Career Services available to coach students through current challenges

April 16, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — While the full economic impacts of the coronavirus are unknown, students and alumni can be assured that a dedicated network of career professionals is working to help navigate these uncharted waters. While some students might be facing rescinded offers for jobs or internships, others may be experiencing anxiety around how to search for opportunities and connect with employers in this remote environment. No matter what stage of your career journey you may be in, the University has virtual tools and support available.

Career Services, a division of Student Affairs, is available for both students and alumni with virtual career counseling, resources and career events, such as online career fairs. An evolving list of virtual resources, events and information can be found on the Career Services website. Penn State’s Alumni Career Services also has a dedicated team offering career counseling, coaching, webinars, events and other resources to all Penn State alumni. Students can connect with their college or campus career offices for resources and support as well.

Navigating an uncertain job market and rescinded offers

Career counselors are available to meet with students virtually to answer career questions, coach students through individual situations, or create an action plan for finding a job or internship. Students can schedule a 30- or 60-minute appointment in Nittany Lion Careers. Students who have had a job or internship offer rescinded should start by connecting with a career counselor to talk through next steps.

Students who are currently searching for a full-time or internship position should continue to search in Nittany Lion Careers for newly added job and internship postings. Even during this challenging economic time, organizations are continuing to post positions for Penn State students and alumni.

Networking is key to a successful job search. In normal times, networking is the way that most students and alumni find jobs. During challenging times like those we are currently facing, turning to those you know via networking is even more important. Penn State has more than 700,000 alumni representing every industry and living all over the world. Building meaningful connections with alumni can open doors to leads and long-term mentorship. LionLink is a Penn State exclusive online mentorship and networking platform designed to connect current students and graduates to the Penn State alumni network. Through LionLink, alumni offer career and job insights to help students and fellow alumni expand their networks and grow professionally.

Career Services staff members are having continued and open dialogues with organizations from across the country as they continue to monitor the economic impact of the coronavirus. Employer plans are, understandably, incredibly fluid and are moving at a fast pace. We are proactively working with employers to support their recruiting efforts by converting traditional on-campus interviews to online interviews. Virtual career fairs are also a great way to connect with employers from many different industries.

Being flexible and selling yourself

As the job market continues to change, students should be flexible and open to opportunities they may not have considered previously, such as different industries that may be more open to remote work or are growing during this time, like fulfillment organizations or tech companies. Gig experiences, or nontraditional, shorter-term projects or activities, can provide a pathway to full-time offers. While it’s important to be open to a variety of opportunities, students should still make sure to research each opportunity to make sure it is viable, legitimate and the right fit.

While selling yourself has always been important as part of the job search, as the job market becomes more competitive, it will be critically important for students to position themselves for success and present themselves well. Career Services staff members are offering mock interview sessions and resume critiques remotely to help students feel confident about representing themselves to employers. Students can schedule a virtual mock interview with Career Services staff to hone interviewing skills or practice individually using InterviewStream on any device.

Students should update their LinkedIn profile to ensure it represents them well and start to connect with professionals in fields that are of interest. Search for Penn State alumni who work at an organization you’re interested in and reach out with questions about the company, culture and potential openings. Schedule a career counseling appointment in Nittany Lion Careers to have your LinkedIn profile reviewed by a professional before getting started.

Growing your career readiness

Career Services is encouraging students to use this time away from campus to continue to grow their career knowledge. Examples of things students can do from home include following professional groups on LinkedIn or subscribing to industry publications, using LinkedIn Learning or Coursera to take an online course to learn a new skill, utilizing GoinGlobal to learn about international opportunities, or visiting What Can I Do With This Major to see how one's interests align with different career fields. Students can explore all of the online tools at studentaffairs.psu.edu/career/resources.

Faculty and student organizations also can request career-related workshops for their classes or organizations. Career counselors can prepare a workshop for a class or student group quickly and present remotely. Those interested in scheduling a virtual workshop can complete the online request form.

Career Services is here for students during these unique and unprecedented times. Find an evolving and comprehensive list of all virtual services at studentaffairs.psu.edu/career/virtual.

Last Updated April 16, 2020