How to Plan for Your Future While Social Distancing
Staying on top of your career planning while social distancing can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Your University of Arkansas career counselors are online and here to help. Below we’ve compiled some tips, resources, and advice on how to stay engaged in career planning and applications while social distancing. Stay safe and stay home!
How to Stay Connected:
- Connect with alumni: Make those connections! Use the LinkedIn alumni tool to connect with UA alumni. Message other students – from UA or other universities – via Handshake to learn more about places they’ve worked or interned.
- Set up a virtual appointment: Even though campus may be shut down temporarily, the Career Development Center counseling team is available for all our services via phone, video, and email. We’re happy to continue assisting you with your career-related needs, so contact us to set up an appointment!
- ATTEND VIRTUAL CAREER FAIRS AND EVENTS: Organizations like Career Eco host virtual and online opportunities to connect with employers. Additionally, several companies and organizations have turned to virtual career fairs or events to meet with recruits. Check out company websites for information as well as Handshake for updates.
- NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK: More than ever, networking with employers, alumni, and your own networks (friends, family, coworkers, faculty/staff, classmates) is crucial. Conduct informational interviews to learn more about what it’s like to work in a career field or for a specific company.
What about my internship?
Already have a job or internship lined up, but you’re concerned about what the current social distancing and/or economy means? Half of employers are still figuring this out, too. As they do, communicate but be adaptable. Your internship now may be remote instead of on-site. The first day in your new job could be from home or a couple of weeks later than you anticipated. New hires and interns who can roll with the punches are more likely to show their value, resilience, and commitment.
Prior to any student beginning an internship (whether receiving academic credit or not), it would be a good idea for students to have a discussion with their supervisors to determine if the employer is following adequate safety measures and will be practicing proper social distancing during this time as recommended by the Center for Disease Control.
Due to concerns with COVID-19, students who have a credit-bearing summer internship scheduled will need a letter from a supervisor within the organization stating the employer is following adequate safety measures and will be practicing proper social distancing during this time. Students should email the signed letter of their employer to their respective internship coordinator within their college/department. Your internship coordinator then will send it to the Provost Office for approval. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the University Career Development Center at 479-575-2805.
Prepare Your Online Presence
Update Handshake and LinkedIn
Having a strong, up-to-date online professional presence is vital anytime, but it’s particularly important right now. Students with a complete Handshake profile are 80% more likely to be viewed by employers! So update and complete your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles, along with any other professional online accounts or websites.
Clean up your social media
Take some time to clean up your social media account! Over half of employers have decided not to hire a candidate because their personal social media presence is problematic. Google yourself to see what employers will see when they search for you. Delete any old email or social media accounts that could be tied to you. Use an online tool like Scrubber to identify inappropriate or questionable content – and be conservative about what “questionable” means. Then delete it!
Have a counselor look over your profile
Request an appointment to have a career counselor review your LinkedIn or Handshake profile!
Apply for Jobs, Internships, or Graduate School
- Spend some time updating your resume, cover letter, and/or personal statement. View and download examples and templates on the UA Career Development Center website. Now more than ever it will be important to focus on your skills, accomplishments, contributions, and achievements – not just job duties or major.
- Then have someone review your application documents! Schedule an appointment with a counselor or peer mentor or send your materials to firstname.lastname@example.org for feedback.
- Search for jobs and internships with tools like Handshake, indeed.com advanced search, and LinkedIn, among others. The UA CDC website has lists of job search resources to help, too!
- Find graduate and professional schools to which you might apply. Several schools still have open applications and deadlines!
- Study and prepare for graduate school entrance exams. Take online practice tests, too!
- Prepare for job, internship, or graduate school interviews with mock interview prep. Read through the UA CDC website on interviewing for tips and information. Then schedule a mock interview with a counselor or peer mentor!
Be Career Ready
Utilize LinkedIn Learning
Enhance your professionalism by brushing up your skills – or learning new ones – through LinkedIn Learning. You can focus on interpersonal skills, technical trainings, or even career-related job search skills or networking. Plus, you already have an account through your UARK sign-in!
Be flexible when you can be
Just like all the rest of us, industries and companies are adapting to new circumstances in a time of some uncertainty. They’re figuring out what the new landscape of their hiring processes and employment needs are. In the meantime, if you’re looking for jobs or internships, be willing to look into employers or even careers you may not have considered previously.
Learn about the NACE career competencies
Discover more about the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) eight career competencies, including why they’re important and how to articulate them to employers. Being able to identify and communicate these to employers will be tremendously helpful in helping you stand out among other applicants!
Connect with Us:
Follow @uark_cdc for more updates and tips!