Career Services offers guidance to students entering job market

Lauren Lehmann, Staff Reporter

 

Ashley Chen | Production Manager

Internships and post-graduation job prospects are uncertain in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, and students are anxious. Many students have received messages notifying applicants that the application process has been paused because of social distancing regulations and market instability. There is a possibility that the coronavirus shutdown may extend into the summer and put a hold on career plans. Tulane University Career Services advisors weighed in on the situation to offer guidance in an unprecedented situation. 

If a student receives notification that an internship is indefinitely postponed or cancelled, Valerie Morgan, career advisor and career development instructor, suggests that students first contact the company and acknowledge the cancellation. She explains that this is especially beneficial if the student would be interested in working with that company in the future. Continue the relationship by thanking your point of contact for the opportunity and telling them that you are interested in continuing a professional relationship with the company. 

Scott Cohen, career advisor and senior year experience coach, and Edward Cruz, assistant dean and executive director of Tulane University Career Services, also emphasize the importance of maintaining contact with prospective job companies and encourage students to inquire about the possibility of working remotely, which can highlight one’s ability to be a self-starter while not in the office.

Cohen offers other ideas on how to gain marketable skills during a period without a full time internship:  start a nonprofit or website that is focused around your previous experience. Another option is to apply for micro-internships, which are short-term assignments that may thrive during this time period as companies seek remote support, or to enroll in an online certification course. Cruz highlights the site Parker Dewey as a resource for obtaining these short-term internships.

Morgan has also called attention to the fact that many industries are thriving and growing despite economic stagnancy. Short-term career planning should reflect this shift by targeting industries such as technology, shipping, healthcare/healthcare research, and some sectors of the federal government. While these industries may not be tailored to your dream job, they offer opportunity for professional experience while the market stabilizes.

On top of this advice, each career advisor emphasized that their offices are open for any questions or concerns students may have through Zoom. Advisors are taking appointments to tailor their advice to your specific situation. Additionally, online events are being held to help students adjust to professional, online etiquette. Kathryn Santanilla, career advisor and Senior Year Experience coach, added that these events are available on Handshake, where students can find also companies currently hiring. 

LinkedIn and the HireTulane site are also great resources for students. Santanilla points out that the Tulane alumni page on LinkedIn is a great way to use Tulane connections for networking. With the current situation, however, professionals are also adjusting, so it would be wise to wait until things settle down before asking for informational calls. 

Many students are going to have a gap in their resumes for this summer, and Morgan highlights the uniqueness of the situation as students face this challenge as a cohort. The critical part here is for students not to become overwhelmed with the uncertainty to the point they are unable to move forward,” Cruz said.

Career Services advises students looking to enter the labor force to keep moving even if plans fall through and to apply to positions they may not have considered before.