Job Hunting in the Age of COVID-19

The Gustavus Center for Career Development is supporting students in innovative ways as Gusties seek careers amidst the continuing pandemic.
Posted on March 23rd, 2021 by

Center for Career Development Executive Director Andrew Coston met with a Gustavus student before COVID-19 changed how the office operates.

by Ava Gross ’21

Less than two months from now, Gustavus Adolphus College students in the Class of 2021 will walk across the commencement platform to mark their accomplishments and receive their well-earned diplomas. It’s always a pivotal moment for seniors, but this year it will be more monumental than most. In an unprecedented year, Gusties have risen up and faced the challenges that they have been dealt with grace and dignity. However, for many seniors, there is still a lot of anxiety and fear about what the future holds.

Despite the challenges of this past year, the Center for Career Development has adapted to address the needs of Gustavus students. For Executive Director Andrew Coston, there was no choice but figure out new ways to best serve Gustie undergrads. 

“The Center for Career Development has moved as much of our work online as we can, however, we know that students have many different needs so our office is still open with a limited number of staff Monday through Friday,” he said. “We are working hard to provide opportunities for students to better prepare themselves for the future with events such as the fall and spring semester career fairs, a variety of different job preparedness workshops, and even offering one-on-one appointment times with speciality advisers in the evenings and on weekends.” 

Andrew Coston

Coston understands the challenges of the current job market and he reiterated what most of us at Gustavus already know: people all across the country are struggling to secure job positions. 

“The overall competition, layoffs, and the number of eliminated jobs presents an increased challenge for individuals going from college into the workforce,” Coston said. “There are many experienced professionals who are searching the job market for positions as well, and that increases the difficulty for graduating seniors with significantly less experience than those who are three to five years post graduation.”

Although the job market may currently look a little bleak, many Gusties are still finding opportunities to shine.

Take for example, senior public accounting major Weston Lombard. During his sophomore year, Lombard visited Clifton Larson Allen, an accountancy firm, with the accounting club and became interested in learning more about their work. He reached out during his junior year to see if they were hiring interns for the upcoming summer. After an interview, he was offered an internship specifically created for him. Then, this past summer, Lombard accepted a position to work with them full-time after graduation.

Another success story comes from recent 2020 graduate Ashley Beckman, who secured a job with the financial consulting company Boulay. “The position I have with Boulay is in the Account Advisory Department as a 2021 busy season intern. I have had the opportunity to work on many compilations and reviews for clients, aid with general accounting assistance in Quickbooks for clients, and prepare Individual 1040s,” Beckman explained. She applied for the internship through Handshake and then went through a two-step interview process. After meeting with various people in departments across the company, she was offered a position. 

When it comes to resources that students can use to aid them in their job hunting search, senior communication studies major Elsa Beise says that she heavily relied on Handshake, LinkedIn, and the Center for Career Development to find opportunities that were specific to what she was hoping for after graduation. “I used the search filters on Handshake and LinkedIn to look at opportunities that fit the career field I wanted to enter and the location I was hoping to stay in. After looking through the job descriptions and requirements, I applied for those I could see myself fitting into and enjoying,” Beise said. She also connected with Cynthia Farve, who helped her organize her job hunting plan and encouraged her to take online courses that would increase her skill sets and visibility. 

When asked about the best piece of advice they had for other seniors currently looking for a job post graduation, Lombard, Beckman, and Beise had much to say. “Prioritize your experience over knowledge. You can’t get stronger by just reading about push-ups, you have to actually do them!” Lombard said. Beckman urged her fellow Gusties to visit the Center for Career Development as soon as possible. However, if for some reason you are unable to do that, she urged students to search up the Career Development page on the Gustavus website. “The website alone has tons of links and resources for students at any point in their job search or career journey,” Beckman remarked. As for Beise, she would encourage students to keep an open mind when looking for job positions. “It is so important to remember that you are looking for an opportunity that you enjoy as well as one that will offer you employment, so do not lose sight of what you want from an employer while searching for those who may want you.”

Coston urges students at any stage in their career process to schedule an appointment or drop into the Center for Career Development. “You can schedule time with us online via Handshake or you can come into our office. Even if you don’t know what questions to ask, I would encourage you to stop by and tell us your concerns and we can take you from there.”

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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