Distance learning presents new challenges when it comes to making sure your students feel supported. Suddenly an in-person meeting is switched to a virtual setting. Quick conversations about career resources become long email chains. And getting everyone on the same page seems almost impossible.
Braving new technologies and synchronizing schedules is enough to make anyone’s head spin. Add the idea of differentiated learning, and it starts to feel like climbing Mt. Everest! Some students prefer virtual office hours. Others prefer asynchronous learning. And each one of their styles is valid and needs to be honored.
In reality, though, there is a lot you can do as a career counselor to stay connected with your students and ensure they get the information they need.
Here are some quick but powerful career resources you can easily create to ensure students are still getting a valuable learning experience in a virtual setting:
Webinars are a fantastic way to present information about one topic from an expert while allowing time for questions. Think of it as a quick lecture hall experience from the comfort of everyone’s individual living rooms.
Focus the webinar on a specific topic for your students: resume building, interview etiquette, applying for a job, etc. Create a well-organized slide deck to use as a visual aid. Schedule a few weeks in advance so they can plan to attend, and record for anyone who can’t watch it in real time.
New to webinars? Don’t worry about learning a new platform. Use the tools you already have in place for distance learning, such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, or Skype.
Staying organized while job hunting has never been more critical. Spare bedrooms have suddenly become home offices with virtual work and learning settings. Help ease this burden by giving your students quick checklists.
What do they need to prepare (and do) to apply for a job? What should they do while waiting for an interview? What’s important to prepare for the interview? Design worksheets for each stage of the job-hunting process and a checklist for each job application.
Prepare your worksheets and checklists as both editable Word versions and printable PDF versions to meet your students’ needs. This way, they can fill in the information that will change with each job and quickly cross off steps as they complete them.
Infographics can present a lot of information in a way that’s easy to digest. Students can quickly reference back to these resources to check their understanding when it’s most relevant.
Create infographics that coincide with the big questions your students have, such as how to dress for an interview or prepare for a virtual interview. Bring what could have been a stale email or a long document to life with engaging images and a visually appealing format.
Save your students time by creating templates they can quickly customize for their most desired positions. Here are a few template ideas that will help all job seekers: resume, cover letter, and thank-you emails.
Build out these templates so that your students can quickly plug in their own information. And create an exemplar for each of the templates — that way, they can see what the finished product looks like. Upload them in one easy-to-find and even-easier-to-navigate location such as Google Drive.
Be sure to keep any templates and exemplars as “read-only” permissions, so no one accidentally edits the master copies of these career resources. Make them easily downloadable in a format that students can adapt.
Create a library of career resources that your students can quickly reference. Instead of one long recording, record short videos (under five minutes of length) that cover commonly-faced questions at a high-level.
Keep the videos focused and streamlined. Name them directly, so they’re easy to find. And upload them to one location, so students can watch them whenever they need a quick reminder.
No need to recreate the wheel here. Use your students’ questions to drive the content creation of your videos. Think about using a free tool, like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, to learn more about where your students are struggling the most.
Classrooms aren’t the only environment upended in a world gone virtual. Social distancing has changed the way job fairs exist too, and they’re now online.
Simulate the experience with students to help them prepare. Offer best practices for a virtual interview, and allow them to practice in a remote setting.
You don’t need to create an entire online job fair yourself. Have students sign up for virtual job fairs that are already happening, or set up a small mock experience by asking fellow counselors to volunteer their time. Reflect and debrief after the session.
This is a time for all of us to learn together and embrace the new virtual world. Help your students see these new opportunities as a chance to grow and be successful.
Looking for more ways to support your students? Check out these tips for keeping your students motivated and moving forward.
In case you missed it! Check out these first two posts in this valuable career services series: