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Your University Career Center Is Here To Assist You
Our number one priority is your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of our staff and community. As such, in light of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we have moved the majority of our services online.
If you’re a student or recent alumni and have any questions that are not addressed here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re open (virtually) and have coaches, tools, and resources to assist you. Let’s connect today!
Virtually, You Need To Step Up And Standout
During the last several months, much of how people connect with one another and get work done has changed and the same can be said for recruiting strategies, job/internship searches and preparing to apply for graduate or professional schools. At least for now, recruiters are relying, almost exclusively, on technology to engage with applicants. So, it is critical that you prepare to stand out virtually.
Standing out virtually involves more than just knowing how to use the technology. From how you present yourself on social media, to how you express your enthusiasm to a blank computer screen, to what appears in the background of your Zoom interviews (hint: not a pile of dirty dishes, clothes, or empty pizza boxes) - it all matters and requires intentional groundwork and planning.
So, keep doing all of the usual preparations: fine-tuning materials, researching organizations, practicing your pitch, connecting with recruiters and alumni, and considering why you are the best candidate for a job or graduate programs AND take time to understand what is unique about virtual interactions, update and enhance your social media presence, and use the resources and suggestions outlined below to get started.
As always, you can schedule an appointment with a University Career Center (UCC) Career Coach.
Virtual Job And Internship Fairs
Career fairs are usually held in large ballrooms, with lines of students and the latest recruiter swag. This fall all career fairs will be virtual! Your experience is going to be different but equally as good. There will be a couple of ways to connect with employers. You may make 10-minute appointments (in advance) to meet one-on-one with reps from organizations top on your list; you’ll also be able to sign up for larger group sessions for the organizations you want to learn more about. In either case, you’ll want to be intentional about how you engage with recruiters to ensure you stand out!
- Check out UCC’s Handshake for a list of upcoming fall job and internship fairs.
- Before each fair:
- Review the list of attending organizations. Decide which ones you want to connect with 1:1 or in group meetings.
- Set a reminder for the “sign-up days”.
- Strategize how to best engage with recruiters in your meetings: how do you want to introduce yourself? what interests you about the organization? what skills/experiences do you bring? Consider questions you want to ask: what do successful candidates have in common with one another? what are the next steps after the fair? what they enjoy most about working at the organization?
- Prepare to succeed! A virtual career fair is an opportunity to really connect with employers. Show genuine interest in their opportunities, ask them about topics you genuinely care about. This is your chance to learn more about your potential future employer!
- And ALWAYS, check your technology, connections and your space to ensure that nothing gets in the way of quality interactions.
For some time now, organizations have been moving toward virtual interviewing at some point in the hiring process. But in the last few months, online interviews have replaced most, if not all, pre-employment screening for entry-level hires. Recruiters are turning to Zoom, Google Meet, Bluejeans and more for one-on-one interviews. This transition requires you to do a little more preparation and planning to stand out in a positive way. Fortunately, with the increase in virtual interviews came an explosion of tips, resources, and tool to help you ace these newer interview formats.
- Know what to expect. There are three common remote interview formats being used:
- Pre-recorded interviews (also called “one-sided”) are when an interviewer isn’t present and you record and submit your answers to interview questions. Here’s a quick video about 4 Strategies for Nailing the (Pre-Recorded) Video Interview.
- Live virtual interviews more closely mirror an in-person interview with a live interviewer (in real time) on the other side of the screen. Check out this advice on nailing the live virtual interview.
- Telephone interviews are still popular, especially as a first step in the interview screening process. Read through these tips on successful phone interviews.
- Practice. You may be surprised with how you look and sound your first time in an “on screen” interview.
- Big Interview is a tool that lets you practice answering interview questions. By recording yourself ahead of time you can get used to being on camera and practicing your responses but also listen for your tone, filler words, and eye contact with the computer camera and body language. LinkedIn also provides a way to practice and get feedback online.
- The UCC offers virtual and phone mock interviews to help you prepare. Appointments are made on Handshake.
- Set the stage. When interviewing virtually, you’re in charge of setting the scene. You will want to find a quiet spot with a simple, yet interesting, background. Check out the UCC’s interview page for more details about setting the scene.
- Prepare, research, and attend to details: As with all interviews, researching organizations, preparing for commonly asked questions, dressing professionally, and incorporating interview strategies (for example the STAR method) is key. Check out the UCC’s interview page for more details about preparing for interviews.
Virtual Job Search/Job Searching During COVID
COVID -19 has changed the world and recruiting was not immune. Organization’s successful recruiting strategies that included “in-person” and remote have been repackaged to fully-remote processes (99%). As a job/internship seeker you can reap the benefits of this change, but must also be prepared to engage differently with prospective employers.
