MSU Career Services Leads New Virtual Reality

April 15, 2020

MSU Career Services Leads New Virtual Reality

For many college students, the eagerness and excitement that typically accompanies starting a career where they can apply new skills or beginning a summer internship has quickly been replaced by anxiousness and stress. Concerns over whether a position will still be available after the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact the global economic crisis will have on their ability to keep the job they worked hard to earn is all too real.

As companies and organizations face mounting uncertainty, many have taken actions not seen since the last major recession. They have postponed start dates for new hires in both full-time positions and internships, and some have even been forced to rescind offers. At the same time, several others are adapting and creating remote work assignments for college hires or changing the location of employment.

Michigan State University Career Services Network (CSN) – part of the Division of Student Affairs and Services – quickly adapted to restructure face-to-face opportunities with current and new technology to shift to virtual options, where appropriate, to meet the changing needs for both students and organizations. 

“Our goal is to work with students and employers in a proactive manner to uncover options, despite the uncertainty of the situation,” said Karin Hanson, director of employer relations and communications for CSN.  “In some cases, we’ve been able to help employers realize unique alternatives, including creating micro-internships or externships, and ensure employers maintain their talent pipeline from our campus.”

Some employers facing the tough decision of eliminating their summer internship program for 2020 have committed to those interns to give them top consideration for full-time opportunities in the upcoming year. In any case, Career Services is working with its hundreds of employer partners to support their needs and identify changes in employment plans. 

“Daily, we are speaking with employers, and we continue to see a large number of job postings for industries that are actually expanding as a result of the current situation, especially in healthcare, technology, and some manufacturing,” Hanson said. “As a result, we are able to use this information to help students seek alternative employment options or other ways to build their skill set over the summer.”

To help level some student anxiety, CSN quickly moved to create a Virtual Career Center, an online support site that provides easy access to many virtual services and resources.One of the most accessed resources is Virtual Career Advising. Like traditional career advising, students schedule appointments to meet with a career services professional on a variety of topics, only the meetings are conducted using videoconference technology or phones. Currently, some of the most requested topics are conducting a virtual job search, best practices for participating in virtual career fairs and resume critiques. 

For those students unsure about their career path or seeking new options, the Virtual Career Center offers access to a free online career assessment that helps identify pathways based on interests, skills and values. Once complete, students may set up a virtual meeting with a career advisor to review the results and determine next steps.

It is not all doom and gloom,” Hanson added. “jobs are still available, and we are seeing many employers continue to recruit for roles through our online job board. We have more than 15,000 jobs and internships posted for MSU students and are actively contacting employers to confirm availability.”

With many employers still seeking to complete their spring hiring plans for summer or fall start dates, CSN is hosting a two-day virtual career fair April 23 and 24 to helps students connect with employers. The change in format from face-to-face job fairs creates unique opportunities for students to participate in chats with recruiters, complete live interviews and submit resumes to preferred employers in an efficient way.

“A virtual career fair allows us the ability to still connect with MSU students and help them secure a career they can rely on during these uncertain times,” said Kristina Smith, corporate recruiter with human resources for Auto-Owners, the sponsor for this MSU event. “Auto-Owners Insurance is actively hiring for all our positions, including many that are entry-level positions perfect for college graduates.”

MSU is also collaborating with 14 other Michigan public universities to host a virtual teacher and administrator fair on May 11.  “This is the first of this level of state-wide collaboration that will help school districts in need of talent for Fall, but which are struggling with new budget and time constraints,” Hanson said.

“Now more than ever we need to meet students where they are and take an innovative approach to how we serve students and employers,” Hanson added. “We are confident many of the actions we are taking will result in best practices that we will maintain even after the pandemic is over.”

About the Career Services Network

The Career Services Network (CSN) is part of the Division of Student Affairs and Services. The network offers career support and advising to the campus’ nearly 50,000 students. The scope of services includes career exploration and planning, career coaching, resume / CV reviews, interview preparation, and career development workshops.  Additionally, the Network maintains partnerships with hundreds of employers globally and helps students connect with recruiters and alumni to support their desired career outcomes and success.

 

 

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