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Alumni Relations hosts “Career Advice During a Pandemic” virtual event

 Jack Jeffrey

It isn’t new to say that this country finds itself in the midst of a global pandemic. Students around the world are getting ever closer to earning their illustrious degrees and prepping for their job searches.

With COVID-19 though, it’s even tougher to find a job post-graduation. According to pewresearch.org the unemployment percentage shot up from 4% in February to 13% in May. There’s cause for concern among the senior class. 

Springfield College held an advice panel via zoom, hosted by alumni who have established jobs and have experience in the work force. The goal of course to help students lock in careers despite how the job landscape may look.

The panelists begun their discussion by attempting to ease some stress students may have when entering a job search. 

“One of the things I always told college students is no matter what, a typical job search takes about 6 months, it’s not like people just find their jobs instantly. You have to think about how you can be creative,” Peggy Boyd, a professor in management at the University of Rhode Island said.

One thing the panelists pushed was the importance of getting connected on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is essentially an online platform for people to get connected with various professions and employers.

“You have to create your brand in that visual context of LinkedIn,” said Boyd. “If you aren’t actively in that environment, people don’t know you exist.”

Justin Tishman, a division director at Robert Half International, reinforced the amount of stock he, as well as the other panelists, put in to LinkedIn when it comes to looking for a profession. 

“I love LinkedIn, when I was looking to make a career change from law enforcement to the corporate world no one was going to look at my resume I had no experience in that world. So what did I do, I saw a job that I liked, I did my research, I found the person who posted the job, and I messaged them on Linkedin. I said please don’t look at my resume and my background, have a conversation with me.”

Tishman is a strong believer that LinkedIn can help improve social connections when looking for a profession. LinkedIn states it currently has over 706 million active users making it the most used platform of its kind.

Throughout the discussion Tishman along with the other panelists stressed the importance of the infamous resume. They spoke on establishing one and keeping up with it.

“I made the critical mistake of never updating my resume for 9 years and then I wanted to do a career transition and what was I supposed to do?” Said Tishman. “So once a month, take a look at your resume and think, what have I accomplished in the last month? Maybe there’s a bullet point to add, maybe there’s not, but when you’re ready or when you send it out it’s up to date.” 

Many of the student submitted questions the panelists received were based around resume’s. Tishman gave some suggestions for keeping up with a resume. A lot of students though, are looking to expand their resume’s and given the pandemic some hurdles could arise. 

“It’s about building your skillset,” said Ferguson. “If you have some downtime LinkedIn has some badges you can build. You can reinvent yourself you can take a quick human resources type of familiarity thing on LinkedIn and get a badge, you can take a Microsoft Excel certification and get a badge. There’s even some COVID logistics badges now.” 

The panelists and Springfield College alumni, Peggy Ferguson, Justin Monell, Betsy Moquin and Justin Tishman all provided a plethora of incite and advice for students getting ready to plunge into their professional careers. The entire panel is posted on Springfield College’s YouTube page. In times like these it doesn’t hurt to listen to experts.

Photo: Springfield College Alumni Relations

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