The coronavirus pandemic has changed the paths many IU seniors thought they were going to take after graduating. Jobs have turned remote, offers have been rescinded and many are feeling uncertain about their futures.
Joseph Lovejoy, director of the Walter Center for Career Achievement, said the center is working to help the College of Arts and Sciences seniors get information about jobs and internships by conducting career coaching appointments, workshops and webinars online.
“We have a lot of students that have had internship and job offers rescinded,” Lovejoy said. “We are trying to be really hands-on with those students and helping them to identify what their next step is given their situation.”
Lovejoy said the center personally tried to call all of the seniors in the College of Arts and Sciences to check in with them and make sure they had the appropriate resources for their next steps after graduating. He said the center has put on several webinars, including one on how students can succeed in a remote work environment, that were uploaded to its website.
Lovejoy said he frequently tells seniors to build relationships with future employers and IU alumni, think more broadly about job opportunities and remember that their first job outside of college is not a job they have to keep forever.
“I want to remind students that one of the most powerful resources that they have available to them as a student at IU is our alumni," Lovejoy said. "All of the schools have great contacts with alumni—students need to remember, even though they’re away from campus, they’re not alone in this.”
The center suggests networking by connecting with alumni on LinkedIn and contacting alumni in their fields through their schools' career resources. Students should also try to be proactive in their hunt for jobs by attending virtual career fairs the center has and getting their resumes critiqued by career coaches.
Other tips include making sure social media accounts are appropriate for employers to see, practicing job interviews and personalizing resumes and cover letters to fit each job description. Seniors can also look for nontraditional work, such as freelancing and short-term opportunities, to gain valuable skills and professional networks.
IU senior Paxton Krehn, studying linguistic anthropology, said she was invited to join the Peace Corps for two years in Ukraine teaching English to secondary school students starting in August, but it has now been postponed until at least October.. She said after she returns from Ukraine, she wants to apply for law school.
Krehn said she feels like the next couple of years will be shaky since her original start date has been pushed back and could be canceled.
“If that gets canceled, I haven’t done anything to apply for law school, so it's not like I can start that part of my life,”Krehn said.
She said its difficult to be graduating right now because no one knows what advice to give.
IU senior Niki Pizzato, studying computer science, said she has a job lined up at Discover Financial Services, which she was offered in the fall after her internship there last summer.
“I’m incredibly lucky I was able to find a job early,” Pizzato said.
Pizzato said she is thankful her job is technology based because it can be done remotely. She said she feels bad for her friends in the arts industry, since those jobs typically cannot be done remotely.