The Career Center has adjusted its services to prepare students for interviews and job opportunities in the circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The center hosted its spring career fair virtually on Feb. 19 using Handshake, Creighton’s online career management system.

“Between our fall and spring virtual career fairs, the student participation and attendance was actually slightly higher for the virtual career fairs versus traditional in-person career fairs on campus,” Director Jeremy Fisher said.

Fisher said the virtual format gives flexibility for students.

“I think students really like the convenience and ability to schedule conversations with employers,” Fisher said. “I think overall though, most employers miss meeting with our students in person and experiencing that ‘buzz’ and energy that in-person networking brings.

“I think the disadvantage is it may be a little harder to make a stronger first impression online when you are not meeting someone in person,” Fisher said.

Students could sign up for one-on-one or group sessions with any of the 79 employers that signed up to recruit students.

“The biggest impact of the pandemic is all recruiting and interviewing is essentially virtual, especially with video interviews with employers,” Fisher said, “so preparing students for that has been a high priority for the Career Center.”

The Career Center added a “COVID-19 Career Resources page to its website where students can access virtual advising, career webinars, a list of employers who are hiring, remote internship opportunities and resources.”

Fisher said the Career Center has also been helping students prepare for virtual and AI-based interviews as more companies are using those tools to recruit.

The center has a new practice tool called “Big Interview” where students can practice and record virtual interviews on their own.

“The job market has certainly been improving throughout this school year as we are starting to see more and more internship and job postings every day through our Handshake site,” Fisher said.

Senior Peyton Miller in the College of Arts and Sciences has already started looking for a job for after graduation.

“I applied to a number of other places on LinkedIn and Indeed and for the most part didn’t get much traction if I didn’t have an ‘in’ at the company or if they didn’t reach out to me first,” he said.

His current job leads have come from places where he had previously established a mentor-mentee relationship with an employee or connected with a recruiter on LinkedIn.

“I’ve found it more difficult to stand out when I don’t know anyone at a company and I’m just trying to do a remote application process,” Miller said.

Not only does Miller apply for jobs using online job boards, he also uses social media to learn more about the companies he is applying to.

He is applying for financial advising and financial analyst jobs, so researching the company’s investing philosophy has also been important.

“I think they want to see that in their hires, so that’s been one of the biggest things I’ve tried to read up on so I can try to reflect those values in my interview,” he said. “And then also identify where I see myself in the company and what about that company appeals to me.”

The College of Arts and Sciences and the Career Center also hosted another event during career week: Unlimited Opportunities.

“Academic departments invite alumni to participate in a panel format to discuss their careers, networking, and the value of a liberal arts education,” said Lisa Brockhoff, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This is a unique event because every person participating is a Creighton alum.”

Freshmen RSP students are required to attend the events, but upper class students are encouraged to attend and may actually benefit the most, Brockhoff said.

“I hope students get a better understanding of the career development process and get excited about their own journey,” she said. “Career Week exposes students to different careers, which can influence their interests.”

Katt Reed, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences attended the philosophy panel. Reed said a connection she made at an Unlimited Opportunities event her sophomore year led her to apply and intern at Flywheel in Omaha.

“Since that event, I have always gone to Unlimited Opportunities to meet the people who were in my shoes years ago,” she said.

Reed has also started her post-graduation job search and, with the help of a career counselor, hopes to have a signed offer letter by the end of April.

“As someone who is currently in the full-time recruiting process, it was great to hear from people who took the time to figure out what they wanted to do and learn from their stories.”

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