Campus Community / People of SU

Talking to Redhawks: How to Shift Your Job & Internship Search in a Pandemic

Written by Melissa Minato

May 27, 2021

Two students stand to left of campus signage that reads "Seattle University"

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The Career Engagement Office offers suggestions on how to navigate a job search in these uncertain times.

The effects of COVID-19 are widespread and the job and internship search process is no exception. To the students and recent alum of the Seattle University community, my greatest piece of advice as a career coach is to focus on what you can control. I do not ask anyone to reject their anxiety or ignore our global context, but is there a way to place your anxiety in a box during some moments of the day in order to focus on a specific and realistic goal or task?

Once you have checked-off that item for the day, identify healthy and constructive ways to process your emotions. This is one way we can all try to get work done and keep making progress on a job or internship search.

Access Seattle University Career Support Tools Online + Follow Industry Trends

Along with using online job boards accessible to anyone on the Internet, I urge you to also take advantage of online platforms only accessible to university communities. These include:

  • Handshake: Review the university’s online student job board, visit often for university and employer-sponsored events and develop your own profile.

  • CareerShift: Supports job seekers in finding the hidden job market by uncovering contacts within organizations for outreach and connection. CareerShift features an H-1B visa sponsorship job search tool and can assist
    with job searches for any students looking to work abroad or domestically.

  • Vault: Review industry research where you can access in-depth company profiles, get insight into becoming career-ready for various roles and day-in-the-life videos.

  • Lockin China: Supports both international and domestic students seeking opportunities in China and East Asia.

A changing job market might seem overwhelming but remember that knowledge is power. Before you start your job or internship search, research the industry, company or type of opportunity of interest to you. The goal is to investigate how these things are being impacted by COVID-19. If you are graduating this spring, perhaps spend an extra 20 minutes a week reading the news, checking your LinkedIn newsfeed for helpful articles, reviewing the Career Engagement Office Recently Asked Questions page or visiting the Handshake Student Blog.

You can also learn about trends in the employment market by attending virtual events planned by the Career Engagement OfficeAlbers Placement Center and employers. For a full list of all upcoming events, visit Handshake and our office’s website.

Call on Your Community, Identify Your Transferable Skills + Think Creatively

Social distancing does not equal social isolation. Now more than ever, it is important to intentionally engage with your people—whether that be classmates, hometown connections or family. Take the time to see how your network is doing and update them on your own well-being and career goals. Reconnecting with old co-workers and supervisors via email, phone or LinkedIn is time well spent in a job search. Now is also an appropriate time to make new connections.

Lean into this current state and ask Seattle U alumni, recruiters and potential employers if they would be willing to connect with you over an online informational interview. Leverage this time at home to develop your own online presence by updating your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles. Another way to network online is by building your digital presence. Show that you know your industry and profession through social media posts, articles and content. 

Do not anticipate that the life and routine you return to will look like the one you led pre-COVID. The new “normal” cannot be predicted at this time and I am sure I’m not the only one feeling anxious about this unknown future.

As stated by Aisha S. Ahmad, associate professor at the University of Toronto, “embrace radical acceptance.” As the economy shifts, the job market will continue to react. We might need to be more creative than ever before in applying the transferable skills you developed at Seattle U to employment and other post-grad opportunities you maybe never considered before. By being able to name the skills you gained through your academic program and experiential learning opportunities, you will be better equipped to talk to employers about the value you bring to their organization. You will also have to know how your technical and non-technical skills support your candidacy, even if you lack direct work experience in that field. If you’ve never practiced this type of communication skill before, I encourage you to talk to a career coach (see below) to fully learn and develop this ability.

Meet with a Career Coach

No one is alone in their professional formation journey. Take advantage of career coaching with the Career Engagement Office. Our team of coaches is ready to speak to you about your individual career plans and work with all students at Seattle U as well as newly minted alumni up to one year from graduation. You do not need to have a plan in place to visit our office. We can work with you on forming a job search strategy, exploring career paths, preparing for interviews, writing resumes and cover letters and much more. Appointments are conducted over Zoom and can be scheduled online

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all that you can or should be doing in your job search. Regardless of COVID-19 or the economy, landing a job or internship has always taken time and patience. By accessing the tools and resources above, you can be more productive and intentional in how you use your time.

Redhawks are strong and our community is resilient. The Career Engagement Office is ready to support you. It is not the reality we anticipated, but here we are, facing it together.

Melissa Minato is assistant director of Career Education at the Career Engagement Office. This article originally appeared on the Career Engagement blog.


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