Career Center tailors services to new virtual format

While many graduates are nervous about their job prospects during the COVID-19 pandemic, PNW’s Career Center is upbeat about their future.

“I am most confident in our students being qualified to obtain a job or internship when hiring levels return to what they were before the pandemic,” said Natalie Connors, PNW’s Career Center director.

The number of job offers has shrunk from previous semesters. However, companies are still hiring new graduates through Handshake, a job search application that claims to be “the number one way college students find jobs.”

“We encourage students who are seeking jobs and internships to check Handshake regularly, as we are still seeing around 500 to 700 new job and internship postings per week,” said Connors. “However, this is a decline in activity compared with past semesters as many employers have hit pause on hiring activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, PNW averaged between 1,200-1,500 job and internship postings in Handshake per week.”

The stay-at-home orders have made in-person job interviews impossible, so companies are doing interviews virtually to keep the process running.

“Because the university is following the stay-at-home orders mandated by the governor, we do not have on-campus interviews at this time,” said Connors. “However, many employers have the ability to do virtual interviews via Handshake.”

Many students have turned to the Career Center for advice, such as reviewing resumes and practicing job interviews.

“I was getting ready for an interview and wanted to talk about my resume,” said senior Kathleen Franklin. “I would say I got some good general advice and a guide for fixing my resume. The woman I talked to was really nice and I felt more prepared.”

On the other hand, some students are disappointed the Career Center cannot do more these days.

“I feel that the Career Center was not as helpful as expected when I visited them,” said senior Omar Hamed. “They give you general ideas but never showed what really needs fixing. I feel that I had more job offers through connections than when I used the Career Center.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected most school operations, the Career Center is keeping all possible resources up and running to meet students’ needs.

“The Career Center is still working with students and alumni one-on-one, but we are doing this virtually. Students can either contact us at 219-989-2600 or schedule an appointment via the Handshake account,” said Connors. “We also have a series of webinars coming up in collaboration with the PNW Alumni Community and the College of Business Center for Career Management to help students and alumni called Taking on COVID-19.”