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Help with job or internship search impacted by Covid-19

A few positive reminders:

  • Employers are hiring. Virtual recruiting has helped employers expand recruiting to more colleges and universities. It's efficient. 
  • As a student, you are not alone in having adapted to Zoom meetings and virtual career fairs. Employers have been on a learning curve too. Most people have patience and goodwill because we all have been dealing with these changes.

FAQs related to the impact of Covid on the job and internship search.

  • You can make a brief indication of this on your resume. Include the normal heading elements of position title, employer organization, and location. But for the date portion, state something such as: Cancelled due to Covid-19, or postponed due to pandemic.
  • If you did not complete any part of the experience, do not include any bullet points detailing the position. 
  • If you completed some parts of the experience, only include bullet points for work you completed. 
  • If applicable, you could state something such as: Job responsibilities shifted due to Covid-19.
  • If you were furloughed, see the first Career Q&A video, which answers the question of how to explain this on your resume.
  • Remember that your resume can and should include things like course projects and personal projects that showcase skills or knowlege you have or developed. Can you add or expand on something you did?
  • If you had a leadership role or activity that took a lot of your time, produced results, and/or developed skills or knowledge, consider whether you could add bullet points to show that.
  • This is a great topic to discuss in an advising appointment. We often, in talking with students, learn of very interesting things students have done that are not presented on a resume, and could be. 
  • That's a great question because it recognizes that some things have changed, and some have not.
  • The economy has changed; some industries have taken a very hard hit, and some are still very active and are hiring. The negative impacts are serious, and have hurt many people. That is a reality.
  • The sources for finding jobs have not changed. Jobs have been posted online since the previous century.
  • The process and etiquette of using email and phone to connect with employers have not changed.
  • Video conferencing and interviewing existed pre-Covid; this has just ballooned in use as a result of Covid. That has created a learning curve and a wealth of advice on Zoom etiquette. We used to refer to Skype as the primary video-conferencing tool, and now we heavily use Zoom.
  • The main difference is that most in-person contact has been replaced by phone and Zoom (and other video).
  • Everyone talks about Zoom-fatigue, and that's real.
  • The positive element of video-connecting is that it expands the ability for employers and students to connect. While you're in Blacksburg, you can have a coffee chat with someone in Colorado or Richmond without going there. 
  • Employers are embracing the reality that connecting by video is expanding their reach to students, and is efficient. Everyone values in-person contact, and we need that as humans. But a positive element is that instead of spending six hours driving to Blacksburg, finding parking, and lugging their gear into a physical career fair, employers can spend that time talking to students. As a student, recognize that it expands your reach too.
  • Using a virtual career fair platform for the first time is a learning experience. But everyone is on a learning curve together, so don't let uncertainty hold you back.
  • Preparing for a career fair has not fundamentally changed, and there is no trick to standing out. It always has been, and always will be, preparation; what employers call "doing your homework." Don't ask, "what does your company do?" That hasn't changed.
  • Employers are holding many virtual info sessions. It can seem overwhelming if you're a student, but think of it this way: The employer can reach students at multiple universities at once. Again, the travel, and physical presence issue is not a barrier. It's efficient. For you as a student, you can listen to sessions easily, and often, and learn about opportunities. You don't have to take a bus or drive to campus. It's efficient for you too.
  • There is a lot of goodwill on the part of employers toward students, and there is understanding that we have all experienced a great deal of change and stress. The bottom line is that we are all humans trying to do our best; and goodwill and concern for others is a positive thing.
  • Any work experience is good experience. You might alter your search and look for work that does not exactly align with your longer term career goals. You can develop important professional skills from all jobs, even if they aren’t directly related to your future career. Learn more about career-readiness skills and reflect on how you are developing these through the employment you can secure.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals who work in fields of interest to you to learn more. Utilize Hokie Mentorship Connect and set up an account to connect with alumni. This is a mentorship program through which VT alumni have agreed to have VT students reach out to them for career-related information.
  • Use LinkedIn Learning to learn new technical and workplace skills that you can market to employers. 
  • Consider volunteering and ways you can help others. 
  • Do something to fill your time productively, like learning a new language or other skill.
  • Pursue a hobby or personal project that makes you happy. Experiences that give you joy are fuel for your soul in stressful times.

