Margo Sassaman, associate director of career management for Millersville University’s (MU) Experiential Learning and Career Management (ELCM) department, has one message for students preparing to begin their job search after graduation: Don’t panic.
During uncertain economic times, ELCM is working on new, creative ways to help Millersville students and alumni.
“First, it’s important to remember that it may take a little bit longer for employment but there will be positions out there,” Sassaman said. “Employers are also trying to navigate these times too.”
Resume and cover letter editing, LinkedIn profile feedback, mock interviews, job and internship search appointments and career exploration and counseling are services provided by ELCM, Sassaman added. Now, the department completes them virtually. Virtual walk-in hours via zoom run every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students and alumni interested in the help can reach out via email at email@example.com or visit the department’s webpage.
Sassaman says understanding the new job-search landscape is important because no one knows what the future holds. “Employers will connect virtually, that’s a new reality,” she said. “That may remain even when we’re not isolated, some employers may continue to do their searches through virtual spaces.”
Sassaman stressed taking some time out of the day to build new connections and strengthen others. For students who already have interviews lined up, she has a few tips.
First, be aware of your surroundings. Interviewees should do their best to have a professional background or use a virtual background. The Millersville website offers several different zoom backgrounds.
Interviewees should continue to dress professionally, get into the meeting a little early and try and find a quiet area for the interview. Although it may be difficult, it adds a layer of professionalism.
“I know that when I’m getting on for an important meeting, I might put the dogs in a separate room so they don’t disturb my call,” she said.
Zoom also allows for screen sharing. Having documents prepared, like a resume, cover letter and work examples, can come in handy during the interview.
Finally, Sassaman urged students to carefully read through all emails sent by the ELCM department. The emails will contain important events and tips to help navigate the job search during the pandemic. Students can also search through “Career Connections” on the ELCM website. Anyone preparing to graduate should change their email so the ELCM department can remain in communication with them.
“Be active with us, pay attention to the things we’re sending out,” Sassaman said. “Make sure you are using it. We’re here to support you.”