Career Services Series (Part 4): Guidance for College Students Seeking Employment During COVID-19 

May 6, 2020

By Connie Harrington, Associate Director of Career Development & Employer Relations 

Last week in Part 3 of the Career Services Series: Guidance for College Students Seeking Employment During COVID-19, we addressed how to network virtually and effectively utilize your professional brand to interact with employers.  In Part 2 of the series we covered professional job search materials and how you communicate your message as part of developing your professional brand. One of the basic components of professional branding is the resume.  Part 1 of the series covered the importance of a good resume format as the key to getting your resume noticed.  Part 4  the last segment of our series, will cover virtual interviewing techniques.  

Virtual interviewing has been used to screen candidates for years. With the COVID-19 restrictions, this process has extended to the entire interview process. For the interviewee, this makes interviewing easier since you can have documents you normally don’t have “cheat sheets”, there to assist you (i.e. your resume, the job posting, and notes). Just make sure you are not reading off of them.  

Part 4 – Interviewing Techniques 

Virtual interview tips: 

  • Set up your room in advance and make sure you have appropriate lighting. 
  • Don’t have anything distracting in the view like pictures, people, animals, etc. 
  • Eye contact is still important so be sure you are looking at the screen 
  • Dress professionally, you should dress as if you were going in person even if only the top of you is showing in the video because if you have to get up for something, you will be appropriately dressed. 

Success depends on: 

1. Knowing yourself  

  • How well do you fit the job description? 
  • Can you articulate what your strengths are? And give evidence or examples. 
  • What skills, abilities, and qualities will benefit the organization? 
  • Why are you the best fit for the job and the organization? 
  • What makes you stand out? How are different? Unique? What is your value? 
  • Project confidence and authenticity 

2. Research  

  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the company’s business issues and how you can positively impact those issues 
  • Job description – match your skills and interest 
  • Organization- check their website, on Google and LinkedIn to find information like size,  location(s), number of employers and product or service 
  • Industry – know the characteristics and competitors 

3. Prepare and practice 

  • Review list of commonly asked questions 
  • Answer questions using the STARS Method 

4. Situation - describe problem, circumstances 

5. Task - what did you need to accomplish? 

6. Action - What did you do?  Specific actions taken. 

7. Results - What happened, outcome, benefits, impact, what did you learn?  

  • Practice – orally, in front of a mirror, mock interview 
  • Question types 
  • Traditional 
  • Behavioral  
  • Problem solving/Situational  

8. Follow-up 

  • Keep an interview log 
  • Evaluate your performance 
  • Check back 
  • Send thank you letter 

9. Sell yourself 

  • Present your compatibility with future colleagues 
  • Articulate your problem-solving ability 
  • Differentiate yourself from other qualified candidates 

Assistance, additional information, and resources are available at Career Services. You can schedule meetings via email at, Symplicity at phone at 240-965-2494, but all meeting will be held via Zoom. You will need to sign into Zoom to join the meeting and will be placed in a waiting room for me to begin the meeting. 

These Step by Step Resume Resources are great in getting get you started:  

This concludes the Career Services Series: Guidance for College Students Seeking Employment During COVID-19. I hope you found the information and resources informative and helpful in conducting a productive virtual job search and provided confidence that the employers in your industry/occupation have adjusted to accommodate their operational needs and continue to hire. Please contact Career Services for additional guidance and support in working through the career management process.