SJMC Career Advisor Pam Garcia-Rivera on Applying for Jobs in an Uncertain Time

Pam Garcia-Rivera headshotFeeling stressed about finding a job after college? Concerned about what the coronavirus will do to the job market? Wondering what to do in the midst of all of this uncertainty? You are not alone! School of Journalism and Mass Communication career advisor Pam Garcia-Rivera is here to answer your questions and give sound advice for anyone seeking employment this year. 

What advice would you give to someone who is still looking for a job or internship this summer? 

Keep applying! When there was the great recession in 2008, many people gave up hope and stopped applying to jobs and in the end that hurt their job outlooks. After all of this uncertainty, employers will hire again. It will be beneficial for your application to be in employers’ hands rather than not. Keep applying to jobs and widen your search too. 

While some searches may be suspended or postponed, that doesn’t mean they won’t come back around when things settle down. You’d rather have your application waiting in the hands of employers once hiring begins again than never having applied at all. 

In regards to passing on jobs that aren’t really in our field, should we jump at any offer we get? How do we balance the dream job with a more realistic one right now?

It all depends on the individual, the offer and situation. I know that isn’t exactly the best or most definitive answer, but it’s true. There is no way to predict what will happen. This is a pivotal time for college graduates in general and adding in this added pressure of COVID-19, it’s understandable how stressful this is. It’s early in the pandemic right now and hopefully people are following advice for social distancing. It’s hard to say when things will turn around. 

In regards to just taking a job to have a job, it’s also important to remember that the first job out of college is not always your dream job but a stepping stone to your ultimate goal. People right out of college typically change their job within one to two years after graduation, with or without a pandemic. It depends on the individual and there is no wrong answer. My advice is that you need to keep all options open and everyone knows this is just a very unusual time.

Can you offer students some general tips for what to do in this time of uncertainty?

The best thing to do right now is to be proactive. Be proactive, strategic and position yourself for when the jobs do come back. Connect with alumni and companies that you are interested in knowing more about. 

One way to do this is to invest and build your skills. You can do this online with Lynda Learnings on LinkedIn, which come free with your Wiscmail. Brush up on your current skills or learn something completely new. This can be learning more about Excel to Adobe Creative Suite. Build up your portfolio, start a blog or whatever applies to the industry you are going into. 

But Pam, we want a job!

Don’t over apply. We all know searching for jobs is a job in itself and is stressful. It can be demeaning and demoralizing after putting so much time and effort into applying to a lot of jobs. Just apply to jobs that you are interested in as you would normally. 

A lot of times, people are constantly applying to any job and that makes them more stressed. It’s all about balance and doing what is best for you. Have job search alerts sent to your email and apply to the ones that you want. Also, don’t take it personally either. Right now there is a lot of unknowns and companies are shuffling due to this unsettling time. 

You’re not alone, we’re all trying to adapt. Remember that this is only the beginning and patience is so crucial. Use this time to slow down, build up your skills and be intentional with your job search. Jobs will come and it’s up to you to be proactive and make this experience beneficial to you!