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Ways to Utilize Your Free Time: Job Search Edition

Hailey Blanchard, Account Associate

COVID-19 has completely dominated the news cycle for weeks and will probably continue to do so for a while. There have been many events that have been cancelled due to COVID-19 like Penn State’s very own Career Fair for the College of Communications. For any college student, the cancellation of career fairs and job networking events is disappointing, but mostly stressful. Job fairs are where most college students get the opportunity to talk in person with recruiters to get potential internships or jobs for the following semester or summer. This cancellation can be un-motivating for many, but there are many steps a current student or soon to be graduate can take to make sure they are using this free time to their advantage by making sure their job searches are as effective and productive as possible. 

Keep applying. Although everything in the world seems like it was been put on hold, companies and agencies are still thinking about bringing in new talent. Maintain the momentum by applying to jobs on LinkedIn or job websites. There are new job postings on LinkedIn every single day about wanting entry level or associate level workers. Even if they are not getting back to you right away, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t hiring. And some could get back to you almost right away because they want the new talent available when people do go back into the office and are super busy. When you keep applying to jobs, it increases your chances of finding one or getting an interview a lot higher. 

Cover letter and resume. Someone’s resume and cover letter are the essential materials a person needs to find and get a job. It is imperative that you continue to edit and polish your resume and cover letters to make them look as professional as possible. You want them to stand out to recruiters. This will help you be prepared when people start hiring again. Also, sending in a resume that is polished to a recruiter or hiring manager even if they aren’t hiring is still a good idea because they could keep your resume in mind if something comes up in the future. 

Expand your network. You have all this free time and now it’s time to use it by expanding your network on LinkedIn or via email. Recruiters or Talent Acquisition are always looking for new talent no matter what is going on in the world and they can always keep you in mind even if they are not hiring right away. Connecting with people in your industry is extremely valuable because they possibly could have the connections that lead you to a job or internship opportunity. These people could be colleagues from previous jobs, alumni or even friends that can open up opportunities that you may not have even considered.  

Be patient. The world is nuts right now and it is going to take some time for it to get back to normal. Many companies and agencies are going to focus on getting back on their feet before worrying about new talent, but that doesn’t mean they will stop hiring completely. Just because you won’t get a job or internship at the time you thought, it doesn’t mean you are never going to get one. Be patient with yourself during this time and make sure you are taking proactive measures to stay healthy because when the time comes that you do get hired, they will need you at your best. Things are going to be very different this job cycle so take it one day at a time because it will all come together eventually.

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