7 Tips for Job Searching During a Pandemic

Whether it’s looking for a student job or preparing yourself for post-graduation, finding employment opportunities can be an intimidating task. During a global pandemic, it can seem even harder. Here are 7 tips from Nathaniele Pelletier, Bishop’s University’s Career and Vocational Counsellor, and Adrien Pasche, Career Counselling Office Assistant, to help you navigate the “new normal” of job searching and make the most of helpful resources on campus!  

1) Nail the basics.  

Although we’re living in unprecedented times, the basics of career searching have not changed. Employers still expect a tailored resume with no grammatical mistakes and seek candidates that are knowledgeable about the company and specific position they are applying for. There are thousands of tips on the web on how to be ready for an online interview, but “don’t forget that what matters most is to be ready to give concrete examples of your previous experiences and how you can be an asset for your potential employers,” clarifies Pasche. Understand the difference between soft skills – such as communication and adaptability – and hard skills – such as computer skills and languages. To put things into perspective, according to a LinkedIn poll, “57 percent of leaders say soft skills are more important than hard skills.”  

2) Work on a Plan B.

Although some areas of work have grown with the pandemic, such as the computer sciences, others have slowed down considerably when it comes to employment, such as those in the arts. This is where a plan B comes in. If you are finding it difficult to find employment opportunities that fall in line with your plan A, consider looking for alternate opportunities that would allow you to gain transferable skills in the meantime, such as good communication and organization. “Find a plan B, so that when the economy starts back up, you’ll have the experience and skills to apply and become a very interesting candidate,” explains Pelletier. “Continue looking for your ideal job, but meanwhile, focus on your plan B and take it for a year to then jump back into plan A.” Pasche echoes this frame of mind, saying that “reflecting on your skills and experiences will help you to seek the right job. These days you must be ready to adapt to unpredictable changes. You may not get your ideal job right away; however, you will pick up new experiences and responsibilities which are highly valuable to build a career.” 

3) Scout out opportunities on campus.

Having a student job at Bishop’s marries the best of both worlds: working on your favourite campus while gaining valuable work experience. ‘’It can be very convenient for students; it’s a great way to save time and money. It’s also an opportunity to meet and connect with other stakeholders on campus,’’ explains Pasche. Some opportunities that come around every year are positions as note takers, lifeguards, and paid internships, to name a few. Job listings from on-campus employers can be found via the Career Counselling webpage. This list also includes job postings from off-campus employers.    

 4) Build your network. 

Networking can open doors you didn’t even know existed. A great place to get started is by signing up for the Bishop’s Career Café. The platform presents a great opportunity to connect with the greater Bishop’s community and our amazing network of alumni. “The Café is here to fill three purposes: to extend your networking and therefore increase your job opportunities, to receive mentoring advice from experienced individuals and to foster knowledge sharing through panel discussions with industry expert,’’ explains Pasche.    

This new platform powered by Ten Thousand Coffees already has many students and alumni signed up and who have connected over virtual cups of joe. A third-year student who recently joined the platform shared that: “I just had my virtual chat yesterday and it was extremely helpful for me. Sandra and I talked about organization and time management, skills I’m trying to develop for my asynchronous online classes.” All you need to do is go to the Ten Thousand Coffees website, register under Bishop’s, and get ready to have a virtual coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate) with an alumni!   

In addition to singing up for the Bishop’s Career Café, you should also create a free LinkedIn profile. This profile acts as both a virtual resume and a networking hub. Once your profile is set up, follow industries that interest you, stay up to date on the latest industry trends and changes, and connect with fellow classmates, past employers, and others you have met along your educational path. 

5) Attend career info-sessions 

Instead of an in-person career day this year, Career and Transition Services will organize info-sessions with employers who are seeking to hire Bishop’s students. Keep an eye out on the Student Services’ Facebook page and the Dish (sent right to your student email) for upcoming dates and times!  

The team also highly encourages students to attend virtual career fairs. Virtual career fairs are online events that use teleconferencing to connect employers with applicants. As before the pandemic, you will still need to be ready with a resume and a cover letter. Participants can select a time to connect with companies through their virtual booth, and often the company will provide information on job openings.  Below are links to some upcoming career fairs in Canada and the region: 

 6) Sign up for Career Bootcamp  

Building a resume, a LinkedIn profile, networking and getting ready to do interviews are all crucial steps in job searching, as we’ve touched on in the tips above. Sometimes, however, they can feel hard to prepare for and put together. During the 2021 Career Bootcamp webinar, you will receive insights, tips and feedback on all these subjects! This year’s edition will have some adapted workshops for the reality of online networking and interviews, including mock interview practice.

Although the date of the boot camp remains to be determined, this webinar will be extremely helpful for 3rd and 4th year students who are preparing to enter the workforce or are looking into graduate studies. For more information on this event and more, please visit our website.  

7) Still feeling lost? Meet with our Career and Transition Services team.  

When it comes to improving your resume and cover letters, helping you to create your LinkedIn profile, giving you tips on networking, as well as helping you practice interviewing skills, Adrien Pasche is there to help! Simply send him an email at adrien.pasche@ubishops.ca  

Not sure what you want to do with your major, how to combine majors for a specific career path, or be competitive for a certain kind of job? Book an appointment with Nathaniele Pelletier through the BU counselling portal, or by emailing careerservices@ubishops.ca.  

We are all experiencing a severe level of uncertainty which we have not being accustomed to. One main takeaway from these tips is that your career plan is unlikely to enfold the way you expect – and sometimes this is for the best, so embrace it! Be ready to welcome unknown opportunities and adjust accordingly. “As Dr. Jim Bright, Professor of Career Education and Development at Australian Catholic University, teaches, most people report a chance event as significantly influenced their career,” says Pasche. Who knows, outcomes of the “new normal” might just be your chance event.  

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