COVID-19 sparks uncertainty in job market, Career Center provides resources


Courtesy / GVSU

Amy McNeel, Associate Editor

In a recent Lanthorn article, graduating Lakers emphasized their concerns about COVID-19 negatively impacting the job market. “Job searching has become a little bit more difficult;” “I’m not sure about employment anymore;” “It’s hard to interview for jobs when everyone is on lockdown,” students said.

These fears are being highlighted in unemployment rates across the country. According to a New York Times article published April 3, the unemployment rate in America is currently around 13 percent, and rising. Evidently, unemployment is at its highest level since the Great Depression.

The effects of COVID-19 on the job market is adding stress to an already stressful season of life for many graduating students. The rising unemployment rate, along with remote work and less job postings means students are experiencing an intense state of limbo.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our global economy, which in turn affects the job market,” said Grand Valley State University career advisor Rachel Becklin. “This presents a challenging new environment that our graduating seniors are entering, but all hope is not lost.”

Although this new climate is uncertain, Becklin said it’s important to be patient and persistent by continuing to apply for positions and reaching out to potential employers. During this period, Becklin said it’s also a good idea to network.

“Send uplifting and fun notes to people in your network,” Becklin said. “Seek out alumni and human resources professionals on LinkedIn and set up phone informational interviews. Ask your family members to refer you to people in their networks.”

While the impact of COVID-19 is leaving a lot of students feeling hopeless, the Career Center is still providing services to help graduating Lakers. Like the rest of the university, the Career Center will be remotely operated for the rest of the semester. However, students can still schedule phone appoints or email their advisors for help. Appointments will still be made on Handshake.

“We are also offering students the opportunity to submit their resume and cover letter for review,” Becklin said. “If you’d like a Career Center staff member to review your resume or cover letter, email it as an attachment to [email protected]. We will be happy to reply with comments within three business days. Please include your name, major and how you hope to use your resume in the email.”

At this time, students can also practice their phone interview skills. A simulated interview can be scheduled with a career advisor on Handshake.

Although the current uncertainty of the job market is stressful, it’s important students persist and take advantage of the available resources.

“Have patience with the process and try to stay connected to supports — virtually in this case,” Becklin said. “The Career Center is here to support you.”