Tips for job seekers and alternative opportunities
As I sit here finishing up my program at BCIT, I am slowly starting to apply for jobs. Still, I am skeptical if these openings are even still available, due to the rapid changes in organizational structures. Will employers respond to my application, and if not, will more opportunities open up in the summer? I can imagine that I am not the only one with these worries. Entering the job market amidst a pandemic is uncharted territory, and nerve-wracking for many graduates.
I had the opportunity to speak to Tara Mollett, Director of Student Services, regarding tips for job seekers and alternatives during COVID-19. Mollett oversees the Career Services Department at the BCIT Student Association. Tara kindly provided greater insight into the resources offered by the department, as well as her thoughts on the dynamic of the job market in the coming months.
Resources at BCIT
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the BCITSA Career Services Department has been transitioning its programs and resources to online to best support students through this challenging time. The hardworking team is currently offering the following services and resources:
- 1-on-1 appointments with Career Specialists via Microsoft Teams to discuss personalized advice and guidance on goals, applying for jobs, and learning about how the pandemic is affecting their respective industry.
- Resume and cover letter online workshops to help upcoming grads get noticed upon applying for jobs.
- Various workshops are going to launch this May—keep an eye out for LinkedIn workshop sign-ups on their website!
- Virtual drop-in sessions will soon be available for BCIT students (about 2 to 3 days per week) to ask less personalized and quick questions regarding careers or recommendations for further services.
- COVID-19-related resources such as updates on how specific industries are affected and how to work at home effectively.
The voice of employers
The BCITSA Career Services Department has recently been given out a survey to local employers to get a better sense of how COVID-19 is affecting their recruitment and hiring processes. Some companies are continuing as usual, while others are taking a pause. Operations have ceased in some industries, but there are efforts to try to open businesses soon, and the government is currently providing support through financial supplements.
If you are unsure if a company is hiring, it doesn’t hurt to contact them to ask or to apply. By contacting them, you are opening a networking opportunity, and by applying, it is an active effort to put your name in their system.
If you can choose to be jobless for the time being or you are unhappy with what is out there now, don’t worry! Consider taking on new hobbies, developing skills through courses or self-learning, or indulge in virtual networking such as through LinkedIn, Shapr, Meetup, or Xing. By doing this, you are strengthening your skills, broadening your portfolio, and ultimately making yourself more employable for when the job market opens broadly again.
On the other hand, there are still opportunities to get some income while supporting your community. There is a lot of value in working in the service sector, and many grocery stores and distribution centres are in great need of workers. Organizations such as Loblaws and Amazon recognize this hiccup in the job market. They are encouraging those who are out of work to apply for a position with their companies during COVID-19.
It may feel grim to look for work right now but know that there is a team of professionals who are here to support you—the Career Specialists at the BCITSA Career Services Department. They will help you find the best path to success and guide you through making informed decisions and generating realistic goals.
Best of luck and congratulations to all the recent graduates of BCIT!
For more details, visit https://www.bcitsa.ca/careerservices/