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Business recruiters optimistic for job market

May 29, 2020

The numbers are daunting, but optimism remains in the job market for recent college graduates and undergraduates seeking internships.

As of May 28, the United States unemployment rate stood at 23.9% and more than 40 million Americans had filed jobless claims, according to Fortune.

The COVID-19 pandemic has in many ways ravaged the economy, but three college recruiters—two of them University of the Pacific graduates—see reason for optimism.

“Put the numbers on your side, apply to as many places as possible,” said Lindsay Lovett ’04, a college recruiter for Cepheid, a molecular diagnostics firm. “If you are looking for a job, then looking for a job is your full-time job right now. You should be spending six or seven hours a day working at it.”

Lovett, Susan Te ’15 of professional services company Deloitte and Brittany Rodriguez of Bloomberg spoke during a virtual session called “Getting Hired in a Pandemic.” The Eberhardt School of Business and Department of Economics co-sponsored the event.

“Our three panelists recruit at University of the Pacific and other universities and have had to make adjustments,” said Margaret Roberts, Pacific director of employment development and moderator. “They can speak to the impact of the pandemic on the job market for college graduates and students.”

Internships
The three companies have not cut back on internships, but positions have shifted to remote work. Rodriguez said it was a “big adjustment” but Bloomberg was able to maintain its intern numbers.

“Everything from onboarding to training to the work has changed,” she said. “One of the big differences is we are recruiting our interns virtually. But it has worked out well.”

Recruiting and hiring
Trips to recruit at campuses and large-scale recruiting fairs have ended for now. Recruiters said it has been a significant pivot to change the dynamics of their strategies.

“We are similar to a lot of companies in that regard,” Te said. “But we have tried to keep a mix of formal and informal parts of the process. We hold panel discussions with employees and have other virtual interaction.”

“We are not doing campus visits, but in some ways, this has added efficiency to our recruiting,” Lovett said. “I do not think it has had a negative effect. Having to do things virtually is something we all are dealing with, so there is a lot of patience from all involved.”

Job outlook
All three recruiters said their companies’ hiring expectations remain solid. In fact, hiring should increase for Cepheid, Lovett said, noting the company is doing COVID-19 work and research.

Rodriguez and Te said their companies also have not scaled back. “Expectations remain strong at Bloomberg,” Rodriguez said.

Roberts said, as a whole, Pacific graduates’ job offers have “not been rescinded due to the pandemic. We have had some (full-time) hires who have had their start dates pushed back,” she said.

Tips for students seeking jobs

  • Leverage and grow your network: “There are a large number of Pacific alumni and connections who will give you help. Take advantage of their willingness to help,” Te said.
  • Be resilient: “These are difficult times, but resiliency is one of the core competencies we look for in applicants. We look for employees who can adapt to challenges,” Rodriguez said.
  • Follow the economy and job market: “Make it a habit to keep in tune with what is going on in the economy. And think critically about what you are seeing,” Lovett said.
  • Perfect your resumes: “I see hundreds each week. They are becoming more important,” Lovett said.

Pacific's career advisors remain available to help graduates and current students during the summer.

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