Consider these factors to decide if it is in your best interests to negotiate a salary offer:

  • Know the industry and what is happening in that industry currently.
    • If the industry is faring well and the employer is actively hiring, that might encourage you to negotiate.
    • If the employer is in an industry that has been adversely affected by the economy, you might choose not to negotiate.
  • Do you have multiple offers?
    • If you have multiple offers, and you like more than one, you are in a better position to negotiate.
    • If you have one offer, consider industry issues and the economy, above, to determine if you want to negotiate.

Read our guidance about salary questions and negotiating.

Salary negotiation is a good topic to discuss in an advising appointments (by phone and Zoom) to address your individual situation.

  • Prior to COVID-19, there was healthy skepticism about any offer from an employer who had not included a site visit to the work location as part of the interview process. However, if an in-person visit is not currently part of the hiring process, there are other ways to research and investigate an employing organization to make sure it is legitimate. Additionally may employers hired remote employees prior to the pandemic, and many more will continue to hire employees who are fully or partially remote; there are many efficiencies to this. Therefore you could receive offers from legitimate employers without a site visit, and based on video interview(s). 
  • Research the employer thoroughly to make sure it is a legitimate organization. Watch out for things like small misspellings in web or email addresses that could be an indicator of fraud.
  1. Use websites such as StreetAdvisor which is dedicated to neighborhood reviews and related information.
  2. Connect with VT alumni who either live in that area or work for that company to ask them questions about the things that matter most to you: Use Hokie Mentorship Connect and the VT Alumni LinkedIn group on the Alumni Relations career webpage.
  3. Determine the cost of living by using the CNN Money cost of living calculator or another which pulls data from the Cost of Living Index (COLI) compiled by the Council for Community and Economic Research.
  4. Research crime rates and data.
  5. Identify your transportation options.
  6. Get to know the local culture. Visit the website of the Chamber of Commerce (for the town, city, region) for a listing of local businesses, events, etc.
  • Confirm your expected work hours. Be aware of time zone differences if you are working with colleagues in different time zones.
  • Ask what tools are being used to complete work and keep the team connected, and familiarize yourself with them (e.g.  Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc.).
  • Work with your supervisor to determine preferred frequency of online meetings (with supervisor, team, other interns or new hires).
  • Ask how on-boarding will occur and what documentation you will need to provide in order to complete employment paperwork.
  • Find out if there are other interns or new graduate hires you could connect with before and during your work.
  • Ask what equipment (laptop, printer, etc.) your employer will be providing to you.

Finding employers who are hiring

  • Yes. Employers continue to post jobs on Handshake for VT students. Even with the hit to the economy created by Covid-19, some segments of the economy are strong, and we are continously receiving job postings from employers, including internships and post-grad jobs. Each week we review and approve hundreds to over 1000 newly posted jobs. In spring 2021, we received more job postings than in spring 2019; so there are many opportunities being offered by employers for college students and new grads.
  • See the Handshake blog article: 500 companies hiring students on Handshake right now. (Continuously updated.)

We have all seen news and are aware that some employers are in high need of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More resources (in addition to Handshake) to find employers who are hiring now:

New River and Roanoke Valleys, VA:

Various locations:

  • Please see CPD events for real-time and on-demand presentations, and for the many information sessions being hosted by employers who are hiring.

Questions about the following programs are addressed on their web pages:

Questions not answered here

You may have questions specific to your individual situation that are not frequently asked.

You are welcome to contact us or seek an advising appointment (by phone or zoom) for questions you have.