Searching for careers amid COVID-19

The Career Center is working hard to connect students with jobs and internships amid a pandemic.

Students and young alumni searching for internships and careers are facing new challenges amid a pandemic, but the Career Center is there to help each step of the way.

In one recent example, a student contacted the Career Center asking for a professional setting with reliable Wi-Fi for a video interview. As campus was shut down, the Berney Family Welcome Center — where the Career Center is located — wasn’t available.

That’s when Kerri Keller, director of the Career Center, contacted Thomas Lane, vice president for student life, for help. Dr. Lane happened to be in a daily COVID-19 briefing with Jim Parker, director of Lafene Health Center.

“In the midst of his own organized chaos, Jim generously offered use of a conference room in Lafene,” Keller said.

This was one of just 4,000 interviews the Career Center helps facilitate between students and employers each year, and one of almost 28,000 student interactions with the center.

“The Career Center provided me a plethora of valuable professional development opportunities as I prepared to seek full-time employment upon my graduation from K-State,” said Katie Buhler, May 2020 graduate in elementary education. “Participating in mock interviews allowed me to gather practical experience and advice from education professionals about what skills and dispositions they seek in potential job candidates.”

With a goal to connect K-Staters with potential employers and opportunities, the Career Center is working hard alongside students and young alumni on the hunt for jobs and internships.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on K-State students seeking internships and post-graduation opportunities,” Keller said. “After an intense year of recruiting K-State talent through career fairs, online job listings, networking activities and more, many employers have faced difficult decisions about moving forward with their hiring plans, especially summer internships.”

Preliminary reports from the center’s annual “Report Your Job Survey” that was sent to December 2019 and May 2020 graduates suggests that twice as many new graduates are seeking employment compared to the preliminary reports of May 2019.

In response to an “intense need for help,” career advisors are reaching out to students who lost internships and to graduates who report they are still seeking employment.

“It’s not been easy but our Career Center team is really made for these kinds of circumstances — we are very efficient given limited resources, smart at problem-solving, have outstanding teamwork and maintain a positive yet realistic outlook,” Keller said.

The Career Center does this work at no-cost to K-Staters completing their degrees and pursuing their first careers as alumni.

“The Career Center is an invaluable resource for K-State students,” Buhler said. “Your donation makes the Career Center’s resources accessible to all students and expands our network of K-State alumni as students prepare to enter careers with relevant and meaningful professional resources and skills provided by the Career Center.”  

Keller knows the K-State family will let the next generation lean on them for support in all sorts of ways.

“Just as Jim demonstrated, there are so many big and small ways that the K-State community can help our students be in the right place at the right time for a chance to contribute their talent,” Keller said. “We particularly encourage alumni and friends to reach out to the Career Center as you become aware of potential openings, can advocate for recruiting by your company, participate as mentors, assist with networking and more.”

Visit here to learn more about how you can support the K-State Career Center.

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