One of the many impacts of the current COVID-19 crisis is a uniquely challenging job and internship market for many of this spring and summer's graduating students. The Grad Success Center continues to offer both individual consultations and workshops via Zoom and we are here to help with job searches, career exploration, professional planning, or reviewing job materials. You can also access our career development webinars about topics ranging from creating digital job agents to using LinkedIn for your job search. The Pomerantz Career Center has also put together some resources for career development during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition to these services offered by Grad Success, there are a variety of online resources that graduate students can take advantage of to continue to advance their career preparation and professional development during this challenging time:
Search for Jobs
There's no doubt that it's a frustrating time to run a job search of any kind, but there are strategies to help make this process easier:
- Focus Your Search: While it can be tempting to cast as wide a net as possible to maximize the opportunities to which you apply, the nature of the job market right now makes it especially important to focus on job areas for which your skills, interests, and values make you an especially good fit. Take advantage of the self-assessments on Imagine Ph.D. and MyIDP to help guide you in this process. It can also be helpful to know who's hiring and who's not. This user-generated list of companies that are currently hiring and those that are under hiring freezes can help offer some guidance in terms of where you should be looking and where to avoid.
- Digitize Your Search: Creating job agents that will keep scanning sites like LinkedIn and HigherEdJobs for new opportunities can save you time and help you stay up to date with new opportunities and openings as they become available. Learn about creating digital job agents in this 30-minute video created by the Grad Success team. You can also check out this list of national, local, and disciplinary job databases.
- Lean on your Network: If you already have a LinkedIn profile, reach out to those that you're connected with and make new connections to learn about potential openings. Remember that the majority of hiring happens on the informal job market and that making connections and building relationships is just as important as what's on your resume. Given current social distancing and isolation measures, this is a good time to check in with your network and reconnect with professional connections that you may not have have talked with in a while. Learn more about connecting and reconnecting with your network via LinkedIn in this 30-minute instructional video from the Grad Success Team.
- Explore Remote Options: Given the current limitations on in-person work, it can be worthwhile to explore remote or virtual employment opportunities. The Pomerantz Career Center has developed this resource for searching for remote or telecommuting employment.
- Connect to Professional Organizations: Many professional organizations have job boards for positions within their fields. Additionally, many of these organizations offer student discounts to join and take advantage of their resources.
Apply for Jobs
- Refresh Your Job Docs: Job documents like resumes and C.V.s are living documents and should continue to evolve with your career. You can take a look at these resources for C.V.s and for Resumes as you think about revising and continuing to update your job documents.
- Make Your Materials Memorable: Using illustrative anecdotes in cover letters, resumes, and statements is, in general, a far more effective strategy than trying to list everything relevant to a potential position. Utilizing evocative (or "power") verbs can also make your materials more memorable and effective. To highlight your research experience, take a look at this list of "Scholar Verbs" that were developed from a computational analysis of winning research fellowship applications.
- Get Outside Input: Reach out to get support from those around you. Work with your advisor, mentors, or the career advisors at the Graduate Success Center (schedule an individual consultation) to get help with brainstorming, writing, or revising your career materials. Graduate Success advisors can help you explore careers outside the academy, brush up on interview techniques, or think through the negotiation process.
Explore Career Opportunities
- Self Assessment: Though it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best places to start a job search is with you—what are your values, interests, and skills? These qualities can help you determine what career areas might be good fits and can help guide your process of exploration. Both Imagine Ph.D. (best for humanists and social scientists) and MyIDP (best for STEM disciplines) have great assessment tools that can help to jumpstart your career exploration process.
- Guided Exploration: With the information from your self-assessment, you can explore the different career areas that align most with your particular characteristics. You can also explore LinkedIn groups, professional organizations, and set up informational interviews to help get a better sense of what jobs in different career areas look like and what might be a good fit.
- Try It On: The only good way to know if a career area is going to be a good fit is to try it out for a bit. The Intersect Job Simulations site offers brief job simulations (most can be completed in a couple of hours) that can help you get a sense of what kind of work people do in various jobs from teaching faculty to lobbying legislatures. Each simulation also connects to resources to help users get a better sense of the the kinds of skills necessary to successfully work in that particular career area.