Covid-19 Careers support for students and graduates

10 tips to navigate your career through unprecedented times

The current unprecedented situation has made many of you wondering what you should do now and what is the right strategy to job search. Our main message to you is to keep busy, keep motivated and develop yourself ready for the ‘new normal’. We are here to support you. The following 10 tips are to help you navigate your career through unprecedented times. 

1. Keep up to date with the graduate labour market news
Businesses across the world are beginning to reopen and many feel they can get back to operation quickly once restrictions are eased. The companies that need workers, industries and type of opportunities which are still required is growing. There is however great deal of divergence between the experiences of different sectors, and health and social care vacancies are still at reasonable levels. They're likely to be a key driver in the graduate labour market in the next few months. Prospects' head of higher education intelligence, Charlie Ball, provides weekly updates on the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the graduate labour market. As the situation changes rapidly we advise you to check the latest on Prospects Luminate

Although the statistics regarding students jobs and internships internships as a result of the current coronavirus situation are disconcerting, there are positive news and things that you can do that employers will appreciate. For example, an increasing number of employers are setting up virtual work experience schemes, enabling students and graduates to gain essential experience from home.

2. Network
It is important to tell people that you are looking for work. Networking is one of the most useful actions you can take to make your job search a success. Social media and e-mail make this possible and if you have not created your LinkedIn profile yet, this is the time to do it. Other professional networking platforms are: (for finding and sharing research) (academics and researchers) (for those working in a school environment)

You can try contacting  people in industries you’re interested in moving into via email or social media and ask them about their work; some may have more time to interact right now, be sensitive to those concerned about family and friends and their own job.

If you have a job offer, keep in regular contact with the organisation who you have secured a graduate job or internship with to seek guidance as and receive their updates.
3. Time for reflection: reviewing your strengths and achievements
Self-reflection is part of the career development cycle and it has never been a better time to stop, reflect and take stock of your achievements. You may find helpful to write the answers to the following questions:

  • Who makes you feel good about yourself?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • What elicits feelings of awe?
  • What in your life are you grateful for?
  • When are you most relaxed?
  • When are you at your calmest?
  • What makes you lose track of time?
  • When do you feel most energised … most alive?
  • If time and money were no object what would you spend your day doing?

4. Position and present yourself
Find out from the list above more about and tailor your CV and cover letter to as many potential employers as possible. Imagine receiving those documents as a recruiter or hiring manager. Would you be more inclined to reach out to a person who sent you generic documents or to a person who tailored them for your company?

BBC: four experts offer advice to people looking for work
Practise for your Interviews for free via the platform

5. Look ahead 
Use this time as an opportunity to really think about what you want from a career and what jobs are out there. The Career Development Course can provide a good starting point for those who don’t know what they want to do. Graduates can complete the Graduate Career Development Course.

Exploring types of jobs has some useful starting points for further occupational research; keep an open mind, and keep an eye on what new jobs might arise out of the pandemic. 

See the World Economic Forum report on the future of work and how Covid has influenced this.

Rather than being known simply as someone who wants a job, present yourself as a person who creates value. It is helpful to view yourself as a 'product', look at your experiences and ask yourself, 'what are the problems that I can solve for businesses?'. Think in terms of your own value add and position yourself in your CV and social media around that.

6. Develop your skills
Be ahead of the crowd and try to make the most of this time to continue developing your skills and knowledge. As many employers are moving to online recruitment, find out more about video interviews and get familiar with online interactive platforms like Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, etc  which might be used by employers for virtual group based activities.

Career fairs will look different during this economic downturn due to concerns about the new coronavirus. Instead of going to a local convention center or gathering space, you’ll likely attend virtual fairs from a computer.

Uuniversities and other institutions are currently offering free training courses.
For example, the University of York offers free short courses in fields such as cognitive psychology, the University of Oxford has a free course on economic development, and the Open University offers many free courses too.
Many other platforms, such as Codeacademy and Coursera, offer online coding tutorial, some of which are free.

