How to Market Yourself During the COVID-19 Pandemic

How to Market Yourself During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As of April 16, 2020, the United States reached 22 million people unemployed, setting the country’s economy back 10 years in terms of employment growth.  So, what does this mean for students trying to build their resumes?  How should you prepare for the American workforce if you are graduating this month? 

The changes in internships and full-time positions are creating an even more difficult time for students during the pandemic.  What’s important to remember is that this is only temporary.  There are still things you can do to prepare for the future and enhance your resume. 

Change of Plans

As of April 24th, 35% of students who had accepted internships for this summer had their internships cancelled.  Of these cancellations, about 64% are offering no compensation to the students.  24% of accepted positions have been transferred to being online.  While students understand the circumstances of this situation, it is still disappointing.  Internships are what help build a student’s resume, and the pandemic is making it more challenging for students to do so.

What’s important to remember is that you are not alone in this struggle.  Even if your internship has been shortened or transferred to be a virtual experience, you are still getting the opportunity to meet and work with professionals in your field.  Take advantage of the time to make connections with people that can help further your professional life once this pandemic is over. 

Enhance Your Resume

In the meantime, there are still things you can do to help enhance your resume and work on marketing yourself to prepare for the future.  Many schools are continuing to provide services through their career centers, like resume reviews, mock interviews, and cover letter workshops.  Take the time to focus on your resume and cover letter to ensure they are current and well written. 

Depending on your major and field of study, there are online trainings and workshops you can be a part of, allowing you to use this free time to learn something new.  There are various certifications and programs you can do right from home which can be added to improve your resume.  For example, if you want to learn a programming language, you can learn SQL, which is popularly used in programming and managing data.  For other majors you can look into various LinkedIn workshops or online events.  Any major can look into Microsoft Office online certifications, which you can add to enhance your LinkedIn profile and resume.

Utilize Your Resources

If you are graduating this month and are seeking employment, it’s important to realize that this will not last forever.  As you look for employment while on your OPT visa, it’s important to apply to positions with a new mindset.  Positions may be looking for only temporary workers, full time positions may have been converted to part time ones, and some may even be converted to being remote positions permanently.  Utilize the resources at your schools, to help navigate the changing employment climate.

For resources outside of your school, make sure you take advantage of sites like LinkedIn and Indeed.  Not only are these sites useful for finding relevant job postings to your major and field of study, they are also adapting with the current times.  Indeed, for example, has created a COVID-19 section of their website simply for jobs urgently hiring now or ones that are within the essential job sectors.  Indeed also can display jobs open to those on an OPT visa, with a simple search in their “What” bar.  From there, you can search even further based on location and type of position.  If you are still in the United States and are looking to find relevant postings for you on OPT, try it out by clicking here.

It’s Only Temporary

As you continue your educational journey in the United States, remember that you can continue being a member of ISO even after graduation by selecting of one of our two OPT plans.  Continue to build your resume if you are still in school, and if you are beginning your time on OPT, remember that there are still positions hiring. 

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