Covid-19 and Your Career
This page contains Frequently Asked Questions about how Covid-19 might affect you career plans, and what support and opportunities are currently available. They will be updated as often as possible.
If you have a question that isn't answered here, please contact the Careers & Enterprise Centre by emailing email@example.com, or using the 'Ask a Careers Question' function on the Student Services Portal.
What support can the Careers & Enterprise Centre offer at the moment?
Currently all our services are operating remotely, including appointments with staff, which are being offered through video or audio call via Microsoft Teams. Appointments can be booked on the Student Services Portal. Our guide to using Microsoft Teams for appointments contains information you might find helpful.
Whilst the Information Room is closed you can still access our resources via our website and contact us either via firstname.lastname@example.org or using the 'Ask a Careers Question' functionality on the Student Services Portal.
I’m a finalist and worried about what to do next - should I do a postgraduate course instead of getting job?
The variety of study options available is incredibly broad. It’s important to carefully consider what you will gain by pursuing further study, and to research the most appropriate options. See our consider further study webpages for information on study options, application advice and financial considerations.
I haven’t received a graduate job/internship/placement offer - what can I do now?
A variety of vacancies are available on the Student Services Portal for you to search, including graduate vacancies, internships, placements, part-time jobs, work experience and gap-year opportunities. See our job search help sheet for ideas about how to diversify your search strategies, and the search and apply for jobs and opportunities pages for practical advice. You can also use this time to develop your online networks and use social media, to leverage opportunities.
You could also consult this list of graduate employers who are still hiring during Covid-19 and this advice for students looking for internships or graduate roles.This article on job hunting during the coronavirus pandemic also contains helpful information.
I’ve been offered a graduate job that is due to start soon - is it likely to go ahead? What are my rights in this situation?
We aren’t able to give specific advice on contracts or rights in this situation. For advice on contracts you might find it helpful to consult the following:
Many organisations will currently be carrying out contingency planning, and may not yet know exactly what impact Covid-19 will have on their employment offers. If you are concerned you could contact the employer, although be mindful that they may not be able to respond to you immediately.
How can I develop my employability during Covid-19?
You can develop transferable skills (whilst benefitting your community) by participating in local or remote volunteering opportunities. See the advice provided by Staff Volunteering and Outreach (SVO).
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are a great way to develop skills and knowledge on a wide range of topics, from digital skills, presentations and communication, arts and humanities, business, sciences and so much more. There are many free short courses available from a variety of providers. See some examples below:
There are also many other online opportunities available that can help you develop your employability, for example a Work Ready Virtual Experience from RateMyPlacement.
Some organisations are offering courses free of charge that would normally incur a cost. Some courses are free for a limited time only - please make sure you read the course terms and conditions before signing up. See some example below:
How can I find a part-time job during Covid-19?
Many supermarkets are seeking emergency temporary staff - find links to their vacancies pages, along with other useful information and FAQs on the part-time work and coronavirus webpages.
How will Covid-19 affect recruitment activities and opportunities available?
There is a lot of uncertainty at present around recruitment activity and impact on opportunities in both the short and longer term. Many graduate recruiters have moved their interviews and assessment centres to online/virtual recruitment activity, therefore we would recommend carrying on with your job search and searching and applying for opportunities as usual, but to anticipate recruitment via online platforms. You can consult our interviews and assessments webpage, including our video interview practice platform ShortlistMe, for more information. We would also recommend making use of our guidance on making effective applications.
I have been invited to a virtual interview/virtual assessment centre – how should I prepare?
Employers are currently using virtual interviews and assessment centres for their recruitment rather than asking you to attend in person.
Our interviews webpage contains information on how to prepare for virtual interviews, including how you can use our video interview practice platform ShortlistMe. Live on screen interviews feel more like traditional interviews and are taking place on platforms such as Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams.
For virtual assessment centres, you’ll probably find that you’ll experience many of the same sort of activities during online as you would through attending in person. You’ll receive information from the employer about what to expect during what is typically a half-day long process. Our assessment centres webpage tells you how to prepare for these.
Are there any employer events happening at the moment, and how can I get involved?
Lots of employers are running virtual events in the current climate and there seem to be a range of options, including both skills and recruitment-focused events, so you might be spoiled for choice! All events are advertised on the Student Services Portal and, if we receive the information in time, will be included in the weekly events bulletin which is circulated each Tuesday. It is always worth regularly logging in to the student services portal in case we have added new events which we received too late for us to include in the bulletin. Many events are also advertised on our Facebook page. Later in the summer we will be launching a series of virtual recruiting events in conjunction with Handshake. These events will be highly interactive and will be hosted by blue-chip companies who are either actively hiring or are planning to start hiring later this year.
When will employer events resume on campus?
There will not be any in-person employer events on campus for the remainder of the academic year, so during this time we will continue to promote a range of virtual events wherever possible. Unfortunately, it is impossible to state at what point the global situation will have eased enough for us to begin hosting events on campus again. At the moment, we are planning for Michaelmas as normal and taking in-person event bookings for this time. However, we are of course exploring virtual alternatives and making contingency plans should these events be unable to go ahead. Arrangements for these will be communicated to students and employers later in the year.
There are events advertised for during the exam period. Am I able to attend?
We do not usually advertise events which take place during the exam period. However, we recognise that many students will find access to these opportunities particularly beneficial in light of the current situation, and that the extended time permitted for exams means students have greater scope to attend than normal. Revision and exam time must always take priority. Many virtual events are recorded so that it is possible to access the information at a later stage. Details are included where possible in the event description on the Student Services Portal.
How will Covid-19 impact my visa/immigration status?
Please refer to the Durham University Student Immigration Service webpages for updates and to raise any individual queries. There is also a range of careers support and information available on our International Student webpage.
I’m facing financial difficulty - where can I get help?
If you find yourself in financial hardship or have any funding questions as a direct result of Covid-19, please consult the Student Funding section on the University’s Covid-19 FAQs webpage. These pages also contain lots of information relating to other issues you may be facing.
I’m feeling unwell - where can I get support?
The most important thing at this time is to stay safe and not put yourself or other people at risk. If you are feeling unwell or have been in contact with someone unwell you should follow government and NHS guidelines. For advice and resources on mental wellbeing, see the University Counselling Service webpages.
Where can I get additional careers-related support?
There is a vast amount of information online that you might find helpful for alternative careers support. Before following any new advice, make sure it is from a reputable source, is relevant, up-to-date, and makes sense.
NextStepSupport is a platform that has been built specifically to support students and graduates during Covid-19, and includes articles and advice on a number of topics.
What options do I have with a 2:2 degree?
Although some larger graduate recruiters stipulate that applicants require a 2:1 or higher for their vacancies, this is certainly not a blanket requirement across the graduate labour market. Many employers in the UK consider a number of factors when recruiting new graduates. A good general education is obviously important, however previous work experience and possessing relevant employability skills are important factors too. You should aim to emphasise these attributes to employers in addition to your degree classification when completing future application processes.
The Banking and Finance sector is traditionally viewed as one of the most competitive for graduates to enter. EY and Lloyds Banking Group are two examples of employers in this industry that allow graduates to apply with a 2:2. In addition, the engineering, public sector and SME’s (small, medium enterprises) provide a range of opportunities for graduates with a 2:2 also. If you would like to research this issue further, please use the Target Jobs article and also the Opportunities with a 2.2, 3rd or pass degree section of our website.