Navigating Professional Development during a Pandemic

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As the academic year commences amidst a global pandemic, students have faced difficulties concerning programs and applications for jobs and internships. 

Sophomore Kristina Mikhailova is one of many students that has been frustrated by the internship and job search during this uncertain time. “I applied to like the 30/40 internships outside of DePauw,” Mikhailova said. “I would say I started receiving those emails saying that ‘sorry but we will not be able to offer internships this summer anymore,’ like, two or three weeks ago.”

Mikhailova voiced her frustration in a post on LinkedIn about the difficulties that students face with internship cancellations.Her post was successful, as she was able to find another internship with the help of others. 

A friend sent Mikhailova a link to information about possible internships after seeing her post on LinkedIn, “I was able to see all the companies or startups which were hiring for summer. They were offering some kind of internship,” Mikhailova said.  “And I started just sending my resume and my cover letter to most of them. And the next day, I received like two or three new offers.”

Although Mikhailova was able to find an internship during this difficult time, not all students have been as fortunate. 

For students still looking for internships, the Hubbard Center continues to hold self-scheduled virtual appointments that are available on the center’s website

Nick Minich, Assistant Director of Career Development at the Hubbard Center, encouraged students to take advantage of the self-scheduled appointments. 

Further, Minich recommended students to use job banks such as Handshake, which has positions that want to recruit from DePauw specifically, and the site has both internship and job opportunities. 

Minich also said that not much changes regarding the job application process, except that some positions will be remote and interviews will be conducted online. “The only thing [that changes] is virtual etiquette and that’s just simply looking at the camera and looking at the person when they’re talking,” Minich said. “You treat it just the same [as in person] dress fully head to toe as you would, don’t try to get away with shorts just because they’re not going to see.”

It is also important to test out video platforms such as Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts to ensure that your internet connection is strong and that your camera is set up properly and that angles and lighting are interview ready, Minich advised. 

Overall, the most important variable is networking. “Networking is going to be the key for anything,” Minich said. Although one will have to prove their skills and fit for a job, Minich said, “overarching [there’s] going to be this idea of trust and you really [accomplish] that [trust] when it’s an organic relationship.”

Minich said that even if you are not applying to internships or jobs, there are many ways to make yourself a more competitive applicant during this time, such as: resume editing, networking, learning new skills or getting certificates online. 

“People get really caught up in the idea that they need an internship or a job right away. You can’t control that, if there’s a freeze in the economy that’s well beyond your control.” Minich said. “But what can you do in the interim so that when those openings do open up you’re in the best position and best prepared to do that?” 

For seniors who are looking for post-graduation advice, DePauw’s Office of Alumni Engagement emailed graduating seniors about an alumni panel that will take place at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 27. The panel will take place over Zoom and will allow students to ask questions and to hear about the experiences of recent graduates. The graduates who will be speaking at the panel event are: Peter Gorman ‘18, Molly Madden ‘18, Rachele Miller ‘19, Terrell Moore ‘14 and Yesenia Silva ‘17. 

Anna Werkowski, a ‘19 graduate who organized the event said, “I wanted to do something for the class of 2020. I was so confused and lost when I graduated and don’t want anyone to feel like that.”