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How Students Job Search in an Online World

Helen Henrichs

Zoom Meeting with an Employer? Check. The Pulsifer Career Development Center Supports Students Remotely

As classes move forward remotely for students, so do all other aspects of university life, including the search for jobs and internships. The Pulsifer Career Development Center continues to connect undergraduate and graduate students with corporate partners and career opportunities while monitoring the job market during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everything is moving ahead, we’re just doing it virtually,” says Janet Ehl, executive director of the Pulsifer Career Development Center. “Career advising, recruiting events, networking and interviews, it’s all happening.”

98 percent of recent Bentley graduates are employed or in grad school

This includes virtual sessions, called “Career Communities,” for companies and alumni to connect with students via Zoom. These sessions allow students to learn more about the many roles, employers and industries that align with their interests and strengths. During one session recently organized by the Graduate Career Center26 students registered to participate and 20 more ended up joining the Zoom meeting.

Employers are now holding remote interviews. Some are using Skype and Zoom, while others have company-specific technology. Bentley’s recruiting team is helping to facilitate the interviews, while career coaches and career colleagues are available to meet with students via Zoom to help them prepare and make decisions. Career coaches are staff members who work with students in specific majors, while career colleagues are juniors and seniors who have been trained to mentor younger students.

Image of remote career colleague mentoring session
                          Kirsten Dionne '20 during a career colleague mentoring session

“We are all here to critique resumes and cover letters, assist with the internship process and offer career advice," says Kirsten Dionne ‘20, who now works remotely as a career colleague, mentoring first-year and sophomore students. She and all the career colleagues hold drop-in hours Monday through Friday. “We want to remind students that although this is a crazy time in our world, we are here for them and employers are still looking to hire.”

Andrew Jaroncyk ‘20 worked with his career coach, Jennifer Graham, as he went through rounds of remote interviews and then needed to make a decision on where to work after graduation, “I spent a lot of time with Jen comparing job offers in terms of compensation, benefits and career trajectory. She helped me figure out which role was the most relevant with respect to my skill set.

Adds Jaroncyk, “In our weekly and sometimes daily meetings, we virtually communicated about the next steps I should be taking not just for my career, but for my future as an individual in society. The advice she gave me over the last couple of weeks has been extremely helpful in deciding my next steps for the future.”

Jaroncyk, who is a double major in Data Analytics and Business Studies, ultimately accepted a position as a product analyst for the State Management team at Homesite Insurance. “I’ll be starting the role virtually in June and I’ll be based out of the corporate headquarters in Boston, the city where I most wanted to work coming out of Bentley.”

Staff sign on as mentors to support remote students

New technology is helping to facilitate recruiting. The career development center recently hosted a virtual career fair using Brazen, a new group meeting platform, and 143 graduate students joined.

Bentley’s popular career development seminar for first year students, CDI 101, is also happening online. Students can take the class at its regularly scheduled time with their instructor online, and recordings are also available for students who live in different time zones.

“I am thrilled how fast and efficiently the Career Center team and our Bentley students pivoted to moving ahead virtually,” observes Ehl.  “From a challenging situation, new ideas arise. Now that we know how well an on-line career fair can work, we can try this in the future and reach diverse geographic locations and companies.”