Career Design and Development Keeps Students on Track Virtually

Emily Barrett, assistant director of communications
career development inside track
The Office of Career Design and Development is committed to helping students find and stay on the career path that's right for them through virtual support.

While the Coronavirus has caused changes to the way Widener operates, it has not altered the university’s commitment to student success. The community was able to quickly regroup and provide a new sense of normalcy through virtual learning and working.

Traditional campus support services, such as career preparation, joined academic projects and classes in online delivery. At a time with growing uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, the Office of Career Design and Development has not waivered in its commitment and its mission.

The office is offering virtual engagement options to ensure students find their paths and stay on track to reach their career goals. 

“While we can’t control the job market, what is within our control is making sure that students feel supported, cared about, and connected,” said Janet Long, executive director of Career Design and Development.

From job and internship search workshops and resume clinics, to virtual walk-in hours and career counselor appointments, Career Design and Development is positioned to continue professional support and event programming for students from any location.

While a majority of the career-focused events are designed to offer meaningful face-to-face interactions between students and employers, moving these conversations online has presented unexpected learning opportunities.

According to Long, events like Mock Madness, a job interview preparedness program, “will mimic what actually happens in the entry-level job marketplace, even when there is not a pandemic.”

For a first screening, an employer might conduct an interview by Zoom or by phone, so in a way we’re preparing them for that world. — Janet Long, executive director

In addition to exploring career options through virtual events, undergraduates and graduates can continue to connect with the department’s robust tools and technologies, such as Handshake and Big Interview, to maintain a competitive edge in the job and internship markets.

While career counseling services are available to all students throughout the year, circumstances presented by the Coronavirus underscore the need for additional support for graduating students.

“Where we’re seeing a huge need right now, even greater than usual, is to support our seniors who are graduating,” Long said.

And the office is committed to giving them the assistance they need. Through collaboration with campus and industry partners, Career Design and Development will develop additional digital resources and options for seniors to further support networking relationships between alumni and recruiters in different fields of interest. 

As the full extent of the Coronavirus’ impact continues to unfold, Long and her team are taking a proactive approach anticipating changes in the job market, to ensure all students are equipped with the proper tools and skills moving forward.

“We are talking with employers and trying to get a sense of what their predictions are both for the upcoming co-op cycle in the fall and their hiring in general.”

Whether students have a pre-existing relationship with one of the department’s expert career counselors or are reaching out for the first time this semester, the Career Design and Development team shares the university’s commitment to overcome unprecedented disruptions and ensure that students have the tools and support they need to reach personal and professional goals.

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