Entering the workforce after graduation can be daunting, especially now due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19. Erica Johnston, assistant director of career development at the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), has several tips and resources for graduates entering the workforce.
According to Johnston, CEHD graduates are fortunate as positions in education and related fields have not seen the downturn that other industries are facing due to COVID-19.
"Graduating teacher education students this December can expect to find mostly midyear virtual/hybrid positions available and also an uptick in in-home academic support positions," says Johnston.
In addition to teacher education positions, there are jobs available in education and other related fields for which CEHD students may be qualified. For those who don't know where to begin their job search, Johnston recommends making an appointment with her at the Career Center.
The Career Center is available to help students with resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and job hunting advice, in addition to counseling for potential career paths. Johnston provides some of her tips on how to navigate securing a job during this time.
Resume Do's and Don'ts
The perfect resume should be one to two pages. According to Johnston, recent graduates' resumes are typically one page. It should only be two pages long if students' have an extensive work history.
Johnston recommends highlighting educational history, work experience, relevant coursework and skills. Experiences should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent experience at the top. Certifications and awards should go underneath the "education" section. Foreign language skills and proficiencies should be included in the "skills" section at the bottom.
Johnston says highlighting relevant coursework is a great way to showcase skills outside of jobs and internships. "You're not just gaining knowledge from these courses, you're also gaining skills."
Johnston recommends leaving objectives and summary statements out of a resume. Students' work philosophies should be included in the cover letter.
Students should refrain from using several different fonts and sizes. Consistency is key!
A cover letter details why candidates would be a good fit for the position as well as why they want to work for the organization.
"Do a little bit of homework on the organization, and who they serve, so you can connect it back to your own experiences and make that clear connection in your cover letter," says Johnston.
Like resumes, cover letters should be one page in length. They should include contact information like a phone number and email address.
Applying to Jobs and How to Set Yourself Apart from Other Candidates
After you have a stellar resume and cover letter, it's time to put it to use by applying to jobs on sites like Handshake and LinkedIn. Handshake posts hundreds of job listings a day and a large portion are in educational fields.
Due to schools operating remotely or with limited capacity, job seekers are attending virtual interviews. To set yourself apart, students should create portfolio websites that include information about their teaching philosophies and pre-recorded demo lessons. Going the extra mile shows employers you are serious about the position.
What to Expect When Working During this Time
If you have secured a job during COVID-19, congratulations! It is important to realize that it is a very different work experience for everyone. Be kind to yourself and use all the resources available to you.
If you have any more questions about your career or need help with your job search, schedule an appointment with Erica Johnston by following the steps below.
- Go to Handshake: https://www.joinhandshake.com/
- Select Appointments
- Select New Appointment
- Select College of Education & Human Development
- Select Career Development Support
- Select from Available Dates/Times
- Email documents to firstname.lastname@example.org to be reviewed 2-3 days in advance
- Meet via Zoom during selected/approved appointment time