CAREER Searching for professional opportunities for students is challenging during regular times. When a pandemic hits, this becomes even harder. In this article I will share with you my personal experience, as well as my key learnings.
At the beginning of 2020, I thought that I had everything under control (as most of us probably). I was going to begin my job/internship seek in February and I was certain that I was going to start working by March latest. How naïve of me.
First of all, intending to start to apply a month in advance was not very smart from my side. Further, when the lockdown was announced in March and all the interviews that I had scheduled were cancelled, that is when it became clearer that I was in trouble. In the end, it took me 3 months to find a professional opportunity… a little bit longer than expected. This whole experience was hard, but it taught me so much. I can say that these are my key learnings:
I used to believe that applying through the most popular online job platforms was enough. These help; however, there are other resources. An example is when I decided to approach companies of my interest directly, even if they did not have a job opening posted. Most of them got back to me, were willing to keep my CV to keep me in mind for future opportunities, and some of them even invited me to their offices and/or helped me with advice. Another action I took was regularly visiting the careers portal that the Lucerne UASA offers to its students (that is where I found the internship I am pursuing now!).
Seize and grow your network
Whilst searching for professional opportunities during a pandemic, I felt very frustrated. Instead of keeping this to myself, I decided to share my experience with as many people as I could. I was very surprised with the great advices that they shared with me and/or with the help that they offered. Some of them even referred me or introduced me to new people who could possibly help.
Believe in yourself more than ever
Yes, the struggle is real. We are going through a crisis and many people are applying for jobs/internships. Therefore, I needed to stand out more than never. I saw that as a self-empowerment opportunity where I decided to look back to what I have achieved in my life and acknowledge it, be proud and confident, and transmit it in my application and energy.
Seek, seek, seek… and start well in advance
When several companies told me that they were receiving an overwhelming number of applications, I realized that I should not get my hopes high with a certain job opening before even getting a positive reply from their side. Instead, I had to continue seeking on a daily basis.
Finally, if I could turn back time, I would have started to search for a career opportunity 3 months in advance minimum.
Did you find this insightful? Could you relate and/or know of another student going through something similar? Do you have another advice? Feel free to share it in a comment below!
Ana Cristina Pérez Carrillo
MSc student in Business Administration
major Business Development & Promotion