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Career Readiness Resources during COVID-19

With these ever-changing times, you may find yourself wondering what to do next when it comes to your career or securing a graduate or professional school option. Our staff continues working remotely and we are eager to assist you. 


How can I connect with my PCDS Liaison during remote learning?

Professional & Career Development Services is providing services virtually. You can schedule phone, video or email consultations. You simply need to select the appropriate delivery method when scheduling through Handshake or Starfish. We are happy to serve as a resource in any way we can.  The best way to reach the PCDS team is via email or through TEAMS. 

Chrystal Stanley, Liaison to A&S

Annette Watson, Liaison CBPA and SJMC 

Leah Berte, Liaison to CPHS and SOE

Additional support through SJMC

Carlyn Crowe

How can I look for jobs/internships during COVID-19?

Many companies are still hiring, but please be aware the hiring process may be delayed and more than likely may be a virtual experience.  You can contact the employer to check on the status of a submitted application if no update has been provided. Carve out time to dedicate to your job/internship search.  Make sure your resume, cover letter and social media profiles are updated.  Find out what industries have the most need.  

Handshake – a comprehensive system providing both students access to employment opportunities, scheduling on-campus interviews and company profiles.  To Log into Handshake (, then click on Handshake logo, use Single Sign On login). Complete your student profile in order to maximize employers finding you in their search. Click on Jobs then narrow search by entering keywords, companies or even “remote” or click on Employers to learn more and to follow to be notified about openings. 

Check out the Handshake blog for more tips: 

500 Companies Hiring on Handshake Right Now: 

Candor ( – Status of companies hiring or that have hiring freezes 

The Muse (

LinkedIn article: 

What sites are best for job/internship searches? - This is for all majors and includes tools, resources and local listings - This is for all majors and has reviews, ratings and some sample interviews questions - This is one of the top sites and you can upload your resume, get job alerts - This one incorporates technology based on your job preferences
LinkedIn – You can search for jobs or go to the companies you are interested in to see open position. Use hashtags to help search like #NowHiring or #GetHired. - These are aimed for current students and recent graduates in a variety of fields.

Chegg – Internships and career advice - Variety of job openings listed - Variety of job openings listed - For Public Relations positions. - Students seeking positions with the federal government - Students seeking teaching positions K – 12. - Search for remote and project based positions

CVS and Walgreens have announced hiring needs for Pharmacy and Health Sciences related majors

Major Specific - These are typically positions that are more tech – related. - These are for roles in Pharmacy - These positions are focused in natural parks, ranches and have internships/jobs.

Search professional association websites’ job boards
Search company websites. 


How can I effectively network remotely?

1. Update your LinkedIn account, research companies and groups that are of interest to you. Click here for tips for creating a stellar profile.

a. Join LinkedIn groups

b. Send customized messages to companies/people that you would like to connect with

2. Connect with alumni groups on Facebook/instagram, especially if you’re a senior. There are often alumni groups for specific geographical areas such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Texas, etc.

a. Reach out to your Career Coordinator if you are searching in specific areas and we will do our best to assist you.

3. Volunteer. If you’re able at companies you’re interested in and/or companies that you could value to and/or gain skills.

4. Attend virtual events, fairs, webinars that are available to you with employers. Ask questions, be actively engaged when you’re able to with those events.

5. Explore Reddit. Reddit offers topics and advice on everything including job searches, networking, working remotely, side hustles and any other topic you are interested in. Keep in mind Reddit is used by all.


How can I find a remote job/internship?

The following job boards specialize in remote jobs and internships.

The following resources will help you develop the skills you need to work remotely.



What are some best practices during a virtual interview?

Preparation is essential

Research the company. Go beyond the company's mission and vision on their website.  Check online resources for articles about the industry or the specific organization in publications.  Talk with people who work for the organization and people in your network including Drake alumni.

Research the position. Know and understand the position for which you are applying.  The more you know about the position and all it entails, the better prepared you will be.  Be ready to provide relevant, detailed examples of your work, education, and community engagement matching your skills with those necessary to succeed in the position.

Select your location carefully. A quiet, distraction-free, room with a neutral background is best. Notify others around you that you will be interviewing and should not be interrupted.  Ensure your face is well lit.  Avoid bright lighting behind you. The best location for your webcam is at eye-level.  Try setting your laptop on a stack of books.

Present yourself professionally. Dress professionally, just as you would for an in-person interview.  Be mindful of your body language.  Make eye contact with the camera instead of focusing only on your computer.

Test your network connection. Confirm your audio and video are clear and your WiFi connection is strong.  If possible connect through a router with a network cable. You can test this with PCDS staff or friends.

Minimize interruptions. Close out of other computer programs prior to the interview. Turn off your cell phone.

Send a thank you note.  Be sure to get your interviewer's contact information and send a note within 48 hours.

Practice your virtual interview skills!

Drake’s Professional & Career Development Services office is pleased to offer students a free training system that features a new and innovative way to help prepare more effectively for a job interview.


Big Interview is an online system that combines training AND practice to help improve interview techniques and build confidence.


Big Interview offers a variety of tools including:

• Challenging, virtual mock interviews for all experience levels and hundreds of industries

• A database of thousands of interview questions with tips on how to answer them

• The ability to rate and share your interview answers for feedback

• A comprehensive video training curriculum covering all aspects of landing a job

• A step-by-step interview Answer Builder for crafting answers to behavioral questions

• A Resume builder and Resume Curriculum



STEP 1: Go to and click "Register".

STEP 2: Enter your Drake email address, name, and password, and click “Create my Account”

STEP 3: Log in and start using Big Interview.


Here is a short video if you need help with registration.


If I don’t land an internship/job this summer, what can I do to build skills?

From building skills to gaining new experiences this (not-comprehensive) list provides ideas that could make you more marketable to employers by emphasizing the competencies and True Blue Skills you are gaining. 

Learn new skills 

Building a new skill (or two) over the summer will show an employer your ingenuity, adaptability and innovation (depending upon the skill!) Where to start: 

  • Research and consider the skills that are needed for the career
  • Talk to people in the career  
  • Look through job descriptions and see the skills employers are looking for, and start learning them  
  • Contact people in your desired career to determine the skills they wish they had known before beginning their career
  • Consider which new skills you could learn in a class or through an on-line resource 
  • When building technical skills, there are often online loaner libraries 

Take a class

In addition to the opportunity to take classes at Drake, which could add some needed credit hours, there are many free classes available on basic topics such as how to be a more creative thinker, to the more complex such as artificial intelligence.   

Skill building resources: 

Comprehensive list of accreditation programs in marketing and social media are here 

LinkedIn Learning (

MS Excel (Microsoft is offering discounted Excel training program for a limited time) 

Free courses through CourseraCodecademy 

Here are 10 Things to do this Summer to get ready for the Workforce 

Summer is the best time to evaluate your toolkit and reflect on how you want employers and others to recognize your personal brand. 

1. Clean up your social media profiles
According to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, 84% of companies use social media to find candidates. Make sure you don’t have anything publicly available that could damage your chances at securing a job. 

2. Create a personal website or blog
Sharing a consistent output of professionally relevant work on social media channels will help show employers you’re a serious candidate. It also helps you project your personal brand online.  

3. Learn what motivates you—and be able to articulate it 
Motivation is listed as an attribute that employers see most lacking in new hires. Practice articulating what drives you! 

4. Network as much as possible
Networking is a time-tested way to get hired. Don’t shy away from meeting online—ask for a 15 minute online “coffee” to get started!

5. Work with your mentor
Don’t have a mentor? Find one this summer!  Who has impressed you with their work in your field of study? When you find a mentor ask them for regular check-ins and over the summer.

6. Line up your professional references and consult with them
Check in with the people who can vouch for your skills and work ethic. Make sure they know what you have been working on and the skills you are developing and mastering! 

7. Develop and practice your elevator pitch

8. Tailor Resume and Cover Letter to the places you want to work

9. Line up an internship or job for fall --or even next summer!

10. Consult with Professional & Career Development Services 


What can I do if my job/internship offer has been rescinded?

This is unfortunate and disappointing news. Please know, it is not a direct reflection on you, so try not to take it personally.  Handle your response in a professional manner. You will want to send the employer a note extending your thanks for being selected for a position and that you are available to work on projects remotely if that is an option.  Also include how you would like to remain in contact should any future opportunities arise.   

Sample email (Customize this to make it your own.): 

Thank you for notifying me of this change in status.  I know this is a challenging time for everyone, employers included. I hope you and your family are safe and healthy.

I am grateful I was selected as a potential member of your team at _________ (organization). I am still very interested in joining your team.  Currently, I am completing my semester at Drake University remotely and have enhanced my ability to work and communicate effectively virtually as well as my _____________ (list skills such as time management, problem solving, etc.) skills.

I would welcome the opportunity to complete projects remotely and would like to stay in touch during the coming weeks and months.

Again, thank you for communicating with me regarding the __________ (position).


Best Practice Tips 

  • Reopen your search- Companies may still be filling positions, especially with remote opportunities. 
  • Contact staffing agencies for temporary work. 
  • Contact previous companies you held positions at and see if they have any project work 
  • Research with a faculty member 
  • Volunteer 
  • Conduct informational interviews or job shadows 
  • Network 
  • Build skills with LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Codecademy, etc. 

