What advice can you give to students on how to adjust their job search in the time of COVID-19?
There is so much uncertainty with the job market right now and I completely understand how it may not be easy to know from one day to the next which employers are hiring, laying off, rescinding offers, or postponing recruitments. With that in mind, I do suggest that students still maintain their focus (as best they can) to try and achieve their job and internship goals. Meaning, prior to the global pandemic, which jobs or internships did they have their sights on? Or, which ones had they already secured or were in the process of interviewing? Hopefully, by now, those who were in the recruiting pipeline have already heard from those respective employers. If students have not, they need to be proactive and reach out as soon as possible.
With regards to adjusting their job search – With the understanding that many opportunities may not be available right now (or in the very near future), I recommend students have a serious back-up plan. And not just one, but have back-up plans A, B, C, and even D. The job market is not what it was five weeks ago and the likelihood of it bouncing back anytime soon is not realistic.
Another adjustment related to the one above is being able to adjust or pivot during this time. And what I mean by that is being able to adjust to varying work conditions, remote work, delayed offers, no offers, or being given the opportunity to do something different. Be flexible and open to a variety of jobs or internships but stay committed and communicate. I understand being committed might be slightly difficult during this time, but that commitment and flexibility could mean everything. For example, there could be a job being presented to students that is not 100% connected to the students’ ultimate career goal, but that opportunity could help the student get there – eventually.
A third adjustment – stay active with your network. This is advice I would give anyone regardless of the current climate. However, I think it is more important than ever to remain visible and active. Students should take this time for reflection and connection. For example, one action-oriented item students could do while social distancing is work on, enhance or create a LinkedIn account. Conduct research, connect with alumni, employers, etc., and really put themselves out there to let employers know they are seeking new opportunities and or want to establish a connection – for the future. Remember, networking goes both ways and it’s about building quality contacts, not quantity.
My fourth and last recommendation is not really an adjustment that needs to be made, but rather, a career commitment. Students should absolutely stay in contact with their career centers and or faculty to take advantage of any and all virtual career-related events. It’s a win-win! Students can continue to be educated on career-related subjects, while staying “in the know” on various trends, industries, jobs, etc. More importantly, during this time of isolation, they have the opportunity to be a part of a greater community and be connected to what is current and relevant. Keep in mind, career center staff are able to provide counseling, coaching and advising – shedding light, and providing guidance on options that may have been overlooked or invisible. The support and positivity that career centers offer is so important and invaluable. I believe everyone should have a support network and especially during these very uncertain times.
How has your recruitment model adjusted to this unprecedented time?
Well, WNDE is simply not hiring right now. And unfortunately, WNDE had to end our spring/winter internship program earlier than expected. The internship program runs January – April every year and as this global crisis erupted and the federal tax deadline was extended to July 15, 2020, work became scarce.
What excites you about your company/industry?
I was with White Nelson Diehl Evans LLP for four years. From day one, I was impressed with how collaborative and hardworking my colleagues were. I know in general, it is reflective of the industry as a whole. It’s a competitive and demanding industry but it is also a challenging but rewarding career. For those who sign-up, they want to work hard, be successful, provide outstanding client service, and work as a team toward a common goal. It’s a huge reason why I have so much respect for the public accounting industry in general.