Unprecedented… unsettling… anxious. All words that can be justifiably used to describe the situation we find ourselves in and how we all may be feeling in response to it. Employers will potentially be reviewing their plans for graduate recruitment. What should you do when your career plans will change unexpectedly and at short notice? Here are our top tips…
Coping with change: re-frame your thinking
We generally deal with change in two ways and it may feel at the moment as if you have no control over your future. Feeling helpless and that there is nothing you can do in the face of all of this uncertainty will only increase your anxiety. What can you do to change the narrative? If you adopt a proactive approach to your career planning and decision making, you may be able to create a new opportunity. At the very least, you will start to feel as if you can exercise some control over your future career – and that it doesn’t have to be determined by events over which you have no influence.
Use your university support services
If you are finding this situation very difficult to deal with emotionally the Well Being services offer a number of resources, including on-line support, that may help you to process your feelings and come to terms with how your plans may need to change
If you have secured a job, internship or placement and are worried the employer will withdraw their offer, try to speak to their graduate recruitment team (be patient, they are probably handling a lot of student enquiries right now). If the offer is no longer available, ask if you can defer the place until next summer. Ask what you can do to stay in touch to show them you are still interested in working for the company in the future.
Take advantage of new opportunities that are being created
Okay these roles may not be at graduate level but any experience is valuable. Care jobs , for example can demonstrate some of the softer skills all employers require. Being able to show how you can build relationships, empathise with and actively listen to people will prove to recruiters that you have the ability to work confidently with clients and colleagues. Thousands of opportunities are likely to become available in the near future in the food, transport, health and pharmaceutical sectors. Remember that the skills and experience you could gain are generally transferable to any job role and sector you may wish to consider in the future
On a similar theme, volunteer!
The government is currently creating a 250,000 strong volunteer army to support the NHS through this crisis. Genuinely helping people and making a difference in this pandemic will be a rewarding experience – it will also provide further evidence of the employability skills all employers require.
Take advantage of the unexpected time you may now have to learn a new skill – a skill that may create a new career opportunity. It may provide a new objective that will help to keep you motivated and engaged in learning. Future Learn is just one of a number of platforms that provide free, distance learning and on-line tuition
Connect with Warwick alumni, get insight on careers that may be of interest to you. Find out what a typical day in that industry would look like, information that will help you to make more informed career decisions. The connections you may now may be invaluable when you start to make applications in the future, as you are more likely to understand the culture of different organisations and whether you would be good fit. Linked In is a very effective way to build your network as there are over 100,000 alumni to potentially connect with. Warwick students can also look for an alumni who could provide mentoring and coaching during their degree via the e-mentoring service.
Make speculative applications
Timing is often the most important factor when making this type of application. You may be fortunate enough to contact an employer at the very moment the business is expanding and they are more likely to consider your application. The next few weeks may not be the most opportune moment to make a speculative approach as firms are coming to terms with how to manage their business in these uncertain times. But, start to develop your ‘commercial awareness’ and learn about the type of employers (they tend to be SMEs ) who may consider this type of application when things have returned to normal.
Use your university careers services
Help and support continues to be available at the University of Warwick and we are using Microsoft Teams to offer careers advice and guidance. You can speak to a member of the team by a video or telephone call, Teams ‘chat’ or email at email@example.com
The next few weeks and months will be very unpredictable but consider some of these options to help you take that all important first, positive step towards a new career plan.