As graduation approaches for college seniors, career advisers say they should prepare to enter a job market that looks different.
The coronavirus has created uncertainty for employers, who in turn have rescinded job offers and internship opportunities for some graduating students.
Warren Kistner, career center director at Illinois Wesleyan University, said it’s disappointing but not unexpected.
“We may and probably will see more of that moving forward because I think some employers are still evaluating the feasibility of what they can do over the summer and what can be converted to virtual and maybe what can’t,” said Kistner.
The career centers at IWU and Illinois State University have both seen students whose job offers have been retracted.
Alina Simkina, a senior at ISU, had accepted an offer as a recruiter at a firm in Chicago. But in March the offer was withdrawn.
“I was kind of preparing for the worst, hoping for the best,” said Simkina. “I felt like this could be a possibility because I had already heard of students that had their job offers being taken away so it was definitely disappointing. I just tried to keep positive, but it was something that I was not too happy about in the beginning.”
Despite the changes, there are still many employers hiring, said Pamela Cooper, career center director at ISU.
“The online job search process isn't new and with the way that things are at the moment in the world, students doing just a little bit more of the research on the employers can be a helpful tool,” said Cooper.
Both Kistner and Cooper agree that at this time, graduating students need to be open to expanding their career search.
“I encourage students to look at industries that have not been hit as hard even if it is different than the path they initially thought … It’s a starting point,” said Kistner.
Simkina encourages her graduating peers to continue to be proactive in searching for a job. Though it has been a difficult time, she is still determined to find a job and has continued to communicate with her network and has stayed in touch with her mentors.
It’s important for students to prepare for things to look different after the worst of the coronavirus passes, said Kistener.
“We are going to come out on the other side of this and things may and likely will look different,” said Kistner. “I don't know that anybody has a crystal ball to know exactly what that new normal is going to look like, but I would encourage students to be patient and to turn to family, friends, alumni, and professionals that they know … to possibly consider opportunities in areas that maybe they hadn't thought about initially as a way to get started professionally.”
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