Career Steps for Seniors While Staying at Home
College seniors generally approach graduation with celebratory anticipation while preparing to launch their careers. This year it is more daunting as normal graduation anxiety is mixed with confusion thanks to coronavirus, flattening the richness of on-campus learning, and cancelling traditional job fairs. The longer and more widespread coronavirus, the greater the impact on the economy, the longer the period of uncertainty, the more rescinded job offers, furloughs, and frozen hiring. But if history taught us anything it is that people who get hired during economic downturns did not stop preparing or job searching. So, seniors while you stay-at-home and social distance, here are some steps to launch your career:
Meet remotely with UM Career Coaches!
Our Coaches are available to meet with you over email, phone, or Zoom! Services include:
- Resume, CV, or Cover Letter Review
- Interview Prep
- Mock Interviews
- Job Searching Strategies
- Graduate and Professional School Applications
- Employment Applications
Do Your Research
- Create a list of “Cool Companies” you want to work for, their location, job titles/requirements, etc.
- Research companies on your “Cool Company” list on social media and in the news
- Review those companies on Glassdoor – what’s the salary range? Interview questions?
- Search LinkedIn to see if any GRIZ work at the cool companies; then, connect, conduct an information interview
- Follow companies on social, connect with the hiring managers on LinkedIn, ask for an information interview
- Polish and optimize your résumé; learn how Applicant Tracking Systems use SEO to scan/score/rank resumes
We are still receiving hundreds of new postings in Handshake every week. The application and interview process for spring/summer jobs and internships may change as more information and guidelines come to light. We recommend being flexible and communicative with employers during the process and be prepared for phone and virtual interviews.
- Search Handshake for companies still hiring
- Check ELCS’s website for a list of Missoula companies hiring
- Stay positive but accept that you may have to accept a stop-gap, short-term job, move home….for now
Activate Your Professional Network
- Decide who your references will be; contact them, confirm their contact data, and update them on your search
- Build your LinkedIn profile and follow professional groups and industry thought-leaders
- Set-up Google alerts for job openings posted by any of your “Cool Companies”
- Join professional associations — you’ll still get the student discount rate!
Practice Your Remote Interviewing Skills
- Refine your “work-from-home” — dedicate space, download and learn to Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc.
- Research the company; dress professionally; tidy your virtual background; use Zoom etiquette (be on time, modulate your voice, use positive tone, focus on the camera, etc.)
- Questions you might ask during an interview:
- How has COVID-19 impacted organizational goals?
- What does the work-from home mandate look like at your company?
- Since we are interviewing digitally, and I’m not on-site, tell me about the company culture.
- Stay engaged — if a job offer is frozen, ask the recruiting manager how to/when to follow up
Prepare to Graduate and Launch Your Career
- Review your transcript for accuracy; pre-order an official transcript copy to be mailed to your home
- Check your credit score (Julie Heaton, UM Financial Education)
- Calculate your future student loan debt payments (Julie Heaton, UM Financial Education)
- Get a copy of your immunization records from Curry Health Center
Complete the First Destination Survey
The First Destination Survey is a brief online survey that allows students to report their plans after graduation from UM including employment, continuing education, volunteer service, and U.S. military service. The information you share will be used to enhance services provided to UM students and alumni to help them reach their career and post-graduation goals. Survey results may be used for accreditation and federal and state compliance, ensuring the value and integrity of your degree.
To take the survey on Handshake. After logging in, go to the Career Center > Surveys.
Explore AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA
- National Service programs will be hiring community-minded individuals to provide COVID-19 relief efforts and address many other community needs. Members earn a living allowance and education award
Lean Into Your Passions and Earn a Micro-Credential
- Take online trainings, polish or gain skills (certification) via YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Udemy or Edx
File For Unemployment
- Those who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 are encouraged to file a claim even if denied as it sets stage for expanded benefits
Research Graduate or Professional School
- Find schools, programs and locations that interest you
- Consider who you will ask to write your letter(s) of recommendation
Take Care of Yourself!
- Build resiliency, extend self-care for well-being, yes wash your hands, social distance, and don’t shake hands
- Practice self care--take a break from the news to avoid primary/secondary trauma (witnessing others’ suffering /traumatization); take an online yoga class; tour a virtual museum; watch a concert on Instagram; etc.
- Give yourself a 30-day challenge to make a positive impact so when your grandchildren ask you what you did during “The Pandemic of 2020” you have a quality answer
- Watch an uplifting Ted Talk or Goal Cast video about overcoming challenges, building careers, etc.
- Check with or shop for elders in your neighborhood; Facetime a K-3 neighbor to read them a story