Information for students and alumni during COVID-19
Our socially distanced Careers Service
The sudden closure of businesses and tight social distancing restrictions on the movement of people to try slow down the spread of COVID-19 has had unprecedented effects on employment and businesses activity. This may be causing uncertainty and confusion for students and graduates who are job hunting and/or thinking about their next steps.
As we closely monitor the ongoing situation we are currently offering all one to one appointments and careers events online to help people through this time by providing information, advice, tips and news. Keep coming back to this page for the latest updates.
- We are currently offering one to one appointments online via Microsoft Teams (Office 365), you can book in advance via JobsLive.
- Our online CV feedback facility (My CVs) remains fully operational. To access, log in to JobsLive -> Me -> CVs.
- A range of presentations and workshops are available via Microsoft Teams (Office 365) or similar virtual rooms, you can book via JobsLive.
This page is updated regularly
Frequently asked questions for students/alumni
Job sector news and opportunities
The situation is constantly evolving as the consequences of the pandemic unfold. We are monitoring internships and graduate roles and we are working closely with employers and relevant organisations such as The Institute of Student Employers (ISE) to keep you updated on the latest news via this page and our regular Developing Your Career During COVID-19 online presentations advertised on JobsLive.
Employers hiring interns and graduates are reacting to the situation in different ways with some:
- planning to proceed as normal although inductions may take place online and new starters will initially work from home.
- delaying start dates to later than initially planned.
- decreasing the number of opportunities and/or cancelling some offers.
- actively increasing opportunities (mainly within tech and digital) as demand has grown as a result of the current situation
- unsure of how they will proceed and are reviewing their recruitment needs.
Keep in regular contact with any organisation that you have secured a graduate job or internship with to seek guidance and updates. If you are still looking for an opportunity follow the companies of interest on social media as you may receive alerts and use jobs boards like JobsLive and LinkedIn.
Careers support for current students and graduates
Yes, we're open online and using Microsoft Teams (Office 365) to connect with you! Our current students and recent graduates have access to our full range of services. We host a range presentations, workshops and one-to-one appointments which can be booked via JobsLive.
If you are a student or graduate of the Imperial College Business School, please contact the Imperial College Business School Careers for information about their provision for alumni.
Internships, UROPs and Work Experience
Businesses have had to transition to completely new ways of working in a very short space of time. Many organisations have imposed working from home (WFH) policies and closed their workplace to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This has caused uncertainties and delays in making decisions about summer internships and work opportunities. If you had an opportunity confirmed you should contact the organisation to seek confirmation on whether the opportunity will proceed. Have patience as it may take longer than normal for them to respond and present yourself as flexible and willing to assist where needed.
We're working with employers to explore plans around recruitment and hosting regular Developing Your Career During COVID-19 events (book via JobsLive) where we'll provide updates on the information we receive as the situation develops. Where work places have been closed we know that some companies plan to offer internships to students remotely (i.e. you will work from home and interact through online meetings) but unfortunately we know some have chosen to cancel internships for 2020.
There is good news however as some employers are still posting opportunities on JobsLive and we're hosting regular Creating Your Own Internship sessions (book via JobsLive) to help you make speculative approaches to set up project worker find employment. We're also aware that a number of UROPs will proceed this summer however they may have a different focus than initially agreed and may take place remotely.
What you can do if your internship or graduate job isn't going ahead
We're hosting regular Creating Your Own Internship sessions (book via JobsLive) where you can hear about a range of ways to generate opportunities or you can book a 30 minute Internship Discussions (online) where you can speak to a member of the Placements & Internship Unit about your options (book via JobsLive).
Virtual job opportunities
Many jobs boards are starting to advertise roles which are confirmed as going ahead in the current circumstances. Check out the "resources tab" below for further suggestions.
Not all internship and graduate roles are advertised and the ‘hidden’ job market includes vacancies that employers do not advertise yet still want to fill. A speculative application is an application made to an employer where a job or internship is not publicly advertised but you want to enquire if there is a potential job or internship available.
Consider undertaking a personal project to allow you to develop some new skills, or to provide evidence of skills you have already acquired. Perhaps you could build a website, or start an online tutoring business? Maybe you could found a not-for-profit organisation, or conduct some research in a topic you’re interested in. If you would like support with creating a business plan check out the Imperial Enterprise Lab, who are also working remotely.
