COVID-19 has presented higher education institutions and their students with a lot of uncertainty. As of May 14th, over 35 million American citizens have filed for unemployment in eight weeks, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. While the economic landscape seems grim, there are institutions and their career services offices that continue to provide students with employability resources and opportunities. For example, the William & Mary’s Cohen Career Center staff has been utilizing TribeCareers (powered by Symplicity CSM) to provide robust networking and job preparedness programs online. This involves finding new ways to engage alumni, parents and corporate partners, and taking extra steps to connect individually with students.
One way that W&M has been utilizing TribeCareers is by providing virtual advisory hours. Since April, the Cohen Career Center has been offering advisory hours on weeknights from 7pm to 9pm to provide another option for students who are trying to balance assignments, interviews and family dynamics. “The job market is not great, but we are still seeing companies that are hiring,” said Kathleen Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development at the Cohen Center, “A lot of companies are keeping interns but moving them to remote work, and many are keeping their full-time hires but delaying their start dates. In talking with employers, they know this is temporary.” Appointments for virtual career advising can be made via phone or Zoom through TribeCareers so students have easy, remote access.
“Symplicity CSM provides students and alumni with a one-stop shop for all of their career needs. Despite our campus being closed, we’re actually seeing more student and employer engagement within CSM than we’ve seen before.”
Associate Vice President for Career Development,
William & Mary
In addition to providing virtual career advising, W&M staff are using TribeCareers to offer virtual office hours, webinars, workshops, and networking events. For example, on April 22, W&M Law School alumnus, Bishop Garrison, ’10 participated in a virtual presentation to students about what it’s like to graduate into a tough economy. Garrison advised students to use this time as an opportunity to build their networks. This summer, to help students keep building their skills and networks, the W&M Law School also plans to launch a virtual professional development series for students in partnership with alumni and recruiting and professional development officers from law firms and government agencies, Ende Howerton, interim associate dean for development and alumni affairs at the W&M Law School, said. Howerton also added that “We always place a great emphasis on networking and building relationships – it’s the single most important thing that any graduate or job applicant can do.”
Ultimately, W&M’s career development leaders are trying to maximize their use of TribeCareers so that they can continue to provide employability opportunities for their students and alumni uninterrupted. Powell noted that CSM played a key part when it came to using TribeCareers to share information and leverage resources across different departments and schools, especially after the campus closed. “Symplicity CSM provides students and alumni with a one-stop shop for all of their career needs. Despite our campus being closed, we’re actually seeing more student engagement within CSM than we’ve seen before,” Powell said, “We’ve also seen an increase in employer engagement with more job postings than we saw go up last year. It puts me at ease to know that we can continue delivering career services even while working from home. We want students to know that we’re here for them, especially during this time of uncertainty.”