Can’t find an internship or entry-level jobs during this pandemic? Ask alumni for help!

Posted November 13, 2020 by

Young adults, as most college and university students and recent graduates are, typically are unaware of the power of their network. They think of their network as friends and family, but don’t realize that alumni of their schools are also in their network…even if the job seeker doesn’t know the alum and maybe even has never even heard of them.

But those who share an affinity with you are part of your network and you’d be amazed at how much joy an alum of your school will find in helping you as a student or recent graduate find an internship or entry-level job, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. Someone else who shares that belief is Rich Goodman, associate director of career development at McDaniel College’s Center for Experience and Opportunity.

Rich recently shared three great tips for students searching for internships and recent graduates hunting for entry-level jobs despite this pandemic:

  1. Craft your story, and market yourself! Applications for jobs and graduate schools do not automatically materialize upon receipt of a college degree – applying for work is work.  Make it much easier on your future self by building your professional presence before you even start applying for jobs. Perfecting your resume and cover letter templates, doing mock interviews, creating a portfolio or even a free website, and asking for letters of recommendation are just a few ways that you can prepare for future applications. Creating a LinkedIn account is another great way to increase your search-ability, highlight your experience, and tell your story the way that you want the world to see it. Check with your career services office for help with any of these steps and much more!
  2. Learn new skills (and improve old ones)! It can be hard to find good experience, especially during COVID-19. Remote internships are becoming increasingly popular as a great option to gain experience, but there are plenty of other options to expand your resume. There are plenty of free online courses and micro-credential programs for a more structured experience, but if you’re an independent learner, invest the time to learn new skills. Create content with free graphic design or video-production software! Learn a new language! Build a website or perfect your lab skills! Do some freelance copy-editing or become instantly hirable by submitting good grant proposals! There is always more to learn from the skilled staff and faculty around you, and they usually need help with starting some new initiative or conducting research. Volunteering is another great way to gain this valuable experience, and it also says a lot about your character!
  3. Never stop exploring! College is one of the best times in your life to explore all of the options in front of you, especially within an institution that focuses on a wide range of subjects, like a liberal arts school. Take advantage of all of the resources, opportunities, and support within your reach to fully align yourself with your desired path. Take electives, join clubs, take student leadership positions, go to seminars and workshops, and ask for help! There are plenty of offices around you that would love to get you more involved. You also have a full alumni network to connect with people who have something in common with you – reach out to them! Stop by your alumni office or go on LinkedIn to find alums that you can speak to over a quick call or a socially-distant coffee hour. Alumni love to mentor current students, and they are a wealth of knowledge to help explain what working within your field is really like. 
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