The Reality of Job Hunting During a Pandemic for New Black College Grads Pt. 2
We want to continue yesterday’s article by providing you with 3 quarantine style, résumé-building tips for new Black college grads.
The Melanin Series decided to put together three tips for you to bolster your résumé as much as possible during the quarantine.
We hope that in using these tips, you will have a leg up in the post-quarantine workforce and that you get the job of your dreams.
1. Utilize your professors.
Just because you have your degree, does not mean that you need to cut ties with your professors. Your professors are more than just your instructors. Most professors are eager to be your mentors. They have the desire to help you navigate your vision for the future. All you have to do is ask.
Most professors have contacts within the field that they specialize in who are looking for assistants and/or volunteers. Some professors are looking for assistants themselves to help with research or projects that they have in the works. The great thing about a lot of these projects is that you can do a lot of work from home, which is an additional bonus in today’s times. If your professors do not have any research in the works right now or are unaware of any projects that their colleagues have, this is okay. Speaking to them throws your name in the hat to be considered for any projects that come up down the road.
Professors are also willing to have discussions about how to make your next move.
Maybe now that you have your degree you want to know what entry-level jobs you can pursue in your field. Perhaps you have questions about graduate school. Maybe you are just feeling overwhelmed about the number of options that are in front of you. Most professors are happy to talk to you about your next steps. They are an excellent resource to utilize, and since there is a lot of downtime to plan your future, now is the right time to speak to them.
This tip kind of goes hand in hand with the previous one. Volunteering is a great way to network, gain experience, and make yourself known in your desired industry. Despite common belief, employers do value volunteer experience. The trick is that your volunteer work has to be relevant to the jobs that you will be applying for.
Many industries and organizations are now closed; however, some are still open and are looking for volunteers. Due to current health concerns, you may prefer to engage in volunteer work from home. Depending on the kind of volunteer work you sign up for, this may or may not be feasible. Many organizations are aware that volunteers and employees can not or may not want to come in. This has created a lot of work from home positions for volunteers. If you browse the internet or local postings, you will find something that catches your eye.
PRO TIP: Employers like stability. Make sure you volunteer for an organization that you can see yourself committing to over a long period of time.
3. Attend virtual events and seminars.
Events and webinars are great for emerging professionals, and now due to COVID-19, most of these events are being held online. I once had a career mentor who stressed the importance of attending seminars and events. Events are great ways to network, learn new skills, and gain knowledge that can help you down the road.
Ideally, you want to attend events that you do not have a lot of knowledge about. The reason for this is twofold. First, you get to learn about a new topic or skill that can come in handy down the road. Secondly, you may find yourself being the expert at this event on the topic that you know the most about. For example, if you have your degree in sociology, but attend an information technology event, then you might end up meeting an IT specialist who wants or needs to learn more about sociology. Just like that, you have a new contact that you can connect with at a later date.
PRO TIP: make sure you make genuine, long-lasting connections and not just temporary ones that you can use to get something from.
Similarly, webinars are an easy ways to gain specific skills.
Some webinars provide attendees with certificates of completion, which is not only cool, but it also gives you an advantage when applying for jobs. A certificate for completing a seminar is something that you can place on your résumé. Being certified in something says that you have completed all of the requirements and/or exams to be able to perform a certain task. Many employers look for potential employees who have additional knowledge, expertise and certification beyond the norm.
If you do decide to attend a webinar for certification, make sure you check the credentials of the organization before attending the webinar. You want to ensure that the company is legitimate so that your certification is valid.
PRO TIP: check the job description for the job or career that you want to pursue once quarantine ends. See where your skills are lacking in, and then choose seminars or events to register for based on what you need to learn.
Despite what the world thinks of Black youth, you are strong and powerful.
The degree that you hold is not just a piece of paper. In that degree is blood, sweat, and maybe even a few tears. That degree represents your intelligence, persistence, creativity, and ambition. Whether it takes days a few months or a few years, you will get where you need to and want to be. The degree you have is proof that your mind has the power to take you beyond your wildest dreams.
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