter, adds, “Think about additional knowledge and experience you can gain. Increasing your knowledge will increase your value to potential employers.” Add any skills you learn to your resume or LinkedIn profile and consider mentioning your recent skill development efforts in your next phone screen or virtual interview. This may show the hiring manager that you are interested in your field and are willing to dedicate time to your own development.

Network in Your Free Time

When you think of networking, career fairs or professional events likely come to mind. Although current social distancing regulations present a challenge to in-person networking opportunities, there are plenty of ways to connect with others virtually. Paige Pezzato, Recruiter II, explains, “I would recommend adding your resume to your LinkedIn profile, setting yourself as open to new opportunities and searching for people to connect with in your industry or companies you would want to work with.” She adds, “It does not hurt to reach out to someone or connect with them and send them a message asking if they know of any open opportunities that would match your skills and experiences. Once you make the connection, continue to follow up with that person periodically in your job search.” Utilize tools like LinkedIn to cultivate a network of thought leaders and professionals in your area of interest. An opportunity could easily be a connection away!

Stay Positive

As we continue to navigate this uncertain time, it is important to remain confident in your skills and abilities. Tori Stallkamp, STEM Recruiter, advises, “Be confident! Your hard work and tremendous accomplishments should not be diminished in light of the situation. The right opportunity is out there!” The skills you are learning by facing this unprecedented situation could help you remain resilient and adaptable in your future career. Try your best to stay motivated and focused on your career goals throughout your job search.

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