Patience and Persistence

By Susan Sandberg for the PSA Career Community

While we adjust to a fluid, ever-changing news environment, and our new virtual worlds, there are matters still within our control.  We acknowledge the fears and uncertainty that come from feeling cut off from our peers and our usual routines.  It is true, however, that every crisis provides the opportunity to use creativity in exploring new resources to continue educational and career goals.  In the O’Neill Career Hub, your consultants are online with advising services.  We are turning cancellations into virtual workshops.  Job and internship opportunities, as we hear about them, continue to be posted on the Career Hub website where you can also make virtual appointments with consultants and peer educators.  The O’Neill Career Hub is here working to support you, and resources already exist on our website that you might take the time to explore.

What we will need as we manage this healthcare and economic crisis is patience and persistence.  Please keep in mind that many employers and internship hosts are also adjusting to their new virtual realities, and it may take more time to connect with them as you negotiate your job applications and internship status.  They certainly will appreciate your consideration as they juggle multiple challenges.  We encourage you to keep in touch with them as circumstances change but also realize your needs may not rise to the top of their priorities in the coming weeks.   In times of crisis, communications will obviously be slower.  Employers are still hiring, and many internships are going virtual, so be patient and professional, but also keep going with your searches.  Patience and persistence!

With time available, use that wisely to think of ways you can stand out, set yourself apart, and build new skills while you prepare for internships and job searches.  As there is a great need in all communities, you might look for safe ways to volunteer in order to be of service and to expand your experiences and skillsets.  Helping organizations and social service agencies are struggling and may welcome your technical assistance in social media and messaging.  Retail or restaurant businesses that are forced to lay off service workers may be putting employees to work in different capacities deep cleaning their facilities or offering pick-up and delivery services.  Food pantries and shelter operations need donations and fundraising drives to meet growing community needs.  Services to the elderly, like Meals on Wheels, may be in dire need of drivers as many of their volunteers are older and unable to put themselves at risk.  Look around your communities and see where there are opportunities to be of service in times of growing need.

Many students are taking advantage of learning tutorials or webinars to increase technical skills.  These can include training on improving online interviewing skills or how to promote your virtual skills to employers in need of this expertise.  Students can use this time to update social profiles, fine-tune resumes and application materials like writing samples and successful projects to include in your LinkedIn portfolio.  This would be a good time to seek additional professional testimonials to include on LinkedIn or communicate with those providing you with letters of reference.  Your goal is always to stand out as a competitive candidate for jobs and internships, and in these difficult times, that goal will be even more critical.  Make sure your applications are letter-perfect, detailed, and filled with examples of your academic and work experiences that make you the best choice.  Use this time to look for more opportunities to gain valuable experience and confidence in your professional skills.

And last but certainly not least, remember the importance of self-care.  As our Mayor reminds us in the City of Bloomington, “We are in a marathon, not a sprint.”  To prepare for the long-haul and maintain your stamina in the job and internship searches ahead, please be mindful of your emotional and physical health.  Good health habits are always important, but now more than ever.  Make sure you are getting adequate sleep, good nutrition, regular exercise and try to spend time outside enjoying nature and fresh air.  We see a lot of creativity on social media in how people are finding ways to connect virtually and ease feelings of isolation and loneliness.  Balcony concerts are taking place all across the world and home recordings of music and family life show up on social media.   Many are catching up on their pleasure reading or enjoying the offerings on TV, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.  Whatever you need to recharge your batteries in draining times, allow time to incorporate those activities in your day.   Reach out to others who may need a friendly chat to offer assurance that we will get through this together, with patience and persistence.


By Susan Sandberg
Susan Sandberg Career Consultant