Today is not the same as yesterday.
We are in a rapidly changing and unpredictable crisis that is unprecedented.
When it comes to our college students and grads, they are facing a new reality and an uncertain future. College classes are being conducted remotely, graduations are canceled, and we do not have a time table for things returning to “normal”. Internships that were secured may no longer exist. Many students have not finalized summer employment and are unsure how to proceed.
I get it. Like many parents of college students, I have a college junior who returned home from a semester abroad program and is currently quarantined in our basement. He was waiting to hear about his summer internship plans this week and now… silence. We are numb and trying to figure out what to do next.
As a parent, we want to help or give guidance but it’s hard to find the words. The markets are volatile, job prospects will be limited and we worry about our family’s safety and security.
I do not have all the answers.
But I have some ideas for parents to encourage their students and grads on how to approach this situation and prepare for the job search.
1. Focus on the end game.
It may not feel like it now, but this will pass. We do not know how long this will last, but employers will hire students and grads for positions in the workplace.
2. Preparation will set candidates apart.
This will be a competitive hiring market. Those that plan ahead now and use the extra time they have at home will put them ahead. This is a great time for students to network with contacts in a field of interest, update their resume, and learn to use LinkedIn in a meaningful way. Get our free course for college students and grads on how to use LinkedIn HERE.
3. Gain skills.
Getting to the highest level in XBOX may a goal for some kids. But if your student wants to be a video game designer, now is a great time to learn. They can earn certifications remotely, learn a new language, or take a coding or excel class online. If they are artistic or develop apps, they can spend time building their online portfolios. Tutoring K-12 students is another opportunity to work and assist others needing help in this remote learning environment.
4. “Virtual” internships.
This is a new way for employers to access college students in the workplace. Companies will have a backload of work that they need help with that may require little training i.e., creating social media content, financial analysis, lead generation, market research. These may be more project-based that happen year-round. And these work experiences could happen now, before the summer, if your student/grad has extra capacity. Learn how students can get micro-internships.
5. Online and video communication are here to stay.
As the workforce adapts to working remotely and using video conferencing applications for meetings and daily work, this will become the new normal even once this crisis has passed. College students and grads will need to learn how to do video and phone interviews really well. Make sure they have a quiet and clean space with the right webcam, microphone, speakers, and lighting. Dress like they are meeting in person and practice recording themselves before a video call goes live.
We may not be able to control the outside world, but we can control what we do right now.
We are here to support you and answer any questions about the job search process for your student or grad.