Remote recruiting processes allows recruiters to consider candidates from across the country (world). As a job searcher – consider expanding the geographic locations of organizations since there’s a very good chance that you will be working remotely, at least in the short term. What are the demands of the moment? Health care, supply chain, redesigning processes – if you take a look at the world around you, you will find the niches where there will be greater demand for talent. View information on hiring freezes. In a remote scenario you have the ability to be creative in your approach to the types of jobs to which you apply. Instead of a full-time position, expand to consider two part-time jobs. Again, remote work is going to be a game-changer moving forward.
Understand the tools that recruiters will be using. Resumes read by automated tracking systems (ATS) change the ways in which you showcase your experiences. Video interviewing that is recorded makes for a fairly “one-sided” interaction. Have you practiced enough to not only have succinct answers, but to work on your intonation, eye contact with the camera, and ability to use your facial expressions to show interest?
The Muse gathered intel and input from many recruiters and job makers and provided the key components of what the pandemic means for job searchers. Get some ideas.
This is going to be an unusual year, but it’s not doesn’t have to be a mystery. Your process will still have the key stages of screening, interviews (maybe more than one), possibly case studies etc. You need sharp tools and skills (resumes that are tailored, interview responses that tell stories, skills that you want to highlight). You’ve got this! Wherever you are in your search process a UCC coach will help you develop specialized career strategies and you can get even more ideas in UCC’s Job Search Labs. Dropping in on Labs will give you that extra motivation and direction you might need.
Find Job Search Labs in the events section on Handshake.
Schedule your appointment.
Building relationships and getting to know people in positions and career areas of interest have always been an important job/internship strategy. Now, with so many in-person experiences going virtual, most networking conversations will happen over the phone, or on-line through platforms like Google Meet or Zoom. Conducting business on on-line platforms is the norm, and the world has gotten comfortable and proficient leveraging these tools. This is the time to take advantage of this “virtual moment” to meet new professionals, develop/expand your career circles, and learn about available opportunities. With commutes out of the way, more flexibility in work arrangements, and possibly an interest in some diversion – alumni and other career professionals will likely welcome you reaching out to them as trusted sources of information. Interacting with new people in a virtual space may take some practice so here are some virtual networking tips.
Want an easy way to get started? Connect with Wolverine alumni!
- University Career Alumni Network (UCAN): This UCC resource is an EASY way to connect with alumni who have volunteered to offer career expertise. Gain valuable insights about how COVID-19 is impacting different industries, day-to-day responsibilities, career preparation, and job/internship search tips and tips on applying to professional schools.
- Will this be your first time reaching out to a professional? Here’s one student’s UCAN experience.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is another great tool – one you can use to showcase yourself and your career interests. Having a strong profile will benefit you when recruiters are seeking candidates for their open positions. Incorporate tips like, indicating in your Headline the position you are seeking right now. Be creative (and flexible) stating that you may be open to part-time work, if you are willing to relocate, or are available to do contract work on the side
- Find out more on building strong profiles.
- With a strong LinkedIn profile you are ready to reach out to professionals by industry, location, and University of Michigan. Building your network starts now!
- Virtual Networking Events: Virtual is the name of the game! Employers are seeking new ways of engaging students interested in their opportunities. There are virtual information sessions, networking hours, and virtual ‘coffee chats’ all planned with you in mind. Set reminders to check out the “Events Page” on Handshake each week for the latest additions. Want to stand out at virtual events? Check this Forbes article on making the most of virtual networking events.
Polishing Your Digital Presence
As employers and graduate schools are looking for new ways to get to know candidates virtually, your online “brand” is going to take on even more significance. You need to consider ways to stand out that are beyond what you may have done when “in-person” connections were more the norm.
You have a story, tell it:
Manage your online presence: What you tweet or post publicly is part of your professional image, whether or not you intend it to be. Be mindful of your privacy settings and/or consider the audiences that can see your posts before you publish. Bottomline, make sure your content is suitable for future recruiters to review.
Update on LinkedIn. If you currently consider your LinkedIn profile to have “the basics” now is the time to develop an effective profile and get active. Recruiters want to see what you have been involved with, what matters to you, who you follow, and what you are interested in. Watch this Learning LinkedIn Video for Students to uncover everything you need to know from creating a profile to growing your network, to following influencers, and sharing content. (LinkedIn account linked to your umich email is required).
Get active on social media. It may be time to move from a strictly social network to career-related networks. Leverage social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to highlight and build upon your industry expertise. Incorporate your professional brand into your bio by using hashtags related to your interest areas, following leaders in your field, and retweeting top industry stories. This serves the dual purpose of also keeping up with trends in fields that interest you!
Create a blog and/or website. Remember, employers are looking, online, for additional ways to learn about applicants since they are unable to meet you in person. Blogs or websites are a great way to showcase your personality, skills, interests, and other important qualities. Find out why this matters to recruiters and check out the following (free!) tools for creating sites: Wix, Squarespace, or Wordpress.
