By: Maddy Gun
Upon graduation in May 2020, Haley Klein had high hopes of moving to Chicago and getting a post-graduate internship or a media relations position. Klein graduated with a major in communications and a public relations minor, but her plans were postponed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“All of my interviews were cancelled and everything was put on pause. From there, I really didn’t have anything else going for me, but I wanted to put something on my resume. I ended up getting an unpaid internship in the Chicago area that was conducted remotely. It was a three-month internship in media relations, but due to the pandemic, they were unable to bring me on as a full team member when the internship finished,” said Klein.
Randi Martinez, career consultant for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, has seen many students in similar situations to Klein. Martinez said that many of the industries that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic are those that most of the students in the College of ComArts pursue, such as entertainment, sports, fashion, etc. As a result, Martinez talks to students about focusing on what they can control right now.
“Although there might not be a job immediately, I try to help students think of what else they could be doing to help them prepare for when the job market improves. We recommend that students start building their professional network and do a self-assessment on their skills. By building a network now, when an opportunity arises, they have already turned a stranger into an advocate,” said Martinez.
After her internship, Klein continued her job search. While searching, she also enrolled in some learning courses to enhance her skills, as well as expand her network.
“I’ve tried to better myself in ways like taking LinkedIn learning courses so if someone asks me what I have done during this time, I can say I have been taking courses in Excel, learned Pivot Tables, etc. I have also been sure to reach out to people. Never be afraid to send an email or message someone on LinkedIn, as most of the time, people are willing to help,” said Klein.
Martinez is still optimistic about what the job search will look like within the next few months. She says that opportunity does still exist, it may just be delayed.