Hello YSJU undergraduates and postgraduates,
I hope that you are keeping well and safe during these strange and unprecedented times. For those of you who may have read my COVID-19 message on LinkedIn at the start of the lockdown, you’ll be pleased to know that I’m (again!) writing to you from my tiny duck-egg blue bureau in the corner of my living room, still surrounded by empty biscuit packets and a cup of tea, or three.
I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to you, as personally as I can right now, to address that we’re currently facing some real challenges at the moment; especially around the graduate labour market and what the coming months might look or be like. We’ve seen organisations and businesses react in a range of ways to the impact of COVID-19, with many freezing their recruitment processes or temporarily withdrawing summer internships, industrial placements and graduate schemes until there is a clearer idea of what is to follow; but the key word throughout all of this is ‘temporarily’. Life as we currently know it won’t always look like this and, although I’m hopeful that some positive changes will remain – such as the ozone’s self-healing or the overwhelming support and kindness that we have offered each other during this time – we’ll return to being closer to our loved ones, we’ll return to attending gigs, festivals and going on holiday, and we’ll return to pursuing our plans for the future; in both our personal and professional lives.
In the meantime, though, it’s important that we continue to support each other, to remain positive and to remain flexible, especially throughout the next steps of your journey. You may encounter some hurdles or hiccups along the way, or find that the plan you’ve had up until now might need to be put on hold, but it’s important to recognise that ‘career’ is very rarely linear and we’re often faced with difficulty or challenges along the way… but remember, you’re not alone in this and we, both as a careers team and a university, are here to support you through these challenges.
First things first… Careers guidance and support from us is for life. We’re going absolutely nowhere so whether you’d like to discuss your next steps over the coming weeks or months, or you’d like to come back to us down the line to get further guidance with your career, whether you’re a career chaser or a decision maker, we’ll be here.
Secondly, to help you prepare for your next steps, we’re also broadcasting a series of live webinars – delivered both by your lovely careers teams and industry professionals – over the coming weeks. We’ll be covering topics such as effective careers decision-making and goal setting, as well as navigating the professional work environment for when you’ve secured that job.
I’ve included some links below to resources that I think you might find useful:
YSJU LaunchPad YouTube channel
Lots of really useful videos, including application theory, top tips for job interviews, building your confidence and resilience, and tackling impostor syndrome.
‘Ask LaunchPad’ careers podcast
Maintaining good mental health during lockdown, non-linear career paths and practical advice on navigating your career in these strange times.
Ep. 24: ‘What is personal branding?’ with Arianna Botti, General Manager for L’Oreal UK&I, discussing what personal branding is, why it’s important for your career and top tips on developing your own brand.
Ep. 10: ‘Do I really need a LinkedIn profile?’ with May King Tsang, Business Consultant, Social Media Strategist and one of the world’s leading experts on tea! (That reminds me, I’m due another cuppa…)
I hope that my short – or rather, what I intended to be short – message has been useful and has addressed some of your current thoughts or feelings. As both a careers practitioner, and as an alum of York St John University, I’m truly proud of each and every one of you and I’m so very excited to follow your careers in the future.
For now – speak soon, stay safe and keep in touch.
Matt Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Careers Advisor, York St John University