The Coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected the world we live in, and it is vitally important to be aware of how to effectively search for opportunities despite the pandemic. This summer, the Career Center hosted a (Job) “Search Party” series where CofC alumni shared their tips and insight on how to successfully job search. Seth Burrell, a speaker at the first Search Party series, provided his insights on finding employment during the Coronavirus pandemic. Burrell graduated from the College of Charleston in 2015 with a degree in Political Science. He now works in talent booking, production, and real estate. Burrell’s career did not begin after graduation; it began during the CofC Transfer Orientation. As a transfer student, he met fellow students with similar goals and his networking journey took off from there.
After graduation, Burrell’s first job was far from his dream position. However, it laid the foundation to make further connections with others that led to new opportunities. He learned valuable writing, email drafting, and presentation skills that he uses daily at his current position with Norwegian Cruise Lines.
“Just because you didn’t land your first job from the first interview, that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen.”
From his experience, the way to secure your first job out of college is to reach out to CofC alumni in your prospective field to establish a form of communication, receive advice, and to learn about opportunities – in other words, networking. By connecting with alumni from your university, you have a great starting point to get a meaningful conversation started. While networking is different for everyone, “it’s okay to be direct” and request an informational interview with that individual or with someone else in their company to be more informed about your prospective career path. When looking for connection points, the Career Center recommends that you use College of Charleston’s Alumni Search Tool on LinkedIn to identify individuals within the career field, company, or location affiliated with the College. As you’re making connections, it’s important to introduce yourself and include the fact that you’re a CofC student looking for advice on professional topics, such as the job search. In addition to networking with alumni, you can start establishing connections with employers through the Career Center’s Career Fairs held every semester.
Throughout Burrell’s career, the practice of job searching has developed, most recently due to the coronavirus pandemic. “The traditional method of starting your career [and meeting employers in person] has completely flipped on its head [due to quarantine].” It is important today for graduates to do three things:
- Work on soft skills.
- Identify companies that would be a risk or dream to work for and just go for it.
- Use this time to reflect, and ask yourself what companies or career fields are interesting to you to help focus your career pursuits.
The pandemic has changed the job market and the future of many companies. However, Burrell points out that:
“It’s a great opportunity to build your own personal skills because we have so much free time… Things are really difficult right now, but the people who are using this time to grow will be better off.”
-Christina Ferrell, Peer Career Advisor