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SBU Alumni share their job search experience under COVID-19 

By Fanni Frankl


Despite the undeniable hardship that COVID-19 has cast upon the world, Stony Brook University alumni still continue to thrive.

Due to national closures in many workplaces following COVID-19, recent college graduates struggle to find employment. COVID-19 caused the national unemployment rate to skyrocket from 3.5% in February 2020 to 14.7% in April 2020, but also went back to levels below 9% in nine months. In a recent survey conducted by the job site Handshake, the most common requests career centers receive from students during COVID-19 are help with a job search (31%), followed by help with resume/cover letter (23%), and help with an internship (21%). However, even given this rocky beginning, students are learning to bounce back and acclimate to these new conditions.

New phenomena such as working from home completely revolutionized the labor market around the world, allowing students to apply to jobs that would not have been available pre-COVID-19. Stony Brook University alumni Nathi Magubane was one of those students who found success amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic. He currently works remotely as a communications assistant at NASA SimLabs and finds that in a lot of ways, the virtual alternative is even preferred.

“There are a lot of positives I got from this situation,” he said. “I am able to work for NASA without having set foot on the campus. I was able to attend more career events and speak to more people about my resume and cover letter. The virtual world simplified things for me.”

Stony Brook alumni Nick Sardelli conveyed his belief that while COVID-19 did change the job search process and the job market, his morale is still high.

“I applied to over 100 jobs over a couple of months and received two callbacks and one offer,” he said. “That's about a 1% success rate! I'd imagine that most folks, including myself, would feel discouraged by these statistics. However, in present times, I feel like things are improving across the board in terms of the economic outlook and the job market.”

Sardelli also gave advice to students struggling during this time as well as to those who succeeded in landing jobs.

“To me, that means going above and beyond what's asked of you, learning as much as you can, and not engaging in toxic behaviors such as speaking negatively of others, among other things,” he said. “Finally, keep in touch with the people that helped you get where you are! I know I owe a great deal of gratitude to Marie Parziale, Alumni Career Coach for helping me get to where I am today.” 

Marie Parziale’s drop-in hours are every Friday 10 am to 12 pm, so be sure to register for an appointment with her today!