Staying Productive and Positive while Social Distancing

During these uncertain times, you do not have to hit pause on your job or internship search. Staying proactive and positive can go a long way to reducing stress and can set you up to be ahead of the game when the dust settles. Here are some tips you can use to prepare for the not-so-distant future:

Set up a time to meet virtually with a Career Consultant

For students and recent graduates, the Center for Career Development is available for both phone and virtual appointments. In these appointments, you can have your résumé critiqued, discuss your career or internship search, explore opportunities, participate in a practice interview, and bounce ideas around. Sometimes uncertainty can lead to paralysis and meeting with one of the coaches can help reduce stress and re-invigorate your career planning.

Continue to apply for jobs or internships

If you listen to the news, you might think that there will be no jobs left after this crisis, but the fact remains that layoffs and hiring freezes are concentrated in a handful of industries. Many employers learned in the 2008 recession that eliminating large swaths of employees led to an inability to catch back up when the economy returned to normal a short time later. There are opportunities available and companies are still interviewing (remotely) and hiring. Now is not the time to put your search on hold. Handshake is a great place to start looking for opportunities posted by companies looking for UConn talent.

Explore certificate or graduate school programs

During times of economic slowdowns and a changing job market, many people take that opportunity to pursue a graduate degree or specialized training. Jumping into one of these programs as a tactic to delay graduation until the economy is up and running again can sometimes be helpful. However, you want to make sure you do your research because sometimes attaining an advanced degree too soon in your career may not be necessary or could make you look like you are “too expensive” to hire for an entry-level position. It can be helpful to do explore some potential occupations and determine if a graduate degree or certificate is helpful at this point in your career.

Grow your network online

If you’ve been meaning to find the time to set up your LinkedIn account, now may be the perfect time to fill out your profile and start connecting with other professionals in your field. As a UConn student or alum, you also have access to Husky Mentor Network, a networking platform where you can connect and interact with other UConn alums eager to help you with résumés, job searching, interview prep, or general career exploration.

Learn a new skill

If you anticipate that you might have free time, you can utilize that time to pick up or refine a new skill. Even ramping up your skills for using virtual communication technology will prove useful in the times ahead. Skills vary by industry and job, but there are many free and inexpensive online tutorials available to allow you to demonstrate your proficiency through small independent projects that you can showcase on your résumé or in an interview. It’s ok to think outside the box and explore a new skill that brings you joy. You may discover a new passion that can open up doors in the future.

Live a healthy lifestyle

If you are a student or a job seeker, you want to keep your focus on the mission at hand, stay organized, and use your time wisely. Blog posts and tips abound for how to set a routine, establish goals, and stay disciplined. You can use some of your time to consider your strengths, skills, and abilities and think about how you can apply those in a new situation.

Times of historic change can be times of personal change and betterment. A healthy diet, exercise, and adequate rest can have a major impact on your outlook. Connect with old friends, strengthen relationships with family members or those you care about. Seek out those with a positive attitude and those who can be a source of moral and emotional support. You are not alone and if you can talk about your situation with others and find a support network, you will likely find several people who are sharing a similar experience to yours. Try your best to be active, take walks, write, meditate, or speak to a medical or mental health professional to help you through this time.

By Eran Peterson
Eran Peterson Assistant Director, Career Coaching and Counseling Eran Peterson