PHOTO BY VARSHA SRIGANESH, THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
After the coronavirus became a widespread pandemic, many companies changed the way they hire new employees and operate.
These changes present a different workforce than the one Laurier students were previously preparing for.
The Laurier Career Centre has seen part-time and immediate full-time positions go down in demand, while graduating full-time jobs and summer positions for 2021 have held steady over the last few months. Since many companies have shifted to remote work, most student and graduate positions allow students to work from home.
Second year digital media and journalism student Serena Austin is one of the many students who is adapting to the new career landscape. Luckily, Austin has found that her program continues to effectively keep students informed of upcoming job opportunities and work.
“Because of the program and industry, a lot of it can be done remotely,” said Austin, “I think for students in my area, it would be good to capitalize on it.”
Meanwhile, current co-op students have seen and continue to see changes in the process of securing employment. This year, interviews for admission into the co-op program took place remotely.
Staff and students met mainly through video conferencing platforms through mid-September. Now, many are looking at the possibility of working from home as part of their co-op placement.
Siddhant Kapahi, a fourth year student in the user experience design program, is one of the many co-op students who noticed how collaboration in the workforce has changed during his time as a UX/UI designer at RBC Amplify.
“A lot of what we do involves collaboration and teamwork, and it’s interesting because usually you’d all be in the same room—you’d be able to communicate with each other through different cubicles or your desks,” said Kapahi.
“But with online, you kind of have to make those meetings and schedule those meetings, so it’s interesting because collaborating has become a tad bit harder, but also at the same time, you really don’t have to put that much work into getting feedback and advice—people are usually ready to do that.”
Fortunately, Laurier students looking to adapt to these new changes have access to the Career Centre to get help preparing to enter the workforce.
From workshops on resume writing to one-on-one appointments, the Career Centre offers multiple opportunities to help students develop the jobs searching skills they need to be a strong candidate in the workforce. These sessions help guide students around the challenges of finding and applying to work online, as well as teach them how to network in today’s digital society.
The power of networking is something that Lisa Favero, the manager of employer relations and recruitment at Laurier’s Career Centre, has seen make a huge difference for students seeking employment.
Since online job postings are often flooded with applications, having a strong network plays an important role in securing employment. During this era of remote work, Favero encourages students to reach out to professionals to build their network and learn from others’ experiences.
“Keep in mind that you have a lot of people, like me, working from home where they might have a little bit of extra time to say ‘yeah, I’ll do a five, ten minute conversation—informational interview—with this student,’” she said.
Outside of informational interviews, students can also find networking events on Navigator, the career centre’s website, as well as a job board with opportunities for students posted through the university.
Although the new career landscape may be intimidating, Laurier students still have the opportunities and resources to prepare themselves to enter the workforce.
“It is not a time to despair … if we don’t have hope, what do we have?” said Favero, “We’ve got to stay positive, we’ve got to use the Laurier Career Centre, all the resources are here for you.”