Maintain your profiles: As you gain more experience, education, and skills, your profiles should change! Revisit your Handshake, LinkedIn, and social media profiles, and update, update, update!
Preparing For Graduate Or Professional School During COVID-19
Application processes to graduate and professional school have been disrupted by the global pandemic. The schools themselves have been wrestling with online classes, suspended clinical rotations, interrupted or canceled practica, externships etc. Applicants’ ability to take the required standardized test has been gravely affected by multiple cancellations and/or changes to the test’s delivery format. Shadowing, research and summer programs have been canceled, leading students to revise their application timeline. Many schools have canceled their recruiting travels and are opting for virtual sessions on a variety of platforms. A number of schools have adopted additional pre-interview screening modalities. The key here is to remain flexible and informed, remembering that other applicants are experiencing the same predicaments and that schools are revising their admissions processes to respond to these unusual circumstances.
- For the most current test administration/cancellation information see:
- LSAT (LSAC)
- MCAT (AAMC)
- DAT & OAT (Prometric)
- GRE, TOEFL... (ETS)
- GMAT (GMAC)
- Various professional certifications and exams (Pearson VUE)
- And remember: some test administrators (i.e., LSAC) are offering laptops and even vouchers for hotel rooms to students lacking the appropriate equipment, internet access or quiet space to take the test. Strict deadlines apply.
- In light of the pandemic, most schools will be conducting virtual interviews only. Many others have also adopted a number of online pre-screening modalities in addition to their “final” interviews:
- CASPer Test, CASPer Snapshot, AAMC SJT, AAMC VITA and Kira
- Virtual Interview Tips for Medical School Applicants
- Virtual Dental Schools Interview Dos and Don’ts
- But in the end: the type of questions you may expect will be the same: general, behavioral, or situational. It’s the format that is changing. So while you want to adjust your preparation for the most appropriate delivery, there is no “secret” approach to succeeding. You still need to know yourself, reflect on your past experiences, and practice talking about them in the appropriate setting and within the appropriate time limits. Having a basic understanding of ethical principles (patient’s autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice) and reading about humanism in medicine, cultural competence, etc. while staying abreast of current developments in healthcare will help you frame your responses to ethical and hypothetical scenarios.
- Refer to extended postings in the Med App 20-21 Canvas site for more information on preparing for medical school interviews.
- Take advantage of Big Interview for efficient, self-directed practice. Here is how:
- Go to Big Interview
- Log in with your umich credentials and create a basic profile as a "Student"
- Click on Practice-->Practice Interviews-->Admissions-->XXXXX School (Medical, Dental, Optometry, Veternary, Business, Law etc.)
- For specific practice with behavioral type questions, see also the modules for Organizational Skills, Prioritization Skills, and Time Management.
- For ideas on how to stay involved during these unprecedented times*:
- NAAHP Pre-Health Opportunities During the Pandemic ⏤ Ideas Summary
- The Best Volunteer Opportunities for Pre-meds During Coronavirus
- How to Meaningfully Volunteer as a Pre-Med During the Pandemic
- APSA compilation of virtual resources to develop/enhance skills useful in a research setting
- University of Colorado School of Medicine Virtual Shadowing: e-mail Bre McKercher at breanna.mckercher@cuanschutz to enroll
- Which Virtual Medical Shadowing Opportunities Are the Best?
- Periodically check Ginsberg's Connect2Community portal for local and remote volunteer opportunities
- To participate in virtual information sessions and fairs:
- UCC Career Coaches can help:
- Schedule a phone or virtual appointment to discuss your specific circumstances (mock virtual behavioral interviews also available)
- Depending on your interests, join the UCC Health or Law Track from your Handshake account for relevant updates and opportunities
- If you are applying to medical school, subscribe to the Med App 20-21 canvas site for ongoing group coaching.
*As a reminder, entries in this compilation are included due to their potential interest to UM students. Inclusion, however, does not imply University Career Center's endorsement.
Zoom Calls: How To Lead A Virtual Meeting
Virtual meetings are the way of the world. A basic familiarity with Zoom (and other online meeting platforms) is an expectation now--whether for an interview, a meeting, or in your personal life. Showcase your ability to adapt to change and your technology savviness by becoming a Zoom wiz.
We’re all likely experiencing some emotional discomfort given COVID-19 and the disruption to our lives. If you're experiencing feelings of anxiety, worry, and/or fear during these uncertain times and are concerned about how to best manage your mental health we encourage you to reach out to CAPS.
CAPS remains open during the Pandemic. Their services include tele-counseling, crisis support, and virtual outreach.
For updated clinical services info: https://caps.umich.edu/article/caps-services-regarding-covid-19-update
For COVID-19 Mental Health info: https://caps.umich.edu/topic/caps-covid-19-support