It’s been over a month since colleges and universities announced plans to move classes online as a result of COVID-19. The number of institutions shifting to remote learning continues to rise with each passing day. For current students and soon-to-be graduates, employability is the biggest concern with this shift. A recent report from Glassdoor indicated that “60% of companies reduced their job listings and nearly 25% have closed their job postings altogether.” Additionally, new data from Yello, an employment platform, found that “64% of student internships that have been canceled did not provide any form of alternative offer.” With so much uncertainty, students are turning to their career services offices even more now than they did before.
There are some universities that are coaching students through the challenges of COVID-19 by providing career services virtually. Penn State University’s Career Services office, for example, offers virtual career services resources to their students through the use of Symplicity CSM. Penn State has taken the time to showcase how students can utilize CSM so that they can become career ready without disruption.
“Providing students with the resources they need to become career ready has always been our number one goal. Using an online platform like CSM ensures that our students can continue to become career ready, despite campus closures. It’s fully customizable so we’re able to adjust CSM to meet our needs as the job market continues to change.”
OCI & CMS Manager,
Penn State University
Penn State put together a list of five recommendations for students that wish to continue with their employability journey:
1. Stay updated by checking out job postings and internships:
Students who are currently searching for a full-time or internship position should continue to search in Nittany Lion Careers for newly added job and internship postings. Even during this challenging economic time, organizations are continuing to post positions for Penn State students and alumni.
2. Stay connected by networking with alumni:
Networking is key to a successful job search. During challenging times like those we are currently facing, turning to those you know via networking is even more important. Building meaningful connections with alumni can open doors to leads and long-term mentorship. LionLink is a Penn State exclusive online mentorship and networking platform designed to connect current students and graduates to the Penn State alumni network. Through LionLink, alumni offer career and job insights to help students and fellow alumni expand their networks and grow professionally.
3. Be flexible and open to all opportunities, no matter the industry:
As the job market continues to change, students should be flexible and open to opportunities they may not have considered previously, such as different industries that may be more open to remote work or are growing during this time, like fulfillment organizations or tech companies. Gig experiences, or nontraditional, shorter-term projects or activities, can provide a pathway to full-time offers. While it’s important to be open to a variety of opportunities, students should still make sure to research each opportunity to make sure it is viable, legitimate and the right fit.
4. Sell yourself:
While selling yourself has always been important as part of the job search, as the job market becomes more competitive, it will be critically important for students to position themselves for success and present themselves well. Career Services staff members are offering mock interview sessions and resume critiques remotely to help students feel confident about representing themselves to employers. Students can schedule a virtual mock interview with Career Services staff to hone interviewing skills or practice individually using InterviewStream on any device.
5. Grow your career readiness:
Students are encouraged to use this time away from campus to continue to grow their career knowledge. Examples of things students can do from home include following professional groups on LinkedIn or subscribing to industry publications, using LinkedIn Learning or Coursera to take an online course to learn a new skill, utilizing GoinGlobal to learn about international opportunities, or visiting What Can I Do With This Major to see how one’s interests align with different career fields. Students can explore all of the online tools at studentaffairs.psu.edu/career/resources.