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GV Now

Career Center supporting students virtually with job search

  • A photo of an iPhone with the Handshake portal open.

Posted on March 26, 2020

Now and in the coming months, college students will search for an internship, summer job or entry-level position in their post-college career field. 

Sarah Roy, a Grand Valley senior studying advertising and public relations, is among the population of students who not only has to compete with other new graduates for a position, but navigate COVID-19’s impact on the job market.

“I’ve noticed fewer new jobs posted on websites and many of the positions that I have applied for responded with, ‘For the foreseeable future this is no longer a position,’” Roy said. “I do appreciate the transparency that many companies are having.”

Roy works for Grand Valley’s Career Center, which is now offering many of its services virtually while campus buildings are closed.

Remote and phone appointments with a Career Center staff member can be scheduled in Handshake, Grand Valley’s job portal. Students can also have their resume or cover letter reviewed by a staff member. A new landing page has been created to highlight all of the center’s virtual resources

Megan Riksen, assistant director, said providing all resources is not the center’s normal mode of operation, but students have adapted well to the changes.

“We are finding that our students’ ability to be adaptable, utilize technology and connect with others via phone and video really shines during a time like this,” Riksen said. “That will speak volumes to potential employers.”

For students who are unable to continue working an on-campus job or have been let go from off-campus employment, Riksen said employers have been encouraged to continue posting jobs on Handshake. Students can also visit this website for places with hiring needs in West Michigan.

Roy said students should refrain from being picky about jobs they apply to. Students looking for jobs should use the Career Center for help making their cover letter and resume stand out.

“When you’re applying, if there is a section where you can write comments, use that space to share relevant information that sets you apart,” she said.

Networking is also key during this time, Riksen said. She suggests students research the places they want to work and seek out alumni or human resources professionals on LinkedIn to set up phone informational interviews.

While the job search might be discouraging, Riksen said all hope should not be lost. Students should take care of themselves and remember the Career Center and other campus resources are available to provide guidance.

“Have patience with the process and try to stay connected to virtual support,” Riksen said.