Advice for College Students: How to Maximize Your Career Development During COVID-19

student on computer

In this strange and uncertain situation, you might find yourself with less structure to your days and more adjustment for life at home. During these times, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Instead, see this as an opportunity to improve yourself and make progress toward your career goals.
Here are six ways you can make the most of this time and maximize your career development:

1. Update your resume. 
It is essential that you make your resume the best it can be—and now is a great time to do it. Identify your personal brand and strongest selling points. Highlight your unique accomplishments and transferrable skills. Optimize your resume with keywords and customize it each time you apply to a different position.

2. Create a professional online presence. 
Many employers check a candidate’s online presence to learn more about them. This may be even more prevalent in the COVID-19 climate with employers having limited access to candidates in person. Google yourself and clean up any inappropriate or questionable content. Create a LinkedIn profile, if you don’t already have one.

3. Build new skills. 
In today’s digital age, it’s possible to learn almost anything through the internet. Use your time at home to build new skills. Learn a new technical skill. Read a book or listen to a podcast related to your industry. Join a professional organization. This is your chance to take advantage of your time.

4. Practice virtual interviewing. 
In response to COVID-19, many companies have changed recruiting strategies to reduce/eliminate in-person interactions. For job seekers, this means virtual interviews—so be prepared to take your next interview digitally. Choose an at-home interview space and check your technology. Reach out to the MPTC Careers Instructors to set up a practice virtual mock interview.

5. Cultivate your professional network. 
Social distancing doesn’t mean that you have to put networking on hold. Use email or LinkedIn to reach out to professionals in industries and positions of interest. Embrace the sense of community. Participate in an online forum or join in a chat during a webinar. COVID-19 is a shared global experience. This is your chance to check in with the people you know and re-establish old connections.

6. Get help from the MPTC Careers Instructors. 
You don’t have to do this alone! Although not physically on campus, Careers Instructors are available to support you remotely. Take advantage of online resources through Canvas, Zoom and/or phone appointments. We are here to help and can provide guidance specific to your goals. With the uncertain economic state, it is important that you use this time to maximize your career readiness and make yourself as marketable as possible.

So stay hopeful, wash your hands, and try out these six ways to make progress toward your career goals.

Courtesy of the 
National Association of Colleges and Employers. (Adapted)

Contact a Careers Instructor today:

Beaver Dam

Wendy Herrmann, M.A.

West Bend

Lisa Ferguson, M.S.

Fond du Lac

Dr. Rhonda Roehrig

Written by Rhonda Roehrig