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Persistence, patience recommended for job seekers

May 19, 2020
A cartoon woman sits at a laptop
A cartoon woman sits at a laptop

KOKOMO, Ind. – There are jobs out there.

It just may take a little more work — or patience — to find them in the current market.

Tracy Springer, director of Indiana University Kokomo’s career and accessibility center, said employers are posting open positions and hiring, even though they may delay starting workers for a few months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The ones who put in the effort and work hard will be able to find those jobs,” she said. “It’s going to be a challenge at first, because the job market isn’t what it was. Things will open back up.”

The Career and Accessibility Center posts job openings on its website, and also shares them on its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Springer encourages job seekers to check the website and follow on social media, and apply to as many as possible with the understanding that their start may be delayed.

Those looking for employment should stay active, practicing for interviews, updating résumés, researching companies, and even accepting employment that is part-time and/or outside their career field.

“Don’t just do nothing,” she said. “Try to do what you can to build up your resume. If that means finding a part-time job or brushing up with an Excel class or a Word class, take that action. It shows you are a self-starter.

“This has been an unusual year with the pandemic, and employers may ask what you did from the time school was out. If you’ve worked on yourself, you can talk about that, and show that you were working and educating yourself further.”

Interviews are still happening, but often have moved from in person to online via platforms such as Zoom. Whichever way it takes place, Springer says to treat it like a real interview, smiling, making eye contact, and researching the company in advance and be prepared with good questions. It’s also acceptable to refer to notes during the conversation.

“You should always dress the part,” Springer said. “Whatever you would have worn in an in-person interview, you need to wear in a Zoom meeting. You should be yourself, just like you would be in any interview.”

She recommends downloading the appropriate app or program well in advance, and testing it to be sure it works. It’s best to interview against a blank wall, rather than an artificial background or cluttered space, and to prevent distractions.

“That would be the worst thing, to have background noise to where the interviewer can’t hear what your answer was, or it’s disruptive.”

However, if technology doesn’t work, it’s OK to ask questions.

“This is new for everybody,” she said. “If there’s a glitch and you don’t hear all of a question, it’s OK to say so and ask for it to be repeated.”

Springer’s staff is available to work with students and alumni remotely, by appointment.

“We can meet with them virtually to conduct mock interviews, assist them with using the Ascend Indiana platform to find additional job opportunities, and help write and critique resumes,” she said.

Another resource available through the Center is paid micro-internships, through a campus partnership with Parker Dewey. Students can apply to as many as they want, and complete many of them virtually.

For more information, contact the Career and Accessibility Center at 765-455-9301, or carserv@iuk.edu

Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.

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