Job opportunities are at a premium because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The job market had 20.5 million jobs disappear in April 2020, which is the worst monthly loss on record according to the Department of Labor.
Students may be scrambling to prepare for the “new normal,” when searching through available jobs. They are updating their resumes in hopes that they receive a call for a video or a phone interview. Some may be confused as to where to start.
But Amy Dittmer says there is nothing to fear. Recently, the Director of Career Services at William Woods spoke with The Woods Today where she assured students that her office remains open to help students during this time, while providing tips in her own words to help one excel in their job hunt.
Career Services remains available to help students in any way possible. While searching for jobs may currently have additional challenges, there are still multiple things you can do to keep your job search moving forward. In order to keep your current job search moving forward, you should be tailoring, updating, or creating your resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn profile. Most importantly you should still be networking with professionals in your field virtually. I created the attached tips sheet to help students during this time.
Networking with Purple Briefcase
Whether a first-year student or a graduate, Careerlink by Purple Briefcase is an important source of information, career-related events, and career exploration tools. Most importantly, it is the main platform that we use to post internships, job opportunities, and other important career-related information. We encourage all students to visit the site and get familiar with tools available.
The platform allows students to search employers, follow them for alerts of on-campus activity and view posted employment opportunities. Students can also connect with the Office of Career Services to set up appointments to learn more ways to help prepare for internships and job opportunities. Careerlink by Purple Briefcase has hundreds of career preparation videos for students to watch and comment on, forums for connecting to great career advice, and most importantly – internship and job postings!
Nailing a phone interview
In my opinion, phone interviews have always been challenging. Mainly because it is usually a screening interview—meaning they are looking for a reason to eliminate you from the process. Also, it is harder to read the interviewer when you do not have a visual of their body language throughout the interview.
Some tips to help you not get eliminated are:
- Make sure you are in a quiet space with strong cell reception and remove all distractions like a barking dog, loud television, etc. Make sure your family or roommates know you are interviewing, and ask them to keep it quiet, as well.
- You have done your research on the organization prior to the interview, but now is the time to do even more. Make sure you know as much as possible about the company including their values, culture, history, and information about the industry in which you are interviewing.
- Create your ‘cheat sheet’ notes. These should include talking points to remind you of skills, strengths, and experiences you want to cover in the interview. You should also include the questions you plan to ask the interviewer, which brings me to my next point.
- When the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” the answer is always, “Yes, I do!” In your research you may have come up with questions. Otherwise, you can always ask about training, professional development, opportunities for advancement, and specifics about the position itself. One question that you do not ask is, “How much are you going to pay me?” That information will come later.
- Even though they can’t see you, I suggest you sit at a desk, stand, or pace (if you’re a pacer) and smile. It sounds silly, but they can hear it in your voice. There is a reason in the sales industry they train to ‘smile and dial’.
- As with any type of interview, you should always send a thank you note and follow-up.
Interviewing over video
Video interviews are more common now than ever before. While there are a few similarities between phone and video interviews, there are some differences, as well. Mainly, they can see you, now! Below are a few tips.
- Look at the camera. This takes a bit of getting used to since you want to look at the other participants’ faces (and, let’s be honest, your own face), but try to look at the camera when you’re talking. This tactic will mimic the in-person feeling of eye contact. It’s important to gauge reactions by looking at the screen but alternating that with looking at the camera makes the audience feel like you’re really talking to them.
- Adjust your camera if it is too low or high. Nobody wants to look up your nose. Your camera should be at eye level or a bit above for a more flattering view.
- Refrain from private behavior like scratching, picking your nose, or any other nervous habits. Remember, they can see you. That could be awkward.
A few other points
Your resume and cover letters are obviously extremely important throughout this process. I am always available to review those and provide you with feedback. Reviewing and editing students’ resumes and letters is not much different. I use “Track Changes” in Microsoft Word to make suggestions and comments. This way, students can see the suggestions and decide if they want to make them or not. I include a quick video in my email signature on how to use “Track Changes,” in case students are not familiar with it.
Despite our current circumstances, I remain available to meet with students as they move forward with their job search. Calendly is a scheduling tool for students to select a meeting time that works best with their schedule when I am available. It reduces the number of back and forth emails in trying to find a meeting time. I include the link in my email signature at any time, students can schedule a meeting.
One may have to change the routine of job hunting and William Woods has a great resource with Career Services always being at the cutting edge of trends within the job market. Be sure to check with Dittmer and Career Services today.
Here is a link to learn more about Career Services: https://www.williamwoods.edu/student_experience/undergraduate_student_experience/student_services/career_services.html