Job Searching While Social Distancing

It is understandable to feel uneasy about your career development during this time of social distancing. Although COVID-19 is affecting the workforce, things are not as different for jobseekers today as you might think.

Platforms like Handshake and LinkedIn are still excellent places to connect with students and professionals in your industry.  Jobs in healthcare, education, online business, and government (just to name a few) are still in demand. Employers are seeking workers with digital literacy skills and people willing to acquire skills for working in virtual environments.

To help you feel confident about navigating the virtual job search, we have prepared the following resources.

How to Approach the Virtual Job Search

Any effective job search involves a plan, persistence and self-care. To develop a plan, consider the components of the job search:

  • determine your interests
  • explore career options
  • set career goals and possible alternatives
  • look for opportunities (e.g., networking, most recent job postings)
  • prepare marketing materials (e.g., résumé, social media profile, cover letter)
  • sell yourself to employers (e.g., interviewing)
  • reflect upon what went well and what could improve

Other important factors when job searching are resilience and persistence.  Staying healthy and positive will give you the energy and perspective to recognize and approach new possibilities.

Career Express
Career Development Guides
Enhance Your Marketable Skills
Cal State LA Handshake Events
Virtual Group Career Advising Hour
Career Coaching by Phone (email

Find Out Who's Hiring

Although job demand is changing rapidly and in ways that we didn’t expect, there are encouraging opportunities. Companies in health care, financial services, online learning and a number of other industries, are seeking new employees. Find out what's out there:

  • Handshake – Employers post openings on Handshake every day(I'm guessing here. How often are there new job openings?). Filter your searches for “remote” work, by location or other interests.
  • Employer Info Sessions ­– This is an opportunity to learn about and connect with employers who are hiring. Find upcoming sessions under “Events” on Handshake.
  • Virtual Career Fairs – Similar to in-person fairs, virtual career fairs host a number of different companies – in online chat rooms. Participants can choose which rooms to access. Check for upcoming fairs under “Events” on Handshake.

Some positions may look different as businesses and institutions move to virtual service delivery. Hundreds of companies provided remote jobs and several operated entirely by remote before the pandemic.  

Micro-internships have also been on the rise.  Micro-internships are short-term, on-demand, remote projects available before and after you graduate.


Networking in the Virtual World

You may be surprised to discover that professionals are interested in advising students.  Professional networking continues to be a best practice when job searching, especially since many jobs are not posted on job boards.

Virtual networking – on sites like LinkedIn and Cal State LA Handshake – is ideal during times of social distancing. Make the most of these resources by:

  • letting your network know you are looking for a job
  • connecting with 2-3 recruiters in your industry
  • posting actively on social media
  • joining online groups in your industry or your hobbies

Setting up a LinkedIn Profile – download PowerPoint
Networking on LinkedIn – download PowerPoint
LinkedIn for Students - video
Cal State LA Handshake Events (virtual LinkedIn workshops)
How do I set up an Informational Interview?
What to Ask in Informational Interviews – download document

Virtual Interviewing

​Virtual interviewing is a common part of job searching today.  It may be done over the phone, through video applications like Skype or Zoom, or could be in the form of a one-way video recording. 

Understanding what to expect and how to prepare for virtual interviews will increase your chances of success. Check out the resources below and feel confident in your next virtual interview!

Phone Interviewing
Tips for a Successful Phone Interview (video)
Zoom/Skype Interviewing
How to prepare for a Skype Interview (video)
How to Make a Good Impression in a Virtual Job Interview (article)
One-way Video Recording Interviewing
11 Tips for Video Interviewing Success (article)

Practice Interviewing

InterviewStream is an excellent tool for conducting mock video interviews. You can customize the questions in your interview; and video record and replay your answers so you can assess how you look and sound.

How to Register for InterviewStream (free courtesy of the Career Center)

  1. On the top right-hand side of the page, click "Create Account."
  2. Verify that it says "Sign Up for California State University Los Angeles" a few lines above the info boxes.
  3. Fill out all of the required information (do NOT use your campus credentials).
  4. Click "Register."

Making the Most of a Remote Internship or Job

Success at the start of any job or internship depends upon these essential areas of job performance: dependability/reliability, punctuality, and quantity/quality of work. Often the skills that affect retention are basic skills (reading, writing, math), thinking skills (creativity, problem-solving, decision-making) and personal qualities (responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, integrity/honesty).

In remote work contexts, you may need to utilize the following skills and others even more:

  • Time management –  set goals as to what you need to achieve each day, prioritize what work comes in and block off time for specific tasks so you can focus on being productive.
  • Communication skills – with interactions taking place in chat fields and emails, objectives, instructions and deadlines must be communicated clearly and concisely.
  • Digital proficiency – the ability to adopt remote communication tools is a primary skill for remote work. Digital proficiency and literacy have been in-demand skills before the pandemic.

The Remote Work Competency Model – Creating Success at Every Stage of Remote Work
Remote Work Dictionary
Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams up for Success – trainings by LinkedIn Learning
Working Remotely: How We Make It Work – tips from Facebook
330 Tools for Remote Work