Coronavirus FAQs

We know that this is a particularly challenging time for many students and graduates, and many of you have come to us with your questions and concerns. Please find below our answers to some of the questions you’ve been putting to us. 


The graduate job market

What impact will coronavirus have on my job search?

The majority of employers who offer graduate training programmes have made it clear that they intend continuing with recruitment activities next year, though are not yet able to confirm hiring numbers.  Realistically, we anticipate a drop for certain sectors, while it’s clear that opportunities are likely to open up in others. This means it could be a good time to reassess your plans, make sure you stay in touch with what’s going on in the job market, think about the sectors that are likely to grow in light of COVID-19, if there are opportunities and options of interest that you had not previously considered. We talk often about having a back-up plan – while it is perfectly reasonable to continue to explore opportunities you’ve already identified; it also makes sense to consider alternatives at this point.

If you already have professional experience, keeping abreast of what’s going on in the sectors of interest and the plans of individual employers is very important – as is your willingness to consider adapting your own plans to the realities of a developing situation. Be ready to fully leverage your existing skills and experience, so ensure you understand clearly their value to a given employer. Using this time to build your professional network will be very beneficial.

Can I still find a summer internship?

Most large employers have closed recruitment for summer internship programmes. Ad hoc opportunities continue to be advertised, so it is certainly worth continuing to review CareerHub and other job sites – as well as reaching out to individual employers.

We continue to see opportunities for remote working, so it can be a good time to consider what specific skills and experience you can bring and where you could add value, perhaps on specific projects.

I'm either not hearing back from employers or getting rejections. Any advice on keeping motivated?

We appreciate it can be tough to pick yourself up, and conditions are particularly challenging at the moment. In an already competitive environment, it’s worth keeping in mind that rejection is actually the norm – 80% of applications fall at the first stage. Two concrete, practical actions to help keep you on track include reviewing your applications and job search strategy with a careers consultant and building a support network. This blog on managing career uncertainty has useful tips for staying positive. Look out for our summer programme webinars on career resilience.

 
The graduate job market/Communicating with employers

How do I reach out to employers? Is it a good idea to make speculative applications?

It’s probably a good idea to do a bit of research to understand the situation of any employer you are interested in – it’s important to be sensitive to the challenges that organisations are currently facing. If you wish to make a speculative application, be very clear and concrete about the skills you bring, what you are able to do and your interest in that specific organisation. If you can have a conversation with someone working there before you make any application, all the better. 


Making applications

Should I still apply for internships/graduate jobs?

Yes! If you’ve seen a job advertised on CareerHub or elsewhere and an employer is clearly still hiring, if it’s a role you’re interested in and you meet the criteria then, yes, you should go ahead and apply. Many employers emphasise that they will be continuing recruiting activities in the months ahead.


Job search strategy

Is it appropriate to message new people to build networks? How might these requests be received?

Absolutely! Building and maintaining a network can be a vital tool in your job search and career planning, helping you uncover possible opportunities, find out about different career areas and understand how you fit. 

You can use LinkedIn to connect with LSE’s very supportive alumni community.  Based all over the world, you’ll find that many will be very happy to share their professional experiences with you, offer advice and insights into different sectors and organizations even if they are not currently hiring. 

When do you think will be a good time to start actively looking for jobs again?

This is clearly a very personal decision and depends on your own study and other commitments. Employers are still recruiting, even if we may be seeing a reduction in the number of advertised jobs. Remember too that many opportunities, often in smaller companies and particular sectors, are sourced through speculative approaches. Now’s a good time to research sectors and companies and to start that all important process of networking. That way you’ll be best placed to hear about roles as and when they become available.


Options and alternatives/Making the most of your time 

What can I do to make the most of my summer?

However things develop, there will be lots of ways of making good use of summer months and we’ll be offering advice and support over the coming weeks through our newsletter, website, blog posts, online sessions and one to one appointments, giving practical suggestions, whether your focus is career planning, earning some money or getting experience and developing useful skills. 

Do you have any suggestions on finding remote work?

Reflect on your skills and think creatively about where you can contribute at this specific time. Do you have coding, data science or web design skills? What about online tutoring, translation or language training? Market research, data entry and website reviews can also be done from home.

If you have specific skills and interests, spend some time researching who is doing work in that area and consider reaching out to them directly, making clear what kind of support you can offer.


International recruitment  

What will happen with my student visa and will I still be able to work?

Our ISVAT team here at LSE has put together a list of FAQs covering visa questions, including advice on visa and internships and Tier 2 based on current Home Office advice.

As an international student struggling to find a job in the current crisis, should I just return home?

If or when you return home is a very personal decision and obviously ultimately up to you. Have a think about your circumstances and revisit your motivations for staying in the UK.  Be honest with yourself.  Is securing a tier 2 visa unlikely? Do you have a backup plan? If your focus is building experience, what about an internship or other short-term position? Are there other places you could start your career?  Could a return to the UK be an option at a later point? While we can't make the decision for you, talking things through with a careers consultant can help you get clarity.


Online recruitment processes
 

How should I best prepare for an online Skype or other video interview?

You can set up and record your own VI using Interview Stream or have a go at answering some pre-set practice interview questions typical to roles in a range of different sectors. Just trying something as simple as using your phone to record answers and playing them back can really help improve your technique. Do read our blog on VIs which goes into a bit more detail.

How can I prepare for a virtual assessment centres?

Virtual assessment centres, like their face to face counterparts, are a mix of individual exercises, group work and interviews. If you are invited to attend a virtual assessment centre, you will receive clear information on what to expect. Prepare as you would for any assessment centre, making sure you’ve thought carefully about why you’re interested in this role, this employer, how your skills fit your application, make sure your virtual environment is conducive, your tech is working and there will be no distractions. Approach things just as though you were attending in person. Be friendly and engaging – and avoid reading from notes! 

How do virtual in-tray exercises work?

You’re likely to be presented with a set of information and asked to prioritise a number of activities; this might take the form of a pre-recorded, timed activity, or take place in real time where an assessor shares their screen with you and feeds information to you while you complete the task.


Further study
 

Given the likely job market situation, is now a good time to consider doing a master’s?

Studying for a master’s degree is always a big decision, not something to rush into, so it’s important to make sure you reflect carefully before deciding if it’s right for you. Do you have a genuine interest in the topic? Will it help you achieve your personal and professional goals? Are you ready to really commit to another year of study?

Remember, there are other ways to develop skills and experience so consider the alternatives: short courses, work experience, internships and volunteering opportunities. Make an appointment with a careers consultant to talk through your options and thoughts.  


Remote working
 

How do you make the most of virtual work experience?

While the set up may differ from an office-based experience, much of our advice remains the same. Do your research, dress professionally, show enthusiasm, ask questions, make suggestions, get involved. Take this opportunity to get to know your colleagues and the business; reach out to people and speak to them, take part in informal events, even when they’re virtual. Make sure you follow up to thank those you’ve worked with or who’ve taken the time to help you in any way. Afterwards, reflect carefully on the experience and what you’ve learned. 

 

Other sources of information

Are there any other sources of support or advice you recommend?

NextStepSupport is an open collaboration between a number of organisations that provide support and services to students and recent graduates. You’ll find some useful employer updates, careers and advice and information advice, and links to virtual events.

 

Last updated: 26 May 2020

Feel free to get in touch with any of your careers related questions. Remember that our inbox is checked regularly (careers@lse.ac.uk) if you'd like to send your questions through, or drop us a message @lsecareers.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll provide regular updates and suggestions on how you can make good use of this time via our newsletterblog and social media.

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