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Job Searching in the Time of COVID-19: One Expert Shares Advice on How to Land Your Next Gig (Yes, it’s Still Possible)

There is hardly a person who hasn’t been affected by the current pandemic, but while COVID-19 may be here to stay, life must go on. Despite the current economic crisis and continuing uncertainty, many Consortium members are beginning internships and full-time roles, adapting to the new, virtual normal. 

For those who are still in the midst of their job or internship search, however, there are many challenges to landing a position in this volatile climate. Fortunately, there is still a lot you can do to get noticed and secure your next, albeit, not necessarily your dream job. (Not to mention, there are many companies that are still hiring.)  

Career services expert Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, assistant dean of the Career Management Center at Consortium member school Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, has some insight. She recently shared with us some tips to help students and recent graduates hoping to find their next big opportunity.

  • Continue networking. Reach out to alumni; propose 15-minute virtual chats. People may have more time to chat and will likely welcome the opportunity to share their wisdom.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile. Make sure to incorporate keywords and relevant courses into your profile so that recruiters can find you. In your headline and summary, be clear about what you are seeking and the skills you bring to the table.
  • Use LinkedIn. Go beyond just having a profile to learn how to actually leverage the platform. The vast majority of people do not know how to leverage LinkedIn or how recruiters use it. There are many tricks to this; for example, typing in “I’m hiring” in the search bar will turn up thousands of individuals who have those words in their profile. There are many videos on LinkedIn and other platforms that can provide insight on this.
  • Continue to apply to jobs. This is especially the case if they were recently posted. There are companies that are still hiring.
  • Be flexible. You may have to compromise on target industry, function, or both.
  • Be open. Accept that your internship or full-time role will look very different from what you expected. Many internships will be fully virtual, and some will have a later start date. Many full-time roles will begin virtually, and the start dates may be pushed out.
  • Look in all locations. Now that many companies have a good portion of their employees working remotely, they can hire from a broader geographic pool. Twitter and Square, for example, just announced a permanent work-from-home policy. Don’t limit your search to a specific geographic area since you will very likely be working remotely anyway. This will expand your range of opportunities.
  • Perfect the video interview. Students need to be very comfortable with video interviewing. We expect video interviewing to become the norm even into the fall 2020 recruiting season. Practice. Record yourself. Make sure you make good eye contact. Dress appropriately.
  • Say thank you. Send thank-you notes to people you interview with. It is amazing how many students don’t do this — and recruiters notice.
  • Make contact. Consider reaching out to recruiters directly. Research companies. Based on your research, develop a couple of project ideas that you could complete for the companies that fill a need that they have while utilizing your skills. This works! 

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