Darden Alumni Career Coaches Share Insights to Navigate Pandemic-Era Job Market

21 September 2020

By Dave Hendrick

The Armstrong Center for Alumni Career Services at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business recently asked some of its coaches for advice on the current job market, which has taken a number of surprising turns since the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coaches noted the trends they have seen in what Alumni Career Services Executive Director Jen Coleman called a “surprisingly active” job market. While some industries remain hard hit, others, notably tech and health care, are proving especially resilient. Darden career coaches said the ongoing uncertainty make networking and understanding trends in how work gets done especially important.

As Career Coach Stacey Milne (MBA ’87) observed:

For companies that are hiring, many positions are highly competitive (especially in tech), with reports that hiring managers are closing job applications early because they do not have the resources to review all the applications. This makes effective networking in target companies even more critical for job applicants. Another evolving trend is the mindset shift on ways of working, ways of collaborating, views on centralized corporate headquarters and openness to employees working remotely. Outdoor retailer REI recently announced it will be putting its new custom-built HQ campus in Bellevue, Washington, up for sale before it even moves in due to changes in how its staff is working today. It will be interesting to see how this trend evolves and whether it is a short-term reaction or a longer term shift.

In speaking with Darden alums, many are finding success in today’s competitive market with networking approaches, such as leveraging their undergraduate and Darden alumni networks, reconnecting with former colleagues, attending webinars and following up to connect with the webinar presenters, sharing articles on their targeted field on LinkedIn to increase profile views, and expressing flexibility on location and working remotely.

Read more insights on the Alumni Career Services Career Corner blog.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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