Career Services goes online

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By N.L. Sweeney
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, what has been a spring quarter like no other is coming to a close. 

As with every other graduation year, however, students are looking to start jobs despite disruptions to regular life — and the staff in the University of Washington Bothell’s Career Services is working to provide any additional assistance needed. 

As UW Bothell shifted to a remote learning environment earlier this academic year, the Career Services team shifted to a virtual platform, increased tracking of evolving employment trends and focused on how best to get the latest information and advice to students. 

“We understand that a lot of students are nervous about what the job search looks like post COVID-19,” said Rafael Delgado, the assistant director. “We are here to help calm some of those fears and give students the confidence to find the opportunities that are out there.” 

Virtual services 

Kim Wilson

Kim Wilson

While Career Services has long had an online forum where students can, among other things, get feedback on resumes, this quarter was the first time the team has gone completely virtual with all their services.  

“When we started remote operations, our primary goal was to create a platform for students to access our services,” said Delgado. “Since our remote transition, we have also offered a synchronous career exploration course, which I teach with Kim Wilson, the director of Career Services.” 

In addition to the new virtual course, Career Services’ online offerings include one-to-one virtual meetings with students, a platform for revising resumes, mock interviews, drop-in hours for meetings and guest lectures in online classes. Career Services also has access to other online platforms including Handshake, a free recruiting platform where students and alumni can find internships, jobs and volunteer opportunities. 

Driving all these services is the goal of helping students hone their skills in online interviews and networking. 

“With many companies doing Zoom interviews, our students have had a lot of questions,” said Delgado. “‘Where do I look’ or ‘How do I present myself or my space?’ 

“Our hope is to help guide students through these questions.” 

Virtual networking 

Rafael Delgado

Rafael Delgado

One of the most common questions Delgado receives is where to find jobs these days. 

“The global pandemic has definitely shifted the way the job market looks,” he said. “Fewer jobs have been posted, and more industry professionals are applying for entry-level positions. Our hope is to help students recognize the opportunities that are still available.” 

On May 13, Career Services brought the opportunities to students in the UW’s first-ever Tri-Campus Virtual Job & Internship Fair. Wilson and Susan Vinson, the employer relations manager for Career Services, helped coordinate the event with leaders across the three campuses. 

The event attracted more than 1,300 students to learn more about 88 employers who set up digital “booths.” These virtual spaces featured videos and resources about company culture, values and careers. Students also could enter chat rooms and speak with representatives about employment opportunities. 

According to Wilson, the team’s transition to virtual was not just designed to serve  continuing and graduating students but also external partners and employers. “In addition to offering students a chance to pursue these connections, we wanted to make sure employers, too, felt like they had the opportunity to connect with our students.” 

Looking ahead 

For many students entering the professional world or shifting their career development plans, the new environment can be daunting. 

“It can be really hard to have a positive outlook right now,” said Delgado. “A lot of students are finding it hard to focus on what their careers might look like, but if there is anything we want to emphasize, it is that employers are still hiring.” 

All of the 88 employers at the job fair were hiring, and Delgado and Wilson both say there are many more potential employers in the region looking to hire. 

“While that first job may not be your dream job, you are taking the steps to get where you want to go,” said Wilson. “There are always steps to take to get where you want to be in life — and right now there are a lot of opportunities for taking that first one. 

“We are here to provide resources so that students can be successful moving forward.” 

 


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