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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Career Services gives advice to graduates job searching amid COVID-19

An+illustration+of+a+person+wearing+a+%26%238220%3B2020%26%238221%3B+graduation+cap+looking+out+over+a+desert

An illustration of a person wearing a “2020” graduation cap looking out over a desert

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the career paths of recent graduates an unsteady one, but Texas State’s Career Services is working to help alumni navigate unpredictable job searches.
Texas’ unemployment rate hit 12.8% in April—the state’s highest unemployment rate since Nov. 1986. Currently, over 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The post-graduation job search is already tough for many in a normal economy. Now with more competition and less available positions, students face more uncertainty trying to land the jobs they prepared for throughout their college careers.
Sergio Jimenez, electrical engineering senior, said before the COVID-19 pandemic, he attended career fairs, stayed in touch with potential employers and applied for jobs. However, as the virus spread and the economy worsened, he said he lost motivation to find a post-grad job.
“People started getting laid off and the job search kind of left my mind,” Jimenez said. “Beyond just general anxiety about possibly not getting a job for a while, I’ve been thinking, ‘How am I gonna market myself when the time comes to start looking for a job?’”
Now that the spring semester ended, Jimenez said he is getting back on track, with the help of Career Services.
Bruce Howard, career adviser for McCoy College of Business, said other students, similar to Jimenez, have experienced apathy searching for jobs during such an uncertain time. He said the number of students requesting career advising appointments decreased by half once Texas State switched to online courses.
“I can see the appointment schedules on Handshake, and I remember thinking, ‘that’s not much of a load,’” Howard said.
Howard said employers also slowed down on posting job openings to Jobs4Cats, Texas State’s job search site that helps connect students to employment opportunities.
Despite the decrease in students seeking career help, Howard said he is optimistic students will get through this difficult time and encourages them to continue their job searches despite the obstacles.
“Students may fear that there’s not an opportunity for them, but continue your research, increase your networking, spend time building awareness of your opportunities, get on LinkedIn—LinkedIn is your virtual identity—find alumni, reach out to them. It’s not over; don’t waste this time,” Howard said.
Raymond Rogers, Career Services director, said students should expand their search to a wide variety of jobs even if it isn’t in their preferred field. He said graduates should find what they can and not wait for employment if the ideal job doesn’t immediately appear.
“You might not get that certain job directly related to your major as soon as you graduate in an economy where we are looking at upwards of 10% unemployment,” Rogers said. “It is always better to find work and continue a job search from a place of employment as opposed to being unemployed for a long period of time.”
Rogers said how a student presents her or himself on networking platforms is vital to success in finding a potential employer.
“LinkedIn networking is important, but it’s not just about being on LinkedIn; it’s about how you utilize your profile [and] how you direct it towards the jobs that you’re searching for,” Rogers said. “Now is not the time to apply to a job poorly; now is the time to do a good job applying—that means making a targeted resume, writing a solid cover letter, preparing for your interview and researching the company ahead of time, making sure it’s a good fit for you.”
Career Services is currently offering virtual services such as advising appointments, resume reviews and interview preparation for all students and alumni. Individuals can also listen to Career Services’ podcast “A Walk Across Texas State” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube for additional career tips.
In the coming weeks, Career Services’ YouTube channel and website will also feature a “Virtual Bobcat Career Chat” series where employers will offer career advice to students.
For more information on career advice or to schedule a virtual appointment with a Career Services advisor visit the Career Services website.
The University Star’s COVID-19 coverage can be found here.

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