Queally Center in the snow

UR focuses on remote tech to help Spiders job hunt

December 22, 2020

University News

As the Coronavirus pandemic shakes up the business world, Spiders looking to secure employment and internships face daunting challenges. In response, UR Career Services quickly adjusted to help both students and alumni deal with an uncertain job environment.

Career advisors are helping job seekers work through rescinded offers and layoffs and are reaching out to Richmond’s wide network of alumni, employers, and parents to assist with career education, recruitment, and finding open positions. 

“Career Services definitely supported me throughout the job search process,” said UR senior Gianna Dowd, a business administration major with a dance minor. “I had multiple conversations with advisors to talk through my thought processes and get access to resources that would be beneficial given the current situation.” One of those resources was InterviewStream, video software that allowed Dowd to conduct practice virtual interviews.

“Looking for work during the pandemic has been chaotic, but it has also allowed me to be open to a broader range of opportunities,” Dowd said. She recently accepted an offer as a sales development representative at Box, the cloud storage provider. 


Virtual — as well as in-person — internships, onboarding, and team projects will expand, which is a good thing.
headshot of Denise Dwight Smith
Denise Dwight Smith

Assistant vice president for Alumni and Career Services

“Students and alumni may have to redirect their job search to industries that are hiring and spend more time figuring out how to network virtually,” said Beth Chancy, associate director for Career Services. “Working with an advisor to strategize a plan will help students and alums with the stress of the job hunt, as it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the search.”

Realizing that some are suffering from Zoom fatigue, the office has also developed microlearning opportunities through recorded content on Blackboard and YouTube pages that can be viewed when convenient. An email series was sent to all current students and the class of 2020 throughout the summer that packaged all of the helpful information and available resources.  

Despite the pandemic, this summer nearly 400 students participated in The Richmond Guarantee, which provides undergraduate students funding up to $4,000 for a summer internship or faculty-mentored research opportunity. 

Denise Dwight Smith, assistant vice president for Alumni and Career Services, said she’s seen opportunities for students to learn and grow during the pandemic. 

“Spiders are still engaging in career preparation and are concerned about getting experience,” Smith said. “This focus, and lived COVID-19 experiences, will position them well. Being at an institution that values their well-being, provides personalized attention and care — even from alumni — and is located in RVA at this point in our nation divided and struggling for civil discourse, will each serve as important learning and success factors.”

Smith said she expects that some of the reliance on remote technology in hiring will continue after the pandemic.

“I think virtual — as well as in-person — internships, onboarding, and team projects will expand, which is a good thing,” Smith said. “Gen Z tech savvy is being appreciated now and will be of even greater value in the next few years.”