How college seniors should prepare for the job search in the age of Coronavirus

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As we enter April, many college seniors are getting ready to graduate.

Usually, this means packing up their dorm rooms, booking their ticket home, and revamping their resume before walking the stage.

This year, however, many college seniors are wondering how to prepare for their career after college, when many companies aren’t currently hiring, or aren’t holding in-person interviews.

While this does cause anxiety and concern for many, there are things students can do to put their best foot forward.

Here is a five-step game plan. 

Build connections

Even before the pandemic, building connections was an important part of finding work after graduation. While students aren’t currently able to network in person, they can turn to websites like LinkedIn for help.

Seniors can use LinkedIn to look up their dream companies and connect with those who currently work at that company, or those who work in their industry. After connecting, they can send a polite, professional message introducing themselves and stating what they would like to do after graduation.

Even if they aren’t the hiring manager, building professional relationships can benefit the student greatly. 

Search for jobs online

Although many companies might be slow to respond during this time, students can still apply to job openings online.

Beyond LinkedIn, they can use sites like Ladders, Glassdoor, Indeed and Monster to find businesses that are currently hiring.

Better yet, if there is a specific company that they would like to work at, they can head to that company’s specific job page and apply there directly. (If you are looking for a longer list of job search engines, try here).

Reach out to family and friends

Family and friends can be a great source for students as they can provide them with advice or open up their own networks to them. Even if that family member doesn’t work in the same industry, they might know someone who does.

Or, if not those who know the student best can be great for emotional support during this time. Graduating seniors who are applying for jobs and internships will need pep talks and might need help finding solutions when they feel stuck during their job search. 

Revamp and build

College seniors or those who are currently on the job hunt can revamp and build their resume, website, portfolio, and a list of references. As they begin to apply for jobs it is important to find different ways they can stand out.

During this time, when things are a bit slower, college seniors can stay productive by cleaning up anything that might need it or building something new altogether. Those who are entering a creative field can add new photos, articles, testimonials or graphics to their portfolio.

Or, if the student previously interned, they can ask their former employers for letters of recommendation, or for tips on how they can improve their resume.

Practice interviewing skills 

College seniors who are applying for jobs might be able to score job interviews over the phone, or via skype and zoom.

For this reason, many students might find it beneficial to practice their interview skills.

They can do this by practicing with a family member, friend or with a career coach at their school. If they are unfamiliar with how to use Zoom or Skype, this would be a good time to practice these skills, too. If you are helping them prepare, you can ask them a list of the most commonly asked questions.

Or, ask them a few hard ones, allowing them to be quick on their feet. (Need help? Here are five commonly asked questions to get you started).

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