The ever-changing scope of COVID-19 means an evolving work world and plenty of uncertainties within the job market. But certain constants can help students. UM-Flint career experts share advice on how to job search in these times.
“In the current business environment, employers value skills that enable employees to be flexible and productive. This includes being able to make the adjustment to productively working from home and using video-conferencing software,” said Dr. Brian Blume, professor of organizational behavior and HR management, and associate director of Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
“Learning how to effectively interact in virtual environments (e.g., interacting with professors and classmates; doing a presentation) are skills that can be honed during this time and are likely to be valued in the future, even after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.”
Do your homework
“Now is the time to review your resume, research companies of interest, and build a bigger and more robust network. Take time to deeply review your resume,” said UM-Flint Career Center manager Sara Barton.
“Does it express your full potential and all of the skills and talents you possess? If you provided your resume to a stranger, would they know all of the benefits you could contribute to their company? Research companies that hire people within your academic field, interest you, or you know little to nothing about,” said Barton.
“Small to medium-sized businesses employ the most individuals, so don’t just focus on the common names in your field. Also, don’t limit yourself to your specific region.
The current situation in our workplaces may change the way business is handled in the future. Finally, build and expand your network. Connect on LinkedIn with past professors, managers, mentors, or alumni. Ask for a brief phone call with any of these individuals to reconnect.”
Employers are attempting to restructure and strategically carry out activities by leveraging technology and resources. There may be a delay in responding to applicants and carrying out the recruitment process,” said Antonio Riggs, a career planning counselor within the School of Management.
“Be prepared to communicate with employers using virtual platforms such as Bluejeans, Google Meet, HireVue, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom. In the meantime, stay organized in your job search process.
Identify a place in your home or apartment to have your virtual meeting space with no background noise or interruptions. Please make sure you are dressed professionally from head to toe, and your background spaces are clean and free of distracting objects.”
Take advantage of online learning
“So many companies that provide training and other education online are now free to everyone, so take advantage of that to continually grow professionally. You don’t need to acquire a new degree or do a long program,” said Barton. ‘A short class on skills such as coding or understanding data analytics are great, too, and valuable additions for your resume.
Leverage your UM-Flint experience
“When students demonstrate they are ready to face challenges and remain willing to approach change with a learning-orientation, they are building skill sets that employers desire,” said Blume.
“In some ways, the current situation has provided an opportunity for students to utilize these and other skills they have nurtured while at UM-Flint. Students can highlight how they have proactively adjusted to the current situation when interviewing for jobs.”
Utilize your support network
“The Career Center partners with the Writing Center to review and critique student resumes. Job openings and virtual events hosted by companies are listed in the career management platform HandShake,” said Barton.
“Phone or video appointments are available with a career advisor. Also, talk with your family members about your career goals. Be specific regarding your skills and what type of positions you are seeking. Use your professional network as well. Call a different person each day to reconnect.”