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Supporting you through Covid-19

FAQs

We are busy compiling some common questions we are receiving from students in relation to Covid-19, and the answers will be on this page in the coming days. If you have a question you would like us to address, then please email careers@qmul.ac.uk. 

How can I use this time to build my employability skills?

There are a number of key skills employees should have regardless of the sector they work in; the most valuable being teamwork, interpersonal skills, the ability to listen, problem solving and taking responsibility. You can read more about these on our blog.

Our QConsult Summer programme supported by J.P.Morgan offers the opportunity to work on paid mini-consultancy projects, within a team of other students, where you will be working on real-life business challenges online. We also have the QTaster Summer programme, where you can gain insight into companies and sectors, and e-meet their employees.

You can develop skills at home with online challenges (for example cases in management consulting), online courses, online societies, building a blog/vlog on something you (and your potential employer) are curious about or a research project on a topical issue or a small business (possibly in the small number of growth areas in the economy right now – take a look at Enterprise to find out more about how we can support you with this).

Volunteering is another valuable way to build up your employability skills and gain work experience. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer to help in the Covid-19 crisis. For example, Queen Mary have set up a volunteering and support programme for London-based Queen Mary staff and students - read more about Queen Mary Community Support and sign up here

If you have an interest in a particular sector, you can take a look at our industry guides to prioritise building skills that your next employer will care most about. In these guides, you’ll find trusted sources of careers information like professional associations and thought leading organisations, which are great resources to find structured careers information online and connect with professionals who can offer advice.

For example, if you are a student with an interest in marketing, you could look at the industry guide in Marketing to determine the most desirable skills and knowledge for this sector, then build a plan to read up on the key issues, topics and complete free online courses surrounding those areas.

 

I am looking for a job over the summer so I can earn some money. What shall I do?

Although some internships have ceased or been postponed, there are still many opportunities that provide a good way of earning money AND gaining really good practical experience. Make sure to check out QMJobsOnline, which advertises graduate roles, internships and work experience opportunities to QMUL students and graduates. Scan other job sites such as LinkedIn and TargetJobs daily - temporary agencies may also have jobs in your area.

Even now, we are seeing employment rise within sectors such as healthcare (e.g care assistants and hospital porters), food and drink (e.g. supermarket workers, warehouse operatives and delivery drivers) and in some customer service roles in pharmacies, call centres and technology companies. There are also often roles advertised for students as online tutoring too. 

Think of creative ways to approach businesses; have a think about where the need is and where the jobs might be, and do your research. 

While certain opportunities might not be avilable at the moment, you can register your interest with specific organisations and local recruitment agencies, providing short or longer term cover in a huge range of industries. They will contact you when suitable jobs open up for you. You can also think about making speculative applications when you do not see a specific job application advertised. If you need assistance putting together a CV or cover letter, make sure to book an appointment with one of our career consultants. 

I am worried that there will be less job opportunities during and after Covid-19. What should I do?

It is certainly understandable to feel a little anxious about the future of the job market at a time of unprecedented change. There are a number of ways in which you can respond to this feeling while maintaining a proactive attitude.

During the Covid-19 crisis, adopt an open-minded strategy for job hunting. Be ready to evaluate new possibilities and think creatively when exploring opportunities. At this moment in time, you may not find the specific job you haveplanned for, so you will need to think laterally. For example, a student interested in the theatre industry may not be able to find active job offers in theatres, as venues are temporarily closed. A proactive and creative approach would be to look for opportunities to work remotely in admin roles with arts organisations (see Artjobs to browse opportunities available).

It may be helpful to think less about industry-specific roles and more broadly in terms of skills you want to develop. For example, a student with an interest to work in marketing will need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills. While schools are temporarily closed, there is increasing demand for remote delivery of teaching and learning activities. Finding online tutoring opportunities could give you a chance to develop communication skills safely from home and to use this experience strategically to demonstrate relevant skills for marketing roles in the future.

The best way to tackle the uncertainty of the future is to get ready for it in the present: use this time to improve your CV or to develop skills that employers are interested in. Remember that during and after the current situation you can use our services to talk about careers plans (including anxieties and concerns about the future) with one of our Careers Consultants!

Last but not least, if you do feel you have concerns and anxieties that are impacting your wellbeing, the Advice & Counselling team can offer emotional support and welfare advice. Take a look at the QMUL Advice and Counselling Service's blog here for advice on looking after your emotional and mental wellbeing during the pandemic. 

I have secured a placement year, and I am worried that it might be withdrawn.

If you have secured a placement year already, it is understandable that you may be concerned about this being withdrawn. However, we are hearing from employers that many are continuing to proceed with their recruitment plans so hopefully your offer will not be affected by Covid-19. For example, IBM are aiming to recruit their usual number of placement students.

To avoid having to withdraw offers and reduce roles, employers affected by Covid-19 are looking at ways to be more flexible, so may choose to shorten placement offers, move these online or offer other online experiences. Some employers are putting in place plans to induct new starters virtually, and others may choose to delay start dates to later in the year, or to early next year.

