6 Ways Career Services Can Supercharge Your Job Search

6 Ways Career Services Can Supercharge Your Job Search

As the coronavirus pandemic leaves furloughed workers in limbo and threatens to push America’s unemployment rate to 20%, college graduates and those on the verge of finishing school now face a job market that looks nothing like the one they envisioned. 

Ashford University students and alumni are prepared to weather the turbulence, however, with the help of the University’s Career Services team. 

Here are six ways Career Services provides you with the tools and confidence to supercharge your job search.

1. Career exploration and self-assessment

So much of college is preparation for the “jobs of tomorrow,” but with the coronavirus upending every employment sector, experts have already begun identifying the major employers that will “outlast the outbreak” and the jobs that will be available.

Career Services can help you personalize your path from student to professional with a series of exploratory self-assessments that will help to determine your strengths, capabilities, and most importantly, passion. Assessments include:

  • Strengths Finder Assessment
  • Big 5 Personality Test
  • TypeFocus Career Aptitude Personality Test
  • PAR Self-Directed Search (SDS) Assessment
  • My Next Move Test

Additionally, Career Services has partnered with Versatile PhD to prepare graduate and doctoral students for careers in non-academic fields. Supported by a community of 80,000 students, staff, and faculty, the web-based Versatile PhD will help you identify career paths that align with your academic studies and personal interests.

2. Networking and virtual communities

No matter the strength of your resume or the breadth of your experience, having a connection remains one of the key ways to get the job you want. Surveys have found as many as 85% of all jobs are filled via networking, and Career Services specializes in creating opportunities for you to connect with peers and employers in your industry. This includes:

  • Virtual career fairs. As networking will take place virtually for the foreseeable future, these career fairs ensure students and alumni have access to employers who are hiring. 
  • Virtual communities. Career Services hosts a student and alumni networking group on LinkedIn, allowing nearly 17,500 members to share career updates and employment opportunities; while seeking guidance from fellow students or alumni for success in and beyond the classroom.

In previous years, Career Services has hosted face-to-face networking receptions for students and alumni in Atlanta, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., among other cities. Although the pandemic has postponed in-person events, the Ashford University Alumni Association continues to welcome members online in their Facebook and LinkedIn groups. 

3. One-on-one strategy meetings

If you’re in need of one-on-one time with a Career Advisor, you can schedule a coaching appointment via “My Career powered by Symplicity” in your Student Portal. These appointments cover a number of topics, including career exploration and planning, as well as the educational requirements needed to land a job in your field of interest. 

4. Resume and cover letter development

Applicant Tracking Systems, the gatekeeping programs that scan your resume and determine if you’ll move to the next step in the search process, are just one obstacle you’ll face when typing up your qualifications and experience. Career Services will work with you when developing your resume and cover letter, so you’ll know which sections to include, which experience to excise, and which words will give you an advantage against the “resume robots.”

5. Interview preparation

Employers were already moving toward video technology for job interviews before the pandemic struck, now it’s a near guarantee that any interview you’ll have in the next few months, at least, will be via video conference. You must prepare for these interviews much differently than you would for a face-to-face encounter, and Career Services will help you hone your skills via a mock interview program in “My Career powered by Symplicity.” After you record your video, an advisor can help you identify your strengths, and the areas in which you need to improve. You’ll also be provided with a link to your video, so you get feedback from trusted colleagues.

6. Employer outreach and job search assistance

Throughout the years, Ashford University has forged relationships with organizations large and small, and those employers post openings on the University sponsored job board. Additionally, the information you provide in “My Career powered by Symplicity” helps Career Services determine which employers are invited to future Ashford recruitment activities. 

Career Services also offers you the opportunity to have your resume featured in an opt-in resume book. Employers are able to search these books and identify qualified job candidates by academic background, work experience, or specialized skills. Resumes that match the criteria they are looking for are then sent to hiring managers and recruiters.

Navigating the Job Search Landscape

With Career Services on your side, you can navigate the complexities of the job search with confidence. Here are eight additional resources and tips that you can bookmark and reference whenever you need them.

O*Net and CareerOneStop

The more tools in your toolbox, the better prepared you’ll be for your next career move. O*Net and CareerOneStop will help you determine which direction to take your future, with unemployment resources to help you manage your present. 

ATS Optimization

These keyword optimization guidelines will give you an advantage when your resume is placed into an Applicant Tracking System – a vetting program that scans resumes and cover letters for keywords and determines which applicants will move to the next phase of the hiring search. 

Finding Remote Work

With more Americans adjusting to work-from-home lifestyles and some organizations allowing employees to work remotely in the post-coronavirus future, you can narrow your job search to a company that wants you to stay in your home office. When searching for jobs online, try replacing the location or position title with the word “remote.”

Top Remote Employer Lists

For an even larger view of which companies are hiring remote workers, you can scan these four sites:

Employers Hiring Now

One easy way to identify who’s hiring is to search social media using the hashtags #hiringnow or #nowhiring. Many leading job sites, including LinkedIn, FlexJobs, and TheMuse have published articles with lists of employers who are hiring during the pandemic. 

Career Advice Sites You Should Bookmark

Just as you’d scan the daily headlines on your phone, you should bookmark these brands for updated information on who’s hiring and career advice that you can put to use every day:

Free Training and Education

The next hiring manager you meet might ask you what you did during the pandemic. You could say you mastered a new skill or earned a certification through one of these programs:

Virtual Career Fairs

Attending a virtual career fair will not only help you make connections, but it will help you become more comfortable and confident about the online job search. LinkedIn, Hiring Our Heroes, and Jobfairsin.com are three companies that frequently offer users lists of virtual career fairs.  

While some aspects of the job search, such as resume writing and interviewing, may get easier with practice, the process itself is always evolving and often impacted by current events. Even as the pandemic transforms the future of work, Career Services remains one of your most viable options for assessing your skills, identifying opportunities, and landing the job you want. To get started, go to “My Career powered by Symplicity” or email [email protected].

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Written by Ashford University staff

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