Job Hunting In A Pandemic

Navigating virtual interviews without being overwhelmed by Zoom fatigue

by Chris Karenbauer

COVID-19 has been a new, difficult and confusing obstacle in our lives. Like everything else, the search for jobs and internships has had to rapidly evolve to meet global conditions. In some ways, interviewing has never been more convenient; instead of a plane ticket, all you need is a stable internet connection. In other ways, though, the job hunt has never been more difficult. However, landing the perfect job or internship is still possible, as long as you take a deep breath and remind yourself of the basics.

The Application Process

Begin applying to as many companies as you can, as soon as you can. If you are unsure when applications open, reach out to the company. You can find contact information on their website.

“The earlier, the better,” says Abby Hintz, a junior Broadcasting, Digital Media and Journalism major at Cedarville University. “There are a lot of applications that open in January for the summer, but most of them open in October and close in January for the following summer.”

Applying early shows potential employers that you are eager to work for them meaning you are more likely to land yourself an interview.

The Interview

The next step is going through the interview process. Many times, interviews are your first in-person impressions to employers. According to Jeffrey Reep, director of Career Services at Cedarville University, it is important to learn proper interview etiquette to make a good impression.

“Preparation is absolutely critical,” Reep said. “Because all college students are short on experience. So, preparation is really important.”

Have rough answers ready for questions. You do not want to be thinking of answers as you are being interviewed.

A good way to be prepared for interviews is scheduling a mock interview, since having to think on the spot in a high pressure environment can be stressful. You can practice in person, online or in real interviews.

Reep said, “I believe every time someone interviews, they get better.”

Zoom Interviews

Interviews via video chat are common during COVID-19. In some ways, it can be less stressful to interview over Zoom or Skype, but proper interviewing etiquette still applies.

Make sure the background is professional. Do not interview in your dorm room. Find a professional-looking area to interview, such as an office or study room. The career center has designated Skype rooms available to be reserved.

Use headphones and a microphone for better sound. Also use a sticky note to cover the view of yourself on the screen so that you are not distracted. 

Reep recommends putting notes with your answers for each question on your computer screen. That way, you are still maintaining “eye contact” with the interviewer. Remember that eye contact, in this case, means looking at the camera, not the screen.

Other Tips

Many internships and job offers were rescinded due to COVID. Reep says to put the job or internship on your resume anyway. A rescinded internship still sets you apart from others who never had one in the first place.

Hintz suggests working with your connections. If you don’t see any offers advertised, you can call the company to make sure there are no offers. Sometimes, companies will give you an offer or make one up if they want you working for them.

Get an account on LinkedIn, a social media platform for people looking for a job. Employers will look at your LinkedIn account to see how experienced you are with your field of interest.

Lastly, take advantage of career fairs. Whether virtually or in person, career fairs are great ways to connect with companies you are interested in. You can speak with representatives from different companies to learn what they are. And that company will be familiar with you as well moving forward.

Chris Karenbauer is a sophomore Journalism major and a writer for Cedars. She loves writing, traveling and reading. Her favorite book series is Harry Potter and favorite movies are the original Star Wars trilogy.

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