You could consider some other temporary work, as there are lots of opportunities for essential workers. While these may not be roles you would normally consider for a summer opportunity, these jobs will develop your skills in an unprecedented time, as well as demonstrate your flexibility and commitment when employers ask you in future how you spent this time.
Learn a new skill
The College provides access to LinkedIn Learning to all students free of charge. You could learn a coding language, take a data science course or learn about marketing. There are also a range of online providers including EdX, FutureLearn, udacity and coursera where you could take a course on finance, intellectual property, human resources or accounting.
Online tests, virtual assessment centres and video interviews
Video interviews and online assessments have become more common in recent years and the social distancing measures imposed in response to COVID-19 has seen an increase in their use. Many organisations were part way through their recruitment activities for internships and graduate roles when face-to-face interactions ceased so they turned to technology to find ways to assess candidates without ever meeting in person.
Assessment centre activities including, group tasks, case studies, presentations and interviews have all moved online. Our application resources could be used to understand the various activities and our online events or 1-2-1 appointments (book via JobsLive) can supplement this to help you prepare and practice. All current students at Imperial also have free access to Shortlist.Me to experience mock video interviews and our team can conduct a mock interview with you .
Specifically we recommend you review resources on:
- Psychometric test including links to practice resources
- Assessment centres including an overview of tasks and formats
- Interviews including typical questions and frameworks for good answers
You could also browse JobsLive for upcoming events on Case Studies, Assessment Centres, and Interviews for further support and attend a one to one appointment (book via JobsLive) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a mock interview.
Developing employability skills and experience during COVID-19
Your academic studies and assessment will probably be your main focus at present however there are many be opportunities to do things alongside your studies. You could research job sectors and occupations and learn new skills to cover any skills gaps you might have identified. Try to think of this as a positive opportunity to study and further develop. It's likely employers may ask you in the future what you did during the pandemic and how you made use of your time.
If you are required to stay at home, for example you have a medical condition, then it is important to follow the relevant advice and shield yourself from the virus. There are lots of ways you can make use of the time to help develop knowledge and skills from the safety of home.
- Develop commercial awareness and job sector knowledge. The College Library provides access to a large range of market and industry information including company profile reports link MarketLine Advantage.
- Access over 10,000 e-learning courses for free through the College subscription to LinkedIn Learning covering business, creative and technology topics.
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provide an affordable (often free) and flexible way to learn news skills and advance your career. There are lots of providers including FutureLearn, edX, UdaCity and Coursera who deliver content from universities around the world. The Open Univeristy also offers a range of free online training.
- Consider starting your own independent project on a topic that could be completed remotely. Your supervisor may be able to provide academic guidance and direction or the Imperial Enterprise Lab may be able to assist with business ventures.
- Work experience has moved online with InsideSherpa offering students learning resources and hypothetical job simulations. Companies including JPMorgan Chase, Citi, KPMG, Deloitte and Linklatters all feature on the platform. It's free to signup but please be mindful of their Data Collection Statement.
If you're able to leave the house there are many roles emerging to support society during the pandemic and recovery. You might consider opportunities such as working in supermarkets and pharmacies, volunteering for the health service, warehouse and distribution roles to name a few. While these jobs could be quite different from what you imagined yourself doing this summer, they will provide you with great skills that employers will look favourably on in the future including customer service skills, which are key to a lot of graduate-level jobs and is highly sought after by many employers. Teamworking, resilience, problems solving, commercial awareness and adapting to change are other skills employers want to see and taking one of these roles during this challenging time will provide examples of your abilities in each of these things. In addition you’ll likely earn money, make new friends and develop new contacts for your network.
Self-employment and freelance work
Lab and workshop skills
With many of our labs and workshops closed you may not have the opportunity to fully develop core skills for your future career. We've been in touch with employers and they know that they will have to support your practical skills development when they hire you so they are looking for evidence that you have acquired a basic knowledge of following protocol, health and safety and some understanding of their area of practical work. In these exceptional times, you can look to develop these skills from reading papers, understanding their business and doing online learning.
One of our Careers Consultants researched into this with employers and published an article on LinkedIn Pulse. We've included a couple of extracts below and you can read the full article on LinkedIn Pulse.
- ‘It comes across well if students are clued up with some of the technical language and challenges involved in whatever the lab/practical activity is’. So reading up and watching videos on processes, discussing them with your personal tutor or other academic/lab staff and having a grasp on what will be expected of you in the lab/workshop as a whole is a good starting point. OpenLearn have a basic lab skills online course. MIT have open course notes covering many subjects covered at Imperial which could help develop practical skills.
- ‘Show initiative. If a candidate came to me and said their project was cancelled due to COVID-19, so they did their own research relevant to my business and could talk about that, I’d be impressed.’ So think about what might be relevant to the role you’re applying to and not just the science. Understanding things like intellectual property, how is the industry regulated, how to apply for grant funding etc. can all support your transferable skills and shows an employer you are engaged and keen to work for them."
Read the full article on LinkedIn Pulse.
Look after yourself and take time to relax
Balancing your academic studies with planning for your future can be exhausting so it's important to schedule time to relax. Watch a film, catch up on a TV series, play a computer game, do some exercise, bake a cake or call a friend; whatever you do to relax make sure you continue to make time for it! While COVID-19 has changed the way we live it is important to adapt to this new normal.
- If you find yourself with more free time our Cultural Resources includes links to theatre productions and virtual tours of art galleries and museums to help make COVID-19 an opportunity to expand your cultural knowledge and gain new interests. A perfect distraction and pretty good for your CV too!
- The College has established Online Connect: A Space For Conversation as it can be good to have the opportunity to talk and connect with others who may be experiencing life in a similar way. Online Connect groups will be facilitated by a Student Counsellor and Study Mentor (Mental Health) and may be particularly helpful at this time.
- The change forced on us by COVID-19 presents challenges and anxiety and it's perfectly natural to feel these emotions. The College has created a Coping with COVID-19 webpage for students to help you look after your health and wellbeing when you are learning remotely. It's certainly worth a look as you're unlikely to focus on planning your future or making successful applications if you're overly stressed.
- There're lots of events being organised by the Imperial College Union including online Yoga classess and virtual book clubs.
- The team from the sports centre have set up a series of online events titled MoveFromHome. This is your one-stop-shop for keeping active at home through various clases and catch-up sessions and they've also curated some relaxation resources too!
- If you're feeling hungry the College catering team have set up the Imperial Recipe Club - a regular series of recipes that are designed to let you try new and interesting cooking adventures!
Working from home effectively
Working from home presents unique challenges. You need to be self motivated, well organised and be prepared for countless hours of video calls. This can prove to be tiring so it's good to establish a routine.
Each tab above contains links to relevant resources and we've provided additional resource links here.
- BBC News uses the experience of students from the last major downturn, 2008, to give advice to current graduates on the job market.
- Bright Network has a range of free online courses such as CV writing, networking and developing your commercial awareness.
- Forage offer free programmes for students to participate in hypothetical job simulations, completing tasks and accessing learning resources. They have worked with a number of companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Citi, KPMG, Deloitte and Linklatters. When signing up to their programmes please be mindful of their Data Collection Statement.
- Forbes have some suggestions about what to do if your internship is cancelled.
- Graduate Recruitment Bureau is operating business as usual with many recruiters still hiring on their platform.
- Handshake have some tips for making a good impression in a virtual job interview.
- NextStepSupport is an industry-wide, collaborative response to the current crisis. Developed in partnership with AGCAS, AHECS, ISE, Student Rooms and ASET, the site is a free, open resource for all students. The site includes hiring updates from employers, virtual and digital events (talks, updates, Q&A, office tours), skills sessions, and content and tools from trusted sources.
- NHS jobs features to help with Coronavirus (COVID-19) related vacancies.
- OpenLearn Create is a free platform where students can access courses to help plan their career such as Just Graduated? What Next?
- Otta is a jobs board for tech firms with confirmed opportunities during COVID-19.
- Prospects have a lot of guidance and tips in response to current circumstances.
- Purdue University Global (Working From Home: 5 Environmental Factors Affecting Your Well-Being) - discusses creating a working environment that minimizes distractions and puts you in the mindset to concentrate.
- TutorNinjas is currently recruiting for more online tutors. They provide a global knowledge-sharing environment covering over 300 subjects and are focused on connecting students with tutors 24/7.