UPDATED April 29, 2021
You did it. You graduated and now you’re ready to pursue your next goal, and for many of you, that includes finding a job, advancing to a new position at your current place of employment, or seeking a career change altogether. It’s an exciting time that under normal circumstances can create a bit of anxiety. This year, however, your post-college future may look a little different as the global economy works to overcome the impacts of COVID-19.
Despite this continuing challenge the pandemic presents, your tenacity will help you overcome the hurdles, much like when you balanced your education, work, family, and life while pursuing your degree. Still, having a helping hand will go a long way during these unique times.
Here’s how Career Services can help you prepare for the next phase in your journey, and what you can do to secure your future and maintain positive momentum as you seek new opportunities.
Career Moves to Make Right Now
It’s understandable that as a student you were consumed by pursuing your degree and had little time to focus on anything other than school, work, or family. Now that you have completed your degree program (or are close to doing so), it’s time to take advantage of any gaps in your schedule – 20 minutes, here or there – and take proactive steps to prepare for life after graduation. Here are some career moves to make right now:
1. Update Your Resume
You earned your degree, so make sure you add that accomplishment to your resume and your LinkedIn profile right away. While you’re at it, take a little time to freshen up your LinkedIn profile, and reach out to Career Services if you need some assistance with that task.
2. Optimize Your Resume
If it’s been a while since you’ve been in the job market, one of the first things that you’ll notice is less face-to-face (or even Zoom-to-Zoom) contact with recruiters. Many of today’s hiring efforts are funneled through Applicant Tracking Systems, which scan your resume for keywords to match job descriptions and duties. You can outsmart these “resume robots” by optimizing your resume with keywords and phrases that Applicant Tracking Systems will flag before sending your resume to a recruiter.
3. Take Stock of Your Skills
Graduates with an online degree, especially, can leave school knowing they possess many of the skills – adaptability, flexibility, tech savviness, critical thinking, among others – needed to succeed in a post-coronavirus world. The fact that you were able to complete a college degree by utilizing online tools is worthy of mention and should give you added confidence when applying for your next job.
"Students may not realize it, but the skills they have gained navigating an online course or successfully managing their time to stay disciplined to complete their degree are highly sought after in a competitive job market,” says University of Arizona Global Campus Career Services Manager Rebecca Davis. “It’s key for students to articulate their ability to adapt to technology, time-management, and communication skills to potential employers.”
4. Start Networking
If you’ve spent your college years in a virtual classroom setting, you’re already adept at online etiquette. This should make it easier for you to begin networking virtually with your contacts, industry colleagues, faculty, and potential employers.
Many graduates are looking to make contacts through the platform, and Davis suggests to start networking with your classmates and alumni. Global Campus boasts a 17,000-member strong LinkedIn group that is overseen by Career Services and connects current students to alumni in all professions.
Another great way to network with your fellow alum is through UAGC Connect! Available exclusively to Global Campus alumni, UAGC Connect powered by PeopleGrove is a one-stop resource that includes, among other benefits:
- Lifetime career coaching
- Networking opportunities
- Online communities
- Exclusive discounts
- Career tips and workplace trends
How Career Services Can Help
Even before the pandemic upended the job market, Career Services began developing new resources for future generations of Global Campus graduates. Taking advantage of every resource at your disposal will give you the best chance to succeed in a competitive job market. Career Services offers lifelong support to all alumni, and you can reach out at any stage of your career after graduation. In the meantime, here are some of the options to get you on track.
1. Career Pathways
As a Global Campus student, you had the opportunity to set up your “My Career” account through the Student Portal. However, if you did not take this step, you can still activate your account to take advantage of all the resources that Career Services has to offer. Accessible via the “My Career” platform, Pathways allow you to review a custom career plan based on your degree program. Your pathways were designed to enhance your skill development and increase your knowledge of professional certifications and organizations. Individualized resources in Pathways include preparation checklists, niche job boards, and industry-specific websites, so take advantage of these now that you’ve honed your skills and earned your degree. Even if you did not use Pathways during your degree program, you can review it after graduation to access all of the pathway resources available.
2. Video Mock Interviews
With job interviews likely to take place via video conference for the foreseeable future, today’s graduates must be able to make the case for themselves in a virtual setting. Global Campus graduates using the “My Career” platform can take advantage of video mock interviews that allow them to practice and perfect their interview skills.
"The mock interview tool in My Career allows jobseekers to choose from hundreds of frequently asked interview questions. By designing their own mock interview, students can hone their interviewing skills and a time and place that works best for them,” Davis explains. “If you would like feedback after your mock interview, you can email it to Career Services for a review."
3. Virtual Career Fairs
Ashford University* hosted two career fairs in 2020, and the next one is May 19, although the event will be open for a month afterward to allow alumni to continue to explore the opportunities and apply. Our events allow all students and alumni to connect online with top employers, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations from a number of industries.
In a virtual career fair, you are able to upload your resume and connect with companies in a personal chat room. Employers taking part will be able to post an unlimited number of jobs, and many may want to conduct one-on-one interviews on the spot – another reason to prepare with video mock interviews and practice your pitch in advance.
Make sure you follow us on Facebook to learn about upcoming events.
4. Virtual Career Fairs
Career Services also offers assistance to supercharge your job search in a number of other ways, including help with:
- Opt-In Resume Books
- Work-from-Home Guidance
- Identifying Remote Employers
- Free Training Resources
- Cover Letter Writing
- Military-to-Career Transitions
Facing the Future with Confidence
Though the road ahead is riddled with obstacles, especially during a pandemic, there is opportunity in every challenge or setback.
By remaining focused on your priorities and taking advantage of the lifelong resources provided by Career Services, you will find it easier to navigate any uncertainty that lies ahead. For assistance with your resume or job search, contact Career Services.
*Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus.