Career Center still working to get students work

The+Career+Center+is+a+resource+that+can+help+students+find+internships.+It%E2%80%99s+located+on+the+3rd+floor+of+the+PUB+next+to+the+Multicultural+Center.+

Drew Lawson

The Career Center is a resource that can help students find internships. It’s located on the 3rd floor of the PUB next to the Multicultural Center.

By Aaron Hutchinson, Reporter

As unemployment claims in the U.S. continue to rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EWU’s Career Center has moved to a virtual environment in order to keep providing services to EWU students and alumni.

“The Career Center is one of the departments on campus that spearheaded the transition to virtual service,” said Rachel Wondimu, a supervisor in the Career Center. “We are still able to accommodate our students with all of their professional development needs.”

The Career Center can help EWU students pick majors and explore future career options, write resumes, complete graduate school applications and prepare for interviews. They also provide tips and tricks for job and internship searches, building professional networks and salary negotiation. 

“The Career Center is not a placement service,” said Wondimu. “Our goal is to prepare all current and future Eagles for lifelong professional development.”

Due to the COVID-19 virus, all services are conducted virtually, something that hasn’t affected the Career Center too drastically, according to Wondimu. Appointments can now be conducted over the phone, Zoom or email. Other virtual development events are also planned.

“We have various virtual workshops throughout the spring quarter designated to helping students navigate through current challenges,” – Rachel Wondimu, Career Center Supervisor

Some of the current challenges include the shutdown of non-essential businesses and services. Unemployment rates in Washington have risen to 5.1%, the highest since 2016, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. The WSESD is also preparing to process almost a 1 million jobless claims a week for the foreseeable future.

Aside from the lack of jobs in certain fields, the lack of ability to get hands-on experience may hinder job-seekers.

“[T]here are many students who need in-person opportunities to gain experience for their fields,” said Wondimu. “Whether it’s a dental hygiene student who needs to have a specific number of clinical hours to get licensed or a freshman or sophomore who want to explore potential careers with job shadowing or informational interviews.”

Another challenge is the overwhelming nature of the job market right now. Wondimu suggests students and alumni having trouble finding work contact the Career Center to help alleviate some of the stress.

“Many people are feeling similar mental or emotional challenges,” said Wondimu, “but because we are separated it makes us feel even more alone. That’s why reaching out to a Career Counselor about your professional experience can be so helpful.”

Photo by Karissa Berg
Career Services office is located in room 114 in Showalter Hall. They can help you with job applications, internships, career counseling, and resume and cover letter review.

Job-seekers who can adapt to the changing environment will also have an advantage, according to Wondimu.

“[F]lexibility, dependability, and the ability to learn new technology quickly are key traits employers emphasize,” said Wondimu. “Are you comfortable using Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Drive and Microsoft Office products?” 

If not, Wondimu said resources like the Career Center, as well as professional websites like LinkedIn Learning, are available to EWU students to help.

Patience will also help job-seekers due to the uncertainty of the current situation.

“The pandemic is still actively happening and the economic fallout from that is ever-changing,” said Wondimu. “Ultimately, the biggest challenge is one where we are experiencing a once-in-a-generation crisis.”

Wondimu wants students to stay positive and know that they have support.

“We understand how hard things are professionally at this time,” said Wondimu, “and we are here to support [the students].”