Additional resources


Staffing/Placement Agencies

Aerotek/Aston Carter (West Des Moines) 

Ellen Carlson –  

Anna O’Gorman - 


Manpower – 

Kathy Joblinske – or text “Manpower” to 44844 to apply.   


Midwest Professional Staffing (Des Moines) 

Recent openings (some are remote) Mortgage Processor, Data Entry, Customer Service, Front Desk Admin, Payroll Admin 

Emily Dearchs -  


Palmer Group (Des Moines) 

Sophia O'Brien - - Office Administration and Mortgage and Banking teams or anyone open to "business-related" roles 

Willow Bauer - – May graduates in Accounting and Finance  

Deidra Meyer – May graduates in IT or Data Analytics 


Robert Half (various locations)

Learning Resources

LinkedIn Learning ( –Free courses 




Virtual Events

On-campus events for the spring semester have been cancelled. Our staff continues working remotely to provide you with quality learning opportunities remotely.


Upcoming Events

A Time for Resilience and How to Talk About It (May 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm Central Time)

Whether it’s in life, health, relationships, work or school, we are all faced with challenges, especially now during a global pandemic. Having the resilience to work through the challenges is a skill—we can build it, recognize it, and use it to work through and overcome the challenges. Whether you are looking for a job, trying to get through a tough time, or looking for ways to overcome current stressors join us for a session on building resilience and how we can talk about it in a productive way.

Drake Professional and Career Development Services, Drake Community Press and Above + Beyond Cancer have teamed up to provide this timely discussion.  Featured presenters are Cassity Gutierrez, Chair & Associate Professor of Health Sciences; Sandra Patton-Imani, Professor of American Studies; Chrystal Stanley, Director of Professional and Career Development Services; and Carol Spaulding-Kruse, Professor of English and Director of the Drake Community Press.

Register in advance for this webinar so that you will receive a reminder of the day/time! 



Living, Working, and Networking in Chicago

Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 5:30 pm CST

Are you interested in living or working in Chicago?  You are in luck!  Four members of Drake’s Chicago Regional Alumni Board have volunteered to share tips on living, working, and networking in the Chicagoland area.  Panelists include:

  • Aaron Brunello, BN'02 
  • Laurel Rundle, JO'91 
  • SeejoValacheril, BN'12 
  • Courtney Fishman, JO'16

Click here to submit questions for the panel.

Click  here to join the event.



Archived Events

Living, Working, and Networking in Denver (May 21, 2020)

Three members of Drake’s Denver Regional Alumni Board share tips on living, working, and networking in the Denver area. 

Resume and Interview Tips with Amazon Human Resources Business Partner (May 18, 2020)

This session provides the most recent resume and interview tips.  The presenter is Alumnus, Raquel Rivera.

Networking Strategies for Healthcare (May 7, 2020)

This session provides networking advice from professionals from ChildServe, MercyOne, The Iowa Clinic and The VA of Central Iowa.

Tips For Working Remotely (April 29, 2020)

Drake CBPA alum, Jill Sandberg, presents methods and tips for being productive and effective when working remotely.

How COVID-19 is Impacting Summer Internships and New Grad Hiring (April 24, 2020)

A panel of employers from the Des Moines metro shares with area college students how they are responding to the impacts of COVID-19.  Discussion topics include delivery of summer 2020 internships, hiring projections for new college graduates, and changes to recruitment and selection of new employees.

Ask Us Anything for all Students (April 10, 2020)

This video conference provided students at all levels the opportunity to ask us anything regarding careers and job or grad school search.  (The first few minutes have some connection issues that were resolved quickly.)

Ask Us Anything for Seniors (April 8, 2020)

This video conference provided seniors the opportunity to ask us anything regarding careers and job or grad school search. 



Virtual Employer/Organization Webinars

AAF-KC and Ad 2 KC (June 4, 2020 at 5:00 pm)

We recognize that, due to COVID-19, opportunities for internships and jobs are scarce. AAF-KC and Ad 2 KC partnered to host Career Advice During COVID, a webinar for soon-to-be and recently graduated students. Students will have the opportunity to ask our AAF-KC partner recruiters questions in a live Q&A style discussion. We’ll cover tips on networking to nailing the job interview, and everything in between.

Admission is free, but spots are limited, so we encourage early registration: Career Advice During COVID-19

Thinking about international service after graduation? Peace Corps Virtual Events are available here.

Transamerica Summer Speaker Series – Various Tuesdays at 11:00 Central Time

Created in response to students whose internships were cancelled as a result of COVID-19, the Summer Speaker Series is a new initiative geared to all students who are seeking to gain professional development, grow their network, and learn more about career paths, a day in the life, and more from industry experts.

For more information and to register:





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