There are many ways for college students to look for...

There are many ways for college students to look for internships and jobs, even when in-person interviews aren't possible. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Jirapong Manustrong

The call I’d been dreading came in about two weeks ago. A student who had done all the right things and secured an internship in his field of interest learned that the offer had been rescinded, an economic casualty of COVID-19.

We reviewed his resume, talked about ways to leverage LinkedIn to connect and network with alumni, and encouraged him to consider broadening his search outside his first-choice industry, real estate.

In other words, we went back to basics. Even during a quarantine, there are a variety of things you can do to launch a successful job or internship search. In fact, at the Hofstra Career Center, we are still helping employers post positions, and helping our students pivot, persist and above all, be proactive, in their career development. When this crisis is over, students will need to market themselves to recruiters and answer questions about what they did during this time. Here are 10 tips for getting ahead while quarantined:

1. Use your career center

University Career Centers are still open. Find out what’s available at your school’s center and schedule an appointment.  At Hofstra, we are offering virtual workshops, employer/alumni chats and career fairs. And we’re still posting opportunities daily — including remote employment and internship roles.

2. Build your network and stay in touch

Use LinkedIn to find alumni from your school, or professional contacts that you’ve developed previously at internships  Ask for a brief informational interview. Remember, it’s more important than ever to respect people’s time, so if you ask for a 10-minute talk, be prepared with questions, keep an eye on the time, and send a thank you after.

3. Attend virtual professional events

Check in with professional associations in your field about opportunities for networking and learning. It’s important to understand how the pandemic is impacting the companies and professionals in your field. 

4. Read & share

If there are books that are important in your field, or a trade journal — read them and write a review. Ask your faculty or contacts in your field what they would recommend. Follow thought leaders and share their posts with your own comments on LinkedIn or Twitter.

5. Research companies of interest

Research how companies in your field are handling the crisis. Visit their college recruiting sites to learn about their timelines or special programs they offer for students.

6. Learn a new skill

Use this time to develop a new skill or create a side hustle. This demonstrates your commitment to personal growth while making yourself more marketable. Investigate free or discounted online courses.

7. Focus on your virtual presence

Update your LinkedIn profile. Practice virtual interviewing. When connecting online, pay attention to your surroundings. Dress professionally, make sure you have good lighting and limit interruptions. 

8. Create content & connections

If you are involved in a student club, coordinate a virtual meeting about current events. Invite one of your contacts to be a guest speaker. Write an article for a professional association or self-publish on LinkedIn. Demonstrating knowledge of your field helps build your professional brand. 

9. Do good

What unique skills and talents do you have that can support those in need? Consider volunteering to virtually coordinate a food pantry, offer virtual story times for community members, or share uplifting news stories or live music on social media. By being adaptable and creative, you demonstrate key skills that are important to recruiters.

10. Apply for Jobs & Internships

Yes, apply for jobs and internships. Many employers are still hiring and anticipate onboarding virtually, and those who aren’t hiring now will likely need to hire when this is over. They will consider the candidates that are already in their talent pipeline, rather than starting from scratch. 

Michelle L. Kyriakides is the executive director of The Career Center at Hofstra University.

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