Business Career Services is helping students virtually.

Going Virtual with Business Career Services

By Craig Petrus, Director of Business Career Services

The effects of COVID-19 have reshaped how the world does business. It impacts where and how we shop, where and how we spend our work day, and most importantly, how we communicate to our fellow employees and stakeholders. This epidemic has brought us from one-site, in-person meetings and office pop ins to what is now the new normal of virtual communication, programs and services.

Here at the UF Warrington College of Business and our Business Career Services office, we too have had to adjust on how we meet the needs of our customers – from the students who seek out career advice and direction to the employers who recruit them for internships and full-time jobs. We have had to rethink and reshape how we deliver our services to adapt to this new normal. Here is a glimpse of how Business Career Services has approached the world of virtual career services.

Virtual Career Coaching

As summer break and the graduation season approaches, the needs of our students who are still seeking internships and full-time jobs has not changed as a result of COVID-19. Now more than ever, our students still need access to career coaches for such things as career advice, developing job search strategies, resume reviews and mock interviews. So how do we deliver these services when campus office visits are no longer an option? Business Career Services, similar to a lot of businesses, has created a robust online presence via Zoom Video. We know how critical face-to-face interaction between coach and student can be towards their overall career success, and we did not want to lose that. As a result, we made the shift to hosting all of our one-on-one career coaching appointments with our students online via Zoom. We are continuing to utilize our CRM HIREWarrington for student appointment sign-ups, student’s logging to their account, finding their career coach, and reserving their coaching appointment online. Virtual career coaching offers us a great way to stay connected with our students and continue to provide them the personalized career advice that we pride ourselves in delivering.

Just as important as our one-on-one coaching is to our students, our career and professional development workshops that we deliver to large audiences in a live setting is an important part of the career growth of our students as well. Here too we have taken an online and virtual approach and deliver career and professional development webinars to our students via Zoom. Topics presented include “Networking for Success,” “Ace the Internship,” “The Art of the Following Up,” and “Maximizing LinkedIn.” Whether our students are able to join live in the conversation or not, all of these webinars are recorded and offered to student in our resource library within HIREWarrington for future viewing.

Virtual Company Recruiting

Despite the negative effects of COVID-19 on the job market, we continue to work with companies who are either currently hiring for internships or full-time positions, or those companies who normally engage our office in the spring to stay relevant and top of mind in the eyes of our students for future recruiting. Virtual Information Sessions are becoming the new normal on how these employers are engaging our students to promote their career opportunities. These sessions are livestreamed and delivered by the employers themselves and offer a great way for students to continue to interact with these employers through one-on-one Q&A. HIREWarrington continues to be a strong virtual resource for our employers that wish to source and recruit talent from the Warrington College of Business. Here, employers have the ability to download student resume books, conduct specific and targeted candidate searches based upon their desired success profile, along with posting their full-time jobs and internships right from their virtual environment. Employers can even emulate a normal on-campus interview (OCI) schedule virtually and take their interviews online with the assistance of our office. For those companies who wish to engage our students in a less formal way for networking and Q&A conversations, we can offer them Virtual Office Hours, where students can log in to their “virtual office” during designated times scheduled by the employer to conduct meaningful and exploratory career conversations.  

Staying relevant in the Virtual World

With the lack of in-person, on-site interaction that we are normally accustomed to in our work day, it is easy to become lost or irrelevant in this virtual world we find ourselves in today. “Out of sight, out of mind” is something that runs very true in our culture, and something that Business Career Services is trying to avoid among all of our stakeholders. Staying relevant is an important part of maintaining successful job-seeking students, company recruiters, and an informed College. As a result, we have increased the number of times we communicate via email with our stakeholders along with amount of information we are delivering to them. News about virtual career fairs, the latest internship and full-time job postings, and the latest career programs and resources that are being offered as a result of the epidemic are being communicated on a consistent basis to our students. Similarly, we have taken this opportunity to create a “Did you Know…” campaign to our company recruiters that promote our virtual programs and services to this audience, just so that they don’t forget about us either. This campaign runs once a week through direct email and provides them “call to action” opportunities on how to engage our office for sourcing and recruiting their talent. We have taken this campaign a step further and utilized LinkedIn to promote our programs and services to a wider range of potential employers who may be interested in hiring our Business Gators.

As any strong business leader knows, you must adapt to the world around you or you risk losing out on success. The same rings true for our students, employers and our Business Career Services office. We are doing our part to adapt to the world around us to ensure the success of our students and the meet the needs of the employers that recruit them.