We’re getting to that time of year when cabin fever strikes — and it strikes hard. Winter has yet to let up and being stuck inside is frustrating your job seekers. When this happens, one of two things often occurs. Young job seekers either bury themselves in their search, sending out application after application. Or they get distracted spending most of their free time on their couch binge watching reruns. Neither is a great long-term job search strategy.
As a career services professional, you need to step in and guide them. Balance is hard for students, especially when they can’t go outside to get a break from their studies and job search.
While we wait for spring to come, here are some things career services professionals can do to keep their job seekers on track without overwhelming them:
Sometimes, it’s good to get away and your students deserve a chance to get off campus and relax. Even if your school’s Spring Break is still a ways away, planning a trip will help take students’ minds off their job search.
It’s unlikely your students will bring up their Spring Break plans when you meet with them, so take the time to ask. Let them know it’s not only okay, but a great idea to take a vacation. Help them set boundaries about what they will or won’t do in regards to their search. Have a discussion about:
When job seekers have cabin fever, it helps to have something to look forward to. Maybe there are no opportunities for them right now, but upcoming job fairs or networking events give them something to work toward.
As your students work on tasks like updating their resume or practicing interview responses, tie those activities to actual events. It gives direct meaning to their efforts and keeps things from getting tedious.
For example, say there’s a university job fair in a month. Have job seekers work out a preparation plan. They can identify what companies they’re interested in and start researching what those workplaces are like.
Then they can see who in the alumni network currently works or has worked with the company in the past. Contacting these people before the job fair will arm your students with the information they need to catch target organizations’ eyes.
A bit of variety can do wonders for a young job seeker’s search. There’s a lot of overlap between industries and the skills companies are looking for. It’s possible that your students have been focused on one field when the perfect opportunity is actually in another.
Job seekers might not understand the purpose of such an exercise so you might have to walk them through it. Give them a list of different fields you think might be a good fit and see what speaks to them. It’s completely acceptable to go on gut instinct. If they’ve been focused on healthcare companies but entertainment jumps out of your list, encourage them to start researching.
Then, find some contacts in the new field and set up informational interviews. If things go well, your students can start exploring new entry-level positions. If they decide the new industry isn’t for them, at least they have better peace of mind about their career choices.
Want more career services tips for your students? Pass along our blog piece about using your alumni network effectively!