The job market may be changing—but many opportunities are available
Finding a job during a global pandemic may seem like a daunting task—but opportunities do exist and there are strategies that can help job seekers in these uncertain economic times.
With many businesses booming during COVID-19—from health-care supply chain management to logistics, food and agricultural services, communications and technology—a range of career options exist for students and new graduates seeking employment, says Kim Kiloh, director of the UBC Centre for Student Involvement & Careers.
“The transition from school to work is often a time of heightened anxiety for students, and there’s no question that graduating in the middle of a global pandemic can exacerbate those feelings,” says Kiloh. “But it’s not all doom and gloom as we have definitely seen many industries surge in their hiring right now.”
While these industries and the opportunities available may not be where all students imagined themselves working after graduation, Kiloh recommends they consider how their skills and knowledge could be applied to fields that are performing well—at least for now.
“We’re encouraging students to stay positive about the opportunities that are out there and to go for it, even if it’s not exactly where you thought you would be after graduation,” she says.
Here are Kiloh’s six tips on how to find a job during a global pandemic.
- Check out Your Next Step for career resources from across UBC
The “Your Next Step” website brings together career resources from across UBC to help graduating students and alumni make the most of their talents, interests, and education in a changing world of work.
The website—created thanks to a partnership between alumni UBC, the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, and the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre—features a range of resources from virtual career events, to guidance from fellow alumni and employers, online resources from career experts, and recruitment events. It also includes helpful information on industries that are hiring right now and a job board with active postings, for current students and alumni.
- Pay a virtual visit to UBC’s Centre for Student Involvement and Careers
UBC’s Centre for Student Involvement and Careers has shifted their services and resources online, offering career advising and events such as career and recruitment fairs in a virtual setting, as well as webinars on topics such as how to prepare a resume or cover letter and how to master a virtual job interview.
“We have seen really high engagement from students with our virtual offerings,” says Kiloh, adding that their recent virtual career fair saw 38 organizations and about 1,400 students take part.
Kiloh recommends students visit the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers website to learn more about the many virtual resources available to help them find work now and start preparing for a career after graduation.
- Apply for a Work Learn opportunity and join a Co-op program
Although the majority of Work Learn positions and Co-op programs at UBC are now taking place virtually due to COVID-19, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many opportunities still available.
Work Learn Winter 2020 positions are now open, offering a diverse range of paid part-time work with UBC faculty, staff, and affiliates. Through Co-op, students alternate between academic terms and paid work terms with employers that can range from private business to the public sector and non-profit organizations.
“We even have some positions in COVID-19 research labs where students are getting on-the-ground research experience helping provide support during the pandemic,” says Kiloh.
- Build your online career presence
In addition to dusting off your resume, Kiloh says it’s more important than ever during COVID-19 to make sure you are “findable” online. She recommends students build and maintain their LinkedIn profile so that employers can easily find information about them online.
“Don’t be afraid to network and tell people that you are looking for work,” she says.
(But don’t forget to also clean up your social media presence by making non-career related social media accounts private, hiding and deleting any inappropriate posts, and deactivating old accounts.)
- Be open to short-term work
While it isn’t ideal for everyone, saying yes to short-term contracts can be a great way to gain experience and open up networking opportunities.
A company may not have permanent positions right now, but many will survive the pandemic and have longer-term opportunities available in the future. Getting your foot in the door now, even on a part-time basis, could eventually lead to full-time position.
“Even if it isn’t totally aligned with your career goals, short-term work still offers an opportunity to develop your skills and expand your network,” says Kiloh. “You may even discover new industries and roles that pique your interest.”
- Consider investing in more education
If you’re still struggling to find work, consider using this time to further develop your skills and knowledge so you are prepared for the job market when the economy bounces back.
“Going back to school is a trend that we often see during times of economic downturn,” says Kiloh. “Using this time to go back to school and perhaps get your master’s degree, or even pursuing an online course or two to develop new skills, can be helpful in your job search down the road.”
For more information on career resources at UBC, click here.