Morgan La Casse
Illustrated by Morgan La Casse.
Departments across the University of Minnesota are offering virtual career services to ease the transition for students preparing to enter the workforce.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have implemented hiring freezes and some student internships and job offers have been withdrawn. Career services across the University are working to offer resources and information to students as they begin to enter the job market.
“When everything went virtual, it’s thinking about how we can make sure that students know that we’re available, that we want to continue to see them virtually, and support their individual needs and goals,” said Katy Hinz, assistant director for Career Counseling and Engagement Initiatives in the College of Liberal Arts. “Many of them are feeling stress or anxiety around the uncertainty. As career counselors, our goal is to hear students and understand their concerns and their unique situations.”
A variety of career resources are offered to students at the University. These services are targeted at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in addition to students from a variety of colleges.
One webinar series, designed for undergraduates in CLA, helps students navigate the current job market and create a job search plan.
“The focus is really on the current hiring climate, what we’re hearing from employers, and then how to help students pivot into finding job opportunities that are ways to keep growing professionally during this time,” Hinz said.
Another career service assists graduate students that had been considering an academic position explore other options. Others include services for students in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, the College of Design and doctoral students and researchers within the Medical School.
“We’re emailing probably once every 10 days or two weeks with updated information about internship and job hiring resources. A lot of career centers, including our own, have created a resource document related to COVID job and internship search,” said Maggie Kubak, assistant director for Career and Internship Services.
University senior Brian Tregilgas, who attended a webinar offered through CLA, is looking to continue making connections with employers despite the current job market.
“It is frustrating to hear that three months ago the job market was the best it has ever been for college graduates, to now with 30 million people unemployed,” Tregilgas said. “The important thing to do now is to continue to build connections and relationships and talk to possible employers to learn about options now or in the future.”
Some students said they feel that they are now more aware and engaged with the career resources offered to them. University student Tony Voss, who has returned to complete his degree after a 15-year break, also attended the virtual webinar series.
“[Resources] were not something I took advantage of in my first attempt, but [I] definitely used the support system when I returned,” Voss said.
While the University has always made these resources available, there is now an increased urgency to make career services more accessible for students, said Mackenzie Sullivan, director of Graduate Career Services.
“We are seeing a lot of urgency from students, understandably, they’re very anxious about the job market,” Sullivan said. “We wanted to do something so that students can really start diving in.”