Career Services provides opportunities for students to continue networking online

Milenne Quinonez, Staff Reporter

Jay Pfeiffer, a career counselor and lecturer, said he has been observing that at some point things will continue to go back to normal depending on the coronavirus, and companies that have had hiring freezes and been downsizing for a year will switch over very quickly to hiring many people when everything starts getting back in motion again. 

Pfeiffer said things employers are looking for are students utilizing their time and gaining additional skills online and doing volunteer work to build students’ personal network.

“Finding ways to build yourself up professionally during this pandemic slowdown.” said Pfeiffer 

Career Services has been putting out workshops for students through Zoom and holding employer panels and one-on-one appointments. Pfeiffer said a way Career Services is offering extra guidance for students during the pandemic is by eliminating boundaries between campuses in Des Moines, Lynwood and Ellensburg to open more opportunities to a wider range of students. 

Steve Laing, assistant director in Career Services, said, “I think what’s really important for students right now is to focus on what they can control.” 

Laing said students can develop a job search plan by researching companies and organizations, and prepare and assess career tools like updating resumes and cover letters. 

Laing recommends students to do informational interviewing which is a conversation with an individual from a company or organization that a student is interested in where they ask questions on the career and specific skills that are most important for the occupation. 

“You develop a network of contacts, people who can share with you information they’re aware of,” Laing said. 

According to a study done by the National Association of College and Employers (NACE), students who received a job offer from an internship, 70% found internships through a cold networking process and 40% found internships through warm networking. 

Cold networking is contacting someone  without having any preexisting relationship with them, and warm networking is making use of one’s preexisting network. 

“It’s really important to remain proactive in all of this,” Laing said. 

Students can take up volunteer work, or get a job to develop additional skills and continue utilizing skills they already have. Laing said by being out there and working and communicating with people, it is a way for students to network and allow others to know them. 

“It’s not what you know, but who you know,” Laing said. “But there’s also a flip side to that. It’s not just who you know, but who knows you.” 

CWU recently decided to implement restrictions on internships by requiring them to be conducted in remote modalities, effective spring quarter 2020 through academic year 20/21. In person internship activities will be permitted only upon approval by the college dean. 

On April 22, Career Services will be hosting a virtual career fair, as a way for students to virtually connect with employers and graduate schools. Students can go into their MyCWU and log into the Wildcat Career Network to RSVP. Additional sources for Career Services can be found on its YouTube channel.