Pandemic Era Job Searching Tips and Support

GSAS Compass understands that many students feel uncertain about their job search during this period of economic uncertainty. Below are tips to help you in your job search:

Continue to search for and apply to jobs. Many employers are still hiring, especially in industries such as health care and technology, and as the pandemic wears on and organizations need to fill vacancies. LinkedIn maintains a list of employers that are hiring, which is updated daily, and the website Candor has a crowd-sourced list of companies that are hiring and those that have hiring freezes. In addition, submitting a job application is one form of networking. Applying for a job now, even if hiring has stalled, puts you on an organization’s radar for potential opportunities in the future. Do keep in mind that the typical hiring process has slowed and lengthened, meaning it may take five months or more to find a position. Try not to be discouraged, and continue applying!

Focus on areas of career development you can accomplish now. This is a great opportunity to reflect and open your mind to a diverse range of career paths, research and explore industries and organizations, improve your LinkedIn profile, update your résumé/CV, expand your network and conduct informational interviews, and find ways to volunteer your time. Continuing to keep your career exploration active will pay off in the long-term and give you a sense of accomplishment.

Networking is always important, but marshaling your network during this time is crucial. Since each company has its own approach to hiring, try to find contacts at companies that interest you and request an informational interview. LinkedIn or the Online Alumni Community can aid you in your search. Also, networking is all about the long game. Connections you make and deepen now have the potential to lead to opportunities in the months and years ahead.

When sending applications or requests for informational interviews, make sure the tone of your email is appropriate to the time. For example:

Dear XX,

I hope that this email finds you and your team safe during this challenging time. I understand that hiring at the company may be on hold, but I wanted to express my interest in working with [name of company] as a summer intern. I am a master’s student in statistics at Columbia University…

Also refer to Vault’s Handy Guide to Email Etiquette.

Consult these helpful COVID-19-specific articles and resources

Find ways to create flexibility in your job search. It is more important than ever to be flexible and start thinking about what you will do if “Plan A” (e.g., getting a job in NYC) does not work out. Consider “Plan B” and “Plan C” (e.g., relocating for a job). Also, consider temporary solutions:

Don't forget about self-care. There have been countless articles during the pandemic about how important it is to maintain your emotional health and well-being by finding opportunities to socialize, exercise, relax, and escape, even if you aren't able to physically get away. Searching for a job can be stressful, and taking time to attend to your personal needs will allow you to present your best self in your job search.

Also, keep in mind that you have many resources available to you as a Columbia student. The Office of University Life has compiled a comprehensive list.