By Samantha Hilyer
How are people, especially graduating seniors, supposed to look for employment when so many are losing their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic? More than 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March,” reported NBC News.
Courtney Baum, director of the Career and Professional Development Center, said that students who have already received offers of employment have confirmed that they will still be employed. However, many employers have pushed back the starting date to later in the summer or early fall. Those employers that are still currently hiring have transitioned to completely virtual interviews and job trainings. Employers who cannot transition virtually are still posting openings with an optimistic outlook that once businesses begin to open up, students will have the opportunity to pursue positions.
“Right now, it is important for students to be patient, know that their education at Saint Vincent is high quality, and [know] that, although the scenario is not one they had anticipated, they will come out stronger in the end.” - Courtney Baum
Even with such hope, Baum stated that the Career and Professional Development Center is still expecting students to be in touch, given that there are employers who may not know what kind of state their organization is currently in given the circumstances.
Baum advise graduating seniors looking for employment to connect with the Career and Professional Development Center before graduation so that staff can help prepare students to search for jobs, especially if students have not yet started. Those at the Center are especially interested in assisting students who may need short-notice help in branding their professional image for interviews or job fairs.
Through webinars, videos and student appointments, Baum said that the staff is able to focus on giving students important knowledge about their resumes, interview and networking skills.
Baum said she also encourages seniors to follow companies on social media, reconnect with previous supervisors, and to advertise in their networks that they are seeking employment.
“No matter what the state of the economy,” Baum said, “seniors often begin having some level of anxiety about moving onto the next phase of their personal and professional journey this time of year.”
However, explained Baum, there is no doubt that 2020 seniors are facing new challenges in finding employment. Seniors may have to unexpectedly relocate in order to obtain a job in their desired field or, in terms of careers, explore alternative options that they had not previously investigated.
“Being open-minded is key to getting a job for seniors,” Baum said.
Graduating seniors of 2020, according to Baum, will be appreciated by future employers because of their ability to adapt to utilizing technology and managing their communication in a new way during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Right now, it is important for students to be patient, know that their education at Saint Vincent is high quality, and [know] that, although the scenario is not one they had anticipated, they will come out stronger in the end,” she explained.
Seniors Jessica Hartner, education major, and Morgan Casto, biology major, shared their experience in searching for jobs so far.
“The uncertainty about when everything is going back to normal is making finding a job difficult.” - Morgan Casto
Hartner said she has already accepted a fellowships position. She stated she believes schools are still hiring so she sees the current events as affecting summer jobs more than anything.
Casto, however, is currently still looking for a position.
“The uncertainty about when everything is going back to normal is making finding a job difficult,” Casto said. “Finding someone that is hiring is harder to find.”
The Career and Professional Development Center is currently working on a video workshop series titled Career and Professional Development Video Series to continue to assist students seeking employment. Topics discussed in the series will include career exploration, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, networking, having a professional online presence, and details about putting together a good LinkedIn profile.
The Center is also planning on hosting other workshops, such as for job and internship searching, and tips on graduate school planning. These workshops will be coming out soon and linked directly to a YouTube channel which will be found on the Center’s website. If students have other topics that they would like the Career and Professional Development Center to discuss, they can email Baum at firstname.lastname@example.org.