Since transitioning to virtual life in March 2020, Foster Career Services has moved at a rapid pace to adjust accordingly while maintaining a consistent level of support for its students. Given that the team within Foster Career Services historically engages with students, alumni, and employers in person through individual coaching appointments, networking and recruiting events, and interactive workshops, it was a true team effort to adjust Foster Career Services’ programming in order to accommodate the needs of its students while in a virtual world. Additionally, the Fall Recruiting Season that often connects Foster students with a diverse range of employers and their associated internship and full-time job opportunities has quickly evolved to be virtually accessible to students. Fall recruiting is traditionally a process rooted in relationship management and in-person networking conversation, so adapting the experience to fit within a virtual setting was an all-hands-on-deck effort within Foster Career Services that spanned over the course of the summer months.
During the “Foster Career Services Virtual Recruiting Updates” online presentation hosted in August 2020, Andy Rabitoy (Foster Career Services Executive Director) noted that the Virtual Recruiting Landscape would be different from all angles but was “cautiously optimistic” that it would continue to provide positive hiring outcomes among Foster students. Since going virtual during the week of March 9, 2020, Andy Rabitoy noted that there has been a drop in both full-time and internship postings within the University of Washington Handshake system, with business-specific job postings between March and August 2020 being down by approximately 30% in comparison to job and internship posting volume from the year prior. Additionally, Mr. Rabitoy noted business-related internship postings being down 15% in comparison to 2019 positing volume. Since the August online presentation, Foster Career Services has been pleased to find that the number of internship and full-time role postings have gradually increased as we approached the fall recruitment season.
While the change in job and internship postings geared toward Foster students offer a unique set of challenges, Foster Career Services has been encouraged by the heightened amount of employer engagement despite the switch to virtual connection with students. Over the course of summer, employers have shown up in sizable numbers to Employer Town Halls which have been hosted by Foster Career Services’ Employer Relations team and have given employers a chance to stay informed and engaged with Foster. Through feedback received both in formal survey and informal conversation, employers note that there is a heightened level of uncertainty when it comes to hiring needs but are committed to ensuring students stay connected with professional opportunities within their organization. Additionally, employers are committed to ensure that students are connected with full-time roles and internships as soon as they have a better grasp on their hiring needs for the year ahead.
As Foster Career Services looks ahead to the 2020-21 Academic Year, optimism and flexibility prove to be the themes for the coming year. The recruiting and hiring timeline that was once tethered to a specific timeline of application deadlines now appears to be more fluid and ever evolving. As Foster Career Services Executive Director Andy Rabitoy noted during August’s presentation, “adaptability is going to be key” for the virtual recruiting landscape that lies ahead. In addition to being ready to hit the ground running with a strong resume and willingness to take part in professional conversation with employers, Mr. Rabitoy encourages students to pay attention to earlier application deadlines while knowing that some job and internship opportunities will arise later in the year than normal. Ultimately, he encourages students to “actively participate” via employer networking events equipped with a willingness to lead the conversation, a roster of thoughtful questions, and strong attention to details both big and small.
With an ever-evolving year ahead, Foster Career Services encourages its students to connect with a Career Coach to learn more about the virtual recruiting landscape and the ways in which they can successfully navigate toward a role that proves to be a perfect match. To connect with a Foster Career Coach, visit Handshake to make an appointment.
Post Written By: Lucas Ruiz, Undergraduate Career Coach