7. Volunteer 
It can be a good way to get experience in times of economic uncertainty either related to future career plans or simply to help out in the community. Charities such as Age UK, Mind, Refuge and Shout all need telephone or virtual volunteers during this challenging time. The NHS is asking for check-in-and-chat volunteering to support those at risk of loneliness during lockdown. Other opportunities include:
Zooniverse - platform that facilitates ‘people powered research’ / data analytics eg, could appeal to physicists, biologists & historians
Translators without borders - translation and interpreting services for humanitarian agencies
United Nations Volunteers - for those passionate about international development and overseas aid volunteering could be the first step
Instant Wild - animal conservation, another difficult sector to develop a career in. Currently looking for volunteers to work on monitoring the behaviour of seals in the Thames Estuary.
Be My Eyes - App that connects blind and visually impaired people with sighted volunteers via a live video call, great for those considering health and care occupations.
Nesta - independent charity providing solutions to challenges in education, health, government and the creative industries using analytical, problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Discovery – The charity on Swansea University campus is still offering voluntary opportunities.
Employment Zone - our digital jobsboard 

8. Keep busy and earn money 
Apply for key worker roles such as supermarkets, delivery drivers, care, communications, etc. It won’t be forever but it develops initiative and other skills that can go on your CV for future graduate level applications; will shows that you are willing to apply yourself to anything and work hard.

9. Take care of yourself (Liane Hambly 2020)
You need to view self-care, especially now, as part of your job search. You cannot get a job or be a good candidate if you’re not able to do the work. During this difficult time, a big part of that task means taking advice from the World Health Organization, NHS and the University to guard against the new coronavirus. You should also be mindful of your overall health.

Triggering the happy chemicals:
Dopamine – pleasure and reward. Set a goal and anticipate the reward, each step will release dopamine
Oxytocin – social interaction, pet a dog give, trust, receive, hugs (please make sure you follow the latest government guidelines on social distancing)
Endorphine – pain and stress e.g. the high from exercise. Laugh or exercise , aromatherapy oils/ smell
Serotonin – build self confidence, believing in yourself. Focus on your strengths, reflect on achievements, keep a gratitude diary

If you are juggling many roles you may find these 10 tips useful. 

Peer support is available to students, you can share common problems or experiences and support each other through Connect.

Mature students can reach out to the Student+ society, PhD students have the support of the Postgraduate Research Office.

10. Confidential and impartial careers advice is available
Coaching and kindness are part of our work; holding space for others, has never been more important so please get in touch, we are here to support you. You can book an impartial and confidential careers appointment via this link.

Do you want free training to become more employable and build workplace confidence?

The Graduate Career Development Course is an online course committed to helping Swansea university graduates into fulfilling jobs that fit around their career aspirations, skills and attributes. Register your interest here to be sent the link.


Official updates and useful resources:

University Updates
Your career and Covid-19
Coronavirus: The good that can come out of an upside-down world
Government guidelines for employees, employers and businesses 
Gradcracker are reporting on which large employers are still recruiting.
Graduate Recruitment Bureau is operating business as usual with many recruiters still hiring on their platform.
Handshake have some tips for making a good impression in a virtual job interview.
InsideSherpa offer free programmes for students to participate in hypothetical job simulations, completing tasks and accessing learning resources. They have worked with a number of companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Citi, KPMG, Deloitte and Linklatters. When signing up to their programmes please be mindful of their Data Collection Statement.
NextStepSupport is an industry-wide, collaborative response to the current crisis. Developed in partnership with AGCASAHECSISEStudent Rooms and ASET, the site is a free, open resource for all students. The site includes hiring updates from employers, virtual and digital events (talks, updates, Q&A, office tours), skills sessions, and content and tools from trusted sources.
NHS Jobs features to help with Coronavirus (COVID-19) related vacancies.
Nikon School Online are offering their online courses for free for the month of April.
Otta is a jobs board for tech firms with confirmed opportunities during COVID-19.
Prospects have a lot of guidance and tips in response to current circumstances.
There are a lot of opportunities available with supermarkets.
Teach First 2020 Training Programme is going ahead and they’re still recruiting.
TutorNinjas is currently recruiting for more online tutors. They provide a global knowledge-sharing environment covering over 300 subjects and are focused on connecting students with tutors 24/7.