Career Advice for Job Seekers

Leverage the wisdom of your career services office when searching for an internship or entry-level job in this pandemic

Steven Rothberg AvatarSteven Rothberg
November 12, 2020

I’ve long lamented that college students do not use their career service offices nearly enough. There are certainly exceptions, but only about 20 percent of college students ever use their career service office, which means that an even smaller percentage make good use of their career service office.

Every student at every school should make good use of their career service office. Why? Because the professionals who work in those offices know more about how students from those schools can successfully find internships and entry-level jobs than anyone else. They know the employers who are most likely to hire their students and what students in previous years did that resulted in them being hired by those employers for internships and entry-level jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down and the world of employment is no different. That said, college career service offices remain an incredibly vital resource to students searching for internships and recent graduates hunting for entry-level jobs during this pandemic. And they’re eager to share that wisdom.

An example of a career service office professional who has wisdom to share is Mindy Agin, the Assistant Director for Internships & Externships at Ohio Wesleyan University, a small private liberal arts college in Delaware, Ohio, which is about 35 minutes north of Columbus, Ohio. Mindy shared with us three tips for how college students can find an internship in this COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Network. “When talking with people in your network or connecting with someone via LinkedIn, always say “I am interested in focusing on X opportunities for internships and would really appreciate any ideas, advice or suggestions that you are willing to offer.”  People are ALWAYS willing and happy to share ideas, advice and suggestions. This approach helps you build a connection with someone. However, if you only ask if they are hiring interns or do they know of any internships, they can easily respond “no” and then your conversation is over.”
  2. Use your career service office. “Make sure that your documents (resume, cover letter) have been updated and critiqued by someone in your school’s career service office.  Employers (small, medium, and large) see hundreds of resumes and can tell immediately who followed an online template and who got professional help.  You want your documents to make you an interesting, appealing, and competitive candidate.  It is acceptable to have multiple resumes and cover letters, as they should be tailored to each position.”
  3. Track your applications. “Create an excel spreadsheet to track your applications.  Columns you will want to include: name of employer, title of position, and dates you applied and followed up.  Additionally, create a separate folder and save copies of your internship descriptions so that you can refer to them when you are prepping for an interview, as the posting may have been removed.”

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