Members of the class of 2020 are graduating into the “real world” during a global pandemic and an economic freefall. They are seeing unemployment numbers unknown since the Great Depression. Those once far away responsibilities of “adulting” — finding a job, leasing a car or even buying a house — are closer than ever.
Where does a college graduate start after receiving that diploma?
Finding a job and pursuing a career
At Shippensburg University, the Career, Mentoring, and Professional Development Center (CMPDC) provides students and alumni professional development opportunities despite the transition to online instruction.
Victoria Kerr, the career development director at the CMPDC, said the staff quickly moved its services online for students to “not miss a beat.” She said the change was needed for students.
“Graduates have a lot of uncertainty. You hear the news and it’s very daunting and our hope is that we can give some positivity and support during this time,” Kerr said.
The center is continuing to hold events, including mock interviews, cover letter and resume critiques and even its job fair, over Zoom. Students and more than 75 employers attended a Zoom-based virtual career fair on April 15.
The CMPDC will host “Pathways to Success: Thinking about job and internship search post-coronavirus April 23 from 6-7 P.M. on Zoom (Meeting ID: 67205526). The session will feature hiring representatives and SU alumni offering tips on finding a job or internship in today’s changed economic outlook.
“We will come out of this [pandemic] and I don't want our students to feel underprepared,” Kerr said.
Kerr noted how students can fall into a negative state of mind, but that they need to reframe their experiences during the pandemic to be positive. She encouraged graduates and underclassmen to use this time to build their networks.
An NPR article suggests students and recent graduates should be flexible, lean on their school’s support resources and focus on gaining new skills while adjusting to this new “normal.”
Kerr encouraged students to take time to learn new opportunities that will translate into the job field.
“Think about the new skills and opportunities that you otherwise would not have had,” Kerr said.
Kerr also said this could be an opportunity to showcase resilience. Whenever an interviewer asks seniors about the challenges they faced, all seniors need to say is “I was a senior during the COVID-19 crisis.”