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UCLA Career Center

Insights and Trends for the UCLA Community

The UCLA Career Center has been working with employers across industries to understand how the impacts of COVID-19 are affecting hiring trends across the globe, especially as it relates to on-campus recruiting. Below you’ll find a summary of insights and trends that we’ve found through our research.

Many students have reached out to us with questions about what COVID-19 means for their job search. They’ve been wondering if they should continue sending out resumes and questioning whether or not companies are still hiring. While it’s true that the coronavirus pandemic has caused significant shifts, students can still effectively navigate career development, secure full-time and internship positions, and continue to pursue their dreams. Here we’ll share how things have changed, what we know about current trends, and how you can begin thinking ahead.

How the Climate Has Changed

Our traditional methods of career development have been disrupted. We are no longer meeting in person with peers, job shadowing, and attending in-person recruitment events. Instead, most of our networking and engagement is now taking place in a remote world. As a result, we’ve seen an increase in the number of virtual fairs, online networking opportunities, and remote job offerings.

We’ve also seen a shift in demand across industries. While some industries are going through hiring freezes, others are expanding. As the climate continues to change, the key is to research how your industry of interest has been affected, and plan a series of parallel paths that will allow for continued progress towards your goals. By having multiple plans running concurrently, you’ll be able to effectively pivot wherever you go.

What UCLA Recruiters are Saying

Despite recent changes, it’s important to highlight that employers are still hiring. A recent UCLA survey of employers found that 80% of companies are still planning to recruit during the Spring. In addition, 82% are interested in connecting with UCLA students via virtual events and information sessions to talk about their companies, potential internships, and full-time work.

Students are encouraged to utilize Handshake to search for these virtual networking opportunities. At the time of the article, there are 9,500+ jobs, 3,000+ internships, and close to 100 career education workshops and info sessions in the system. The Career Center has also increased availability for virtual 1:1 appointments for students who may have questions, concerns, or need to speak with an advisor.

Current Industry Trends

Our survey of employers found that hiring trends are leaning towards industries who are meeting increased demands to help support our country through this pandemic. Healthcare providers, consumer products and services, and tech companies who cater to remote learning and at-home work are all looking to increase their workforce.

In recent weeks, there have been many articles published on this very topic. Sources such as LinkedIn, Forbes, and Candor have been tracking the spikes in hiring to help provide transparency across the market. For students who are actively seeking, these are excellent resources, as many of them are being updated in real-time.

For students who may be concerned about a previously received offer, it’s important to note that many companies are still trying to figure out how COVID-19 will affect their business. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t hiring, they may just be moving at a slower pace. Over half of employers surveyed indicated that they still plan to honor offers that were extended prior to coronavirus, albeit some with adjustments such as virtual work and delayed start dates.

If you have a pending offer, it’s okay to reach out to your recruiter contact directly. If you still have questions or concerns, or if there is a change in your offer, we encourage students to reach out to the Career Center at questions@career.ucla.edu.

Advice for Short Term and Long Term Planning

For students who are wondering if they should still be applying to jobs and internships, the answer is yes! However, it’s important to note that there are many other things that can be done right now to remain productive. While most people equate career development with the job search, working on other aspects of your career such as skill building and networking can ensure both short term and long term success.

Improve Your Digital Brand

Take advantage of this time to polish your digital brand. LinkedIn is a great starting point to begin expanding your online presence. Master the platform by:

  • Building a strong profile and using it as a way to tell your story,
  • Leveraging tools such as the open candidates feature and job alerts, and
  • Connecting with the right people by customizing your feed, reaching out to recruiters, and participating in groups.

Build Your Network

Reach out to alumni and other professionals to learn about their career journeys, experiences, insights into the profession, and advice. Utilize LinkedIn and UCLAOne to locate people to request informational interviews. UCLAOne’s Alumni Mentorship Program also offers Bruins exclusive access to a robust network of alumni who are eager to connect.

Focus on Skill Development

Identify skills that you’d like to develop. Take training courses to enhance your professional and technical skills, take on independent or remote projects, and find opportunities to volunteer virtually on sites such as CatchaFire and Idealist.

Use Handshake for Jobs, Internships, and Everything In-between

It’s true that a complete, updated Handshake profile can get you hired. But it’s also useful for other things. Use Handshake to connect directly with employers, access exclusive Career Center resources, such as Firsthand and Focus2, and find virtual events. The Handshake Student Blog is also being updated regularly with information relevant to your career search right now.

Planning for the Future

The future of hiring is dependent on many factors. And while it’s hard to predict, we do know a few things. We know that there are some industries that will continue to grow as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We also know that, of the UCLA recruiters who aren’t recruiting this Spring, over 40% plan to recruit during Fall (with a strong possibility of virtual recruiting).

As virtual recruiting becomes a more normal part of career development, now is the time for students to prepare. Develop virtual skills, build your networks, and craft your stories so that when the opportunity comes knocking, you’ll be ready.

**This information is based on a survey of UCLA recruiters from March - April 2020. As we continue to gather information from our employers we will continue to share it.