However, there are some sectors where recruitment is being unfortunately affected significantly by Covid-19 (e.g. Entertainment, Retail, Travel), which means that some employers might be forced into withdrawing some roles and recruitment offers. If this happens with your placement offer, your prospective employer should be in touch with you directly to inform you. Try not to worry if this happens - the current situation is an exceptional circumstance and you will not be penalised in any way by the University.

If your employer does get in touch with you about your offer, and you have any concerns or questions about what they say, you should firstly contact your School Placement Coordinator for support and advice.

If your placement year offer does get withdrawn, do not panic, you can still search and apply for other placement opportunities – browse QMJobsOnline, RateMyPlacement and other placement vacancy sources, and talk with your School Placement Coordinator for further support and advice.

If employers have had to freeze their recruitment plans for now, many are hoping to restart recruitment in June and July for September starts.

Above all, try to remain calm and positive, use your time purposefully to build your employability skills from home, and use the support and services through Careers & Enterprise to help you through.

I have secured a graduate offer, and I am worried that it might be withdrawn.

If you have secured a graduate offer already, it is understandable that you may be concerned about this being withdrawn. However, we are hearing from employers that many are continuing to proceed with their recruitment plans so hopefully your offer will not be affected by Covid-19.

However, there are some sectors where recruitment might be affected (e.g. Entertainment, Retail, Travel), which means that some employers might have to withdraw some roles and recruitment offers. If this happens, your prospective employer should be in touch with you directly to inform you.

To avoid having to withdraw offers and reduce roles, employers affected by Covid-19 are looking at ways to be more flexible, so may choose to move these online, induct new starters virtually, or delay start dates to later in the year, or to early next year. Employers are even working out how they might be able to assign graduates an alternative role to the one that they were offered, as they adapt their business to the changing environment. 

If your employer does get in touch with you about your offer, and you have any concerns or questions about what they say, you can book an appointment with Careers & Enterprise for further support and advice.

I’m feeling anxious and overwhelmed about my career development, what should I do?

There is no doubt that these are challenging times and it is likely that many people will have concerns about their career development: the first thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone in this and that you should not hesitate to seek support for dealing with concerns and anxiety, if necessary.

If you have concerns on finances or if you want support dealing with anxiety, the Advice & Counselling team can offer emotional support and welfare advice. Take a look at the QMUL Advice and Counselling Service's blog here for advice on looking after your emotional and mental wellbeing during the pandemic. 

The Careers Service is also here for you to support you during this difficult time, as outlined in our very recent #AdaptToSucceed campaign. There are many ways in which we can help you with concerns over career development. Our Careers Consultants are available for online appointments to answer career-related questions and concerns, whether it is about uncertainty that industries are facing or how to adjust your career plans in light of the current situation. Our Student Employability Advisers are also available, should you have any concern on current applications you may need to complete or submit. Visit our new webpages to find out about all the different ways we can help and support you during this time.

Our entire team is working intensively to keep up to date with the weekly developments on the job market and how different industries are reacting to the current situation. Keep an eye on our blog to follow the main updates. Keeping yourself informed might help you to become aware not only of the challenges but also of the positive initiatives that employers are putting in place to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the job market. For example, the arts sector is undoubtedly facing challenges with many museums, venues and institutions closed. However, there are positive and inspiring initiatives of crowdfunding, collective action efforts and extra funding packages from art councils aimed at helping reducing the impact on the sector (Arts Council England, Artsadmin and Artsprofessional are excellent examples).

What do I do if my summer internship is cancelled?

If your summer internship got cancelled, make sure you still add it to your CV to highlight your achievement and the effort you put in. The fact that you were selected in the first place shows that you are a strong candidate and that you did well in the recruitment process.

On your CV, you could state something like this:

Employment History

Marketing Intern, FIRM NAME, London (June 2020)
Incoming summer intern at FIRM NAME – cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances surrounding Covid-19

But what should you do with your summer now?

Even though you can add your internship to your CV, you won’t be able to demonstrate the skills that you were hoping to gain on the job. It will therefore be important to try and gain some new skills over the summer. To do so, you can make use of the plethora of online learning courses (many of which are now available for free) or you could try to get a  a part-time job or do some  volunteering, providing your health allows it. Here are just some of the platforms which offer online learning courses:

  • Coursera - Build skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online from world-class universities and companies.
  • Future Learn - Explore online courses to continue studying, build professional skills, and connect with experts.
  • Free Code Camp – Learn to code from home.
  • Finance Unlocked – The Netflix of Finance is now available for free to all students. 

But don’t just think about the skills you will need for a future job. This is also a great time to explore and follow your passions. Maybe you could even acquire a new hobby? This will not only boost your own well-being, but employers also like candidates with interests outside of work and study.

Finally, the fact that you were selected for a summer internship should give you confidence that employers will be interested in you again, once the situation has calmed down. In the meantime, just try to use your time in meaningful ways.

If you are keen to secure an alternative internship, then follow these tips:

  • Get creative with sourcing opportunities - read this article for some inspiration.
  • Scan the job sites daily - use QMJobsOnline, and platforms such as LinkedIn and TargetJobs. Temporary agencies may also have jobs in your area.
  • Think shorter - Micro internships are short-term, paid, professional assignments that you can undertake remotely. They allow you to explore career options with different companies, in various cultures and industries, and can be a foot in the door at companies that don’t recruit on your campus. If your internship was condensed or delayed, round out your work experience this summer by creating your own micro internship by reaching out to alumni through Careers and Enterprise, or contacts on LinkedIn. You can also ask to job shadow virtually and join in meetings or client presentations with follow-up discussions afterward.
  • Follow up on past leads - if you were offered an internship or had a couple of positive interviews with a company, reach out again. The work the interns were going to do may still need to get done, and employers who liked you then may want you now. “Make it easy for the employer to say yes,” said Christine Y. Cruzvergara, vice president of higher education and student success at Handshake. “You might say, ‘I know I was supposed to have a 10-week internship doing X, Y and Z, but would it be helpful if I took this one project that I was probably going to be working on off your plate?’”

How will employers view my degree result if I'm graduating this year?

There is no evidence that employers are viewing 2020 degrees as any different to previous years.  Employers appreciate that a degree result is the culmination of several years of study and is usually informed by a combination of different types of assessments.

If you are concerned that graduating with a 2:2 might affect your job prospects, here are links to a couple of articles that highlight the range of opportunities open to you:

How to job hunt if you get a 2.2 when you graduate

What jobs can I do with a 2.2 degree?

I’m a final year student. What help will there be for me after I graduate?

There are a number of ways you can receive support after you graduate. At Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise, we offer information, advice and guidance to you in a variety of different ways.

Firstly, we provide you is available on a range of different online platforms such as our specific web page for Graduates and our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube). For example, we are introducing new vlog content on our YouTube channel to give you the latest advice on the current jobs market. All of these platforms offer a variety of different resources / opportunities available to you from events/webinars to work-related opportunities. So why not explore our website and ‘follow’, ‘like’, ‘subscribe’ our social media channels to see what is on offer to you.

Secondly, we offer can be found on our newly formed ‘Supporting you through Covid-19’ section on our website where you can find web pages such as ‘Here for you’, ‘Online Resources’ and our ‘FAQs’. I would highly recommend checking our QM Jobs Blog too to gain supportive and informed advice from expert colleagues in Careers and Enterprise.

In addition, if you are still undecided between going into the world of work or studying a Masters degree you can check out the advice we give on our ‘Explore Your Options’ section.

Did you know? – You can gain 2 years of support from us at QM Careers and Enterprise after you graduate.

To maximise the support you receive from us, we recommend following these three steps: -

  1. Be reflective
    • Identify where you are in your career journey possibly ask yourself questions like: -
      • Do I need to explore my career options further? If so, how should I go about doing this research?
      • What are my strengths, values and motivations?
      • Do I need to acquire some work-related experience to ensure this is the type of role which suits my strengths, values and motivations? What next steps can I take now to gain this work-related experience?
  2. Be proactive
    • Connect / network with people who work for an organisation in a role you would like to do through platforms such as LinkedIn and / or QMUL Network.
    • Conduct Informational Interviews with various different stakeholders who can help you get to where you want to be.
  3. Lastly, (and as much as you can) have a positive attitude with everything you do.

If this feels potentially a little overwhelming and you are still unsure about your options then why not book in a careers appointment with one of our Careers Consultants to get some advice and guidance.

It is up to you to seek the support from us. Let us help you #AdaptToSucceed

Is there any financial help if my business is struggling due to Covid-19?

You can look into whether any of the government schemes may be able to help. Although, there will still be eligibility criteria that you would still need to meet to access the financial support. 

There are a large number of resources available. We are updating our resources pages regularly. However, you can start with the Business Support website. They offer a range of support from financial, business planning to Covid-19 specific information.

I would like to apply for a Start-up visa, has the process changed since Covid-19?

Applicants with visas expiring in June/ July will be assessed on a rolling basis. From July, we will have two windows for applicants to submit their Start-up visa applications. These windows will be listed on our website in due course.

I have been successfully endorsed for a Start-up visa by Queen Mary University but as the campus is closed, I cannot get my endorsement letter. What shall I do?

If you are successful in securing your endorsement, you will be provided with a digital endorsement letter.  You can then start the online application process through the Government Website but you will be unable to complete the face-to-face element until the Visa Centres are re-opened. However, the guidance does allow you to engage in business activities once you have applied to the Home Office for your Start-up visa if you hold a Tier 4 visa and it has been granted on or after 1 October 2019.

I have successfully been endorsed by Queen Mary University of London for a Start-up visa. However, my endorsement letter has expired. What can I do?

Currently, you can apply for a Start-up visa with an expired endorsement letter if you have been unable to travel due to restrictions following Covid-19. Please read the guidance from the QMUL Advice and Counselling Service.

We would advise to contact the Advice and Counselling Team before you submit your application to the Home Office. The Home Office will assess each application on a case-by-case basis.

I’m an international student and have questions around my immigration permission.

Please see these FAQs from the Advice & Counselling service. If you have a question relating to jobs and/or your career development that you don't see covered here, please email careers@qmul.ac.uk or book a Skype appointment with one of our Careers Consultants.