Services available to help students and alumni secure a job in the pandemic


Shakailah Heard, Correspondent

STATESBORO — Students and alumni may have concerns about getting a job after graduation, but the Office of Career and Professional Development at Georgia Southern University has a solution.

“I would really like students to know that it’s a myth that employers are not hiring right now,” Glenn Gibney, the director of career and professional development at Georgia Southern University, said. “They are hiring, but they’re hiring in a different way, and you need to become proficient in the job search in a virtual environment.”

Gibney said that the basics of finding a job in the pandemic are the same that they’ve been before. The student needs a strong resume that should be specific to the job being applied for. Also, the student needs to know how to interview well.

Interview Stream is a service available on the Office of Career and Professional Development website that allows students to practice a remote interview and play it back to see exactly what needs to be improved.

It is important to be aware of the surrounding environment, make sure it is professional, dress professionally and be aware of background noise when participating in a virtual meeting, according to Gibney.

The Office of Career and Professional Development also has an online platform called Handshake where employers will post jobs, and students and alumni can upload a resume and portfolio. After uploading the documents, Handshake matches students with possible jobs.

“When I talk to students about how to find a job, it’s really all about number one, finding out where you want to work and who you want to work for,” Gibney said. “Then you begin to sort of spend time and learn about that company. Who do you know there? How can you network with those folks at the company?”

Career Shift is another service that the Office of Career and Professional Development offers. It will display the names, addresses and even the emails of employees at a specific job.

About 60 to 70 percent of jobs are found through networking. Probably 95 percent of employers use LinkedIn, and the Office of Career and Professional Development can help build one, according to Gibney.

Blakeley Bartee is a Georgia Southern alumna who graduated in May 2020 with majors in writing & linguistics and multimedia journalism. She is now a reporter for the Aiken Standard.

“I feel like I got lucky and I had the benefit of having a lot of experience from college,” Bartee said. “Both from student media and internships, so I feel like I was just really well prepared to look for a job. I guess all I can say is to keep trying and use what connections you have, ask around, it’s tough out here.”

Bartee said she applied through an online application and the employers reached out to her over the phone. Bartee also went in person to the location she would be potentially working at while wearing a mask and staying socially distant.

“I had just a short amount of time to graduate and find a job and go out on my own,” Bartee said. “So it was a little bit stressful knowing that it might be more difficult because of the pandemic.”

The Office of Career and Professional Development offers resources to other alumni that feel the same way Bartee felt after graduating.

“Our office is increasing our support for alumni in the job search, right now,” Gibney said. “We have built a very strong relationship with the Office of Alumni Relations and so if you are a graduate and you are out for a year, or five years or ten years, you can contact us and we will give you the same level of support as if you were a student.”