By: Peer Career Coach Smriti Dhingra

A global pandemic was not on the calendar when you started your senior year in college. Feeling helpless and stressed is the general outcome of this limbo. But there is light at the end of each tunnel and taking that perspective can help us find our silver lining. The only time we have in abundance right now is time and the comfort of our homes. So, take advantage of the situation and recreate yourself mentally and physically. Explore what you have always wanted to explore, in terms of software and skill sets. Participate in online conferences and competitions that interest you. Looking at the bigger picture rather than the day by day approach will make you feel a lot more relaxed and prepared. Step out of all the feelings that stop you from being productive. After all productivity is not measured by the amount of work done, but the degree of change that you bring in for yourself. Let’s start with some basic things to help you get back on track!

1.Do some research

To start a job search might seem like a pointless step right now when everything is in a limbo. There might be some who are unsure of the kind of job they are qualified for. If that is the scenario, then doing a little research about some of the different professional fields that connect you to your major or another area of academic interest can be a first step in that direction. Business related websites like Forbes may have a lot of resourceful information worth browsing.

The second aspect of research can be about the city or location you might be willing to relocate to. Knowing more about the general cost of living, rental expenses, recreational activities could help you figure out some ways you can formulate a plan. Zillow and Trulia provide insights into different neighborhoods and commute time.

2.Network:

This is also a great time to remotely introduce and brand yourself. Reach out to your connections who share the same professional interest. Talk to your professors about networking, and how they can help you connect with someone who could mentor you in your job search. Connect with alumni, companies, and organizations that you think would be a good place to work.

LinkedIn is a great place to start, and if you are a recent graduate student then Handshake might also be a great option to explore. Reach out and ask questions. What is it like to work at a specific company? Will the company be hiring soon? What can be expected during an interview process?

Finally staying close to career advisors and university professors as they have a sizable network of professional colleagues and friends any of who can turn out to be a key to your dream job.

3.Work on CV and Resumes:

There are various ways to design a resume but a good place to start is by creating a detailed CV. In a CV you will detail every possible work experience from internships and volunteering, even class projects. More things to include can be your academic focus, skill sets, certifications, extramural activities, and leadership positions. With this, you will be ready to customize a resume and cover letter for your future job applications. Upkey is a website that helps students with resumes. You can start there too!

In addition to a resume, there are portfolios, personal websites, writing samples. With time at your disposal you can dive deep into different online resources to brand your self in the best way possible. Career services on campus are available throughout the week and scheduling an appointment with a rough draft of a resume/portfolio/cover letter could be helpful. Also, reach out to your professors for opinions on your portfolio or personal websites.

Forbes and Indeed have helpful articles about using keywords to improve your resume’s chances of being pulled out to the employers by ATS (Applicant tracking system), an algorithm many companies use to scan virtual resumes to identify candidates.

  1. Online Profiles are Important

Online profiles help the employers get to know you better. They should be up-to-date with your accomplishments and free of grammatical errors. Profile pictures should be professional and if you do not have one already, it’s time to get that done.

Handshake, The Bridge, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed are good platforms to create a profile on as they are crucial job search resources.

  1. Interview Skills:

Practice interview skills because you never know everything going into an application or interview. Fortunately, you have the luxury of time to scour the internet and feel prepared and comfortable for what is to come. Schedule a one on one mock interview appointment with a career coach on campus. Another way to do it is connecting with a friend in industry in which are interested. Reach out and ask questions that they were asked in their interviews.

  1. Stay optimistic:

Feeling discouraged and anxious is something common to all in this global pandemic situation. Staying positive and working towards your goal is important right now. Though unemployment in the U.S. continues to soar, there are companies still hiring. And apart from the job hunt do something that makes you happy and keeps you motivated. It could be painting/cooking/gaming/binge watching shows. Rejuvenation of your body and mind is very important in this stagnant phase of out lives. Smile more and support people. After all, we all are together in this, and we all will fight